Teaching Notes

Grade Level

Middle and High School students.

Learning Goals

After completing this chapter, students will be able to:

Instructional Strategies

Examination of the data and graphs online can be done in groups. Three or four students can be assigned to a location and a time interval and asked to interpret their resulting graphs. Next, groups can be brought back together for a classroom comparison and discussion, especially if a smaller time interval can explain anomalies in data from a larger time interval at the same location. The data from Parts 2 and 3 can be used, or any data that seems complete and useful. Not all datasets are good examples, as the equipment used to monitor them may have broken and gone un-repaired for days or months, in some cases. The Soltrex site has a summary of all the data for each of its sites at the bottom of the page with its "system details". This provides a useful filter for good data.

Science Standards

The following National Science Education Standards are supported by this chapter:

Grade 5-8 National Science Education Standards

8FSPSP5.1 Science influences society through its knowledge and world view.

Scientific knowledge and the procedures used by scientists influence the way many individuals in society think about themselves, others, and the environment. The effect of science on society is neither entirely beneficial nor entirely detrimental.

Grade 9-12 National Science Education Standards

12ASI1.3 Use technology and mathematics to improve investigations and communications.

A variety of technologies, such as hand tools, measuring instruments, and calculators, should be an integral component of scientific investigations. The use of computers for the collection, analysis, and display of data is also a part of this standard. Mathematics plays an essential role in all aspects of an inquiry. For example, measurement is used for posing questions, formulas are used for developing explanations, and charts and graphs are used for communicating results.

12EST2.4 Science and technology are pursued for different purposes. Scientific inquiry is driven by the desire to understand the natural world, and technological design is driven by the need to meet human needs and solve human problems. Technology, by its nature, has a more direct effect on society than science because its purpose is to solve human problems, help humans adapt, and fulfill human inspirations. Technological solutions may create new problems. Science, by its nature, answers questions that may or may not directly influence humans. Sometimes scientific advances challenge people's beliefs and practical explanations concerning various aspects of the world.

Other Standards

Earth Science Literacy Principles: The Big Ideas and Supporting Concepts of Earth Science

Time Required

Day 1 - Discussion of Solar Energy and online view of one location from Soltrex website.
Day 2 - Look at the other two websites. Look at data from two locations to compare online.
Day 3 - Download data and make Excel graphs. Compare to online graphs.
Day 4 - Discuss electric bill comparison and carbon offsets by non-CO2 polluting power generation.
Any of these can be expanded or omitted except for Day 1 and Day 4 to give a coherent lesson.

Other Resources

Final Excel graph for Part 3, Step 3.

This is the comparison of Solar Energy between a Texas site and a Massachusetts site. Compare-TX-MA.xls ( 46kB Apr14 11)


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