Websites for Teachers & Parents

AMERICAN SOLAR ENERGY SOCIETY
The American Solar Energy Society sponsors an annual National Solar Tour, the largest solar event in the United States, involving approximately 150,000 participants and 4,000 solar-energy sites nationwide. Additional resources include the following basic information guides:

Website: www.ases.org

BLENDSPACE
Blendspace enables teachers to create and share digital lesson plans that are easily accessible via any device and incorporate online educational resources. Additionally, teachers can use the platform’s built-in quizzes and monitoring features to measure student progress. Solar Energy Lesson Plans: https://www.tes.com/lessons/search?qsolar+energy+&redirect-bs=1

BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS – CAREERS IN SOLAR POWER
This web page provides information on the Growth of Solar Power in the United States, Solar Power Generation, Methods of Solar Power Generation, and Occupations in Solar Energy: www.bls.gov/green/solar_power/

CLARKSON UNIVERSITY
Clarkson University has created Energy Systems and Solutions, a unit geared toward eighth-grade science students that includes both basic science fundamentls and engineering problem-solving skills that build towards the students’ culminating project where they identify and solve an energy-related problem in their own lives. The Energy Systems and Solutions unit follows a widely-accepted problem solving method that is based on the fundamental process used by practicing engineers.
Web Link: http://www.clarkson.edu/highschool/k12/project/energysystems.html
Energy Choices Board Game is a free, downloadable, award-winning educational game developed by students and staff from Clarkson and St. Lawrence Universities as part of their K-12 Project-Based Learning Partnership Program that places university students in local schools to help teach mathematics, science and engineering concepts. The game introduces students to concepts of energy use in our daily lives and the very real impact that personal choices can have on our energy consumption, energy bills, and fuel supply.
Web Link: www.clarkson.edu/highschool/k12/project/energychoicesgame.html

CLIMATE LITERACY & ENERGY AWARENESS NETWORK (CLEAN)
The Climate Literacy & Energy Awareness Network (CLEAN) maintains an online collection of 700 educational resources for grades 3 -12 and higher. Each resource is rigorously reviewed by scientists and educators for scientific accuracy, pedagogic effectiveness and useability. A search for “solar energy” resources results in over 150 matches, but not all are about solar technology—other sources of renewable energy are included.
Web Link: http://cleanet.org/clean/educational_resources/index.html?search_text=solar+energy+&Search=search

EPA’S CLIMATE CHANGE PAGE
This web page provides links to resources for students, educators, and school administrators that focus on ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including: A Student’s Guide to Global Climate Change for middle school students; and EPA’s Climate Change Emission Calculator Kit (Climate CHECK) for high school students. Educators’ resources include: Lesson Plans tied to A Student’s Guide to Climate Change; Climate Change, Wildlife and Wildlands: A Toolkit for Formal and Informal Education; EPA’s eight-page brochure, Frequently Asked Questions About Global Warming and Climate Change; Back to Basics provides illustrated answers to frequent questions; the Global Warming Wheel Card Classroom Activity Kit is geared toward middle school students. A hand-held wheel card and other resources help students estimate household greenhouse gas emissions in order to encourage students to think about ways they can reduce their personal, family, school, and community contributions to climate change. If you are an informal educator, simply use the Global Warming Wheel Card as a part of your field activities.
Web Page: http://www3.epa.gov/climatechange/wycd/school.html
Educator Links: http://www3.epa.gov/climatechange/links.html#educators

FABULOUS RESOURCES FOR ENERGY EDUCATION (F.R.E.E.)
Fabulous Resources for Energy Education (F.R.E.E.) is a unique program at the University of Northern Iowa (UNI) that offers free renewable energy kits to statewide educators as well as free, downloadable resources for all teachers and parents. The kits are also available for purchase by those outside the state. The Center for Energy and Environmental Education (CEEE) at UNI oversees the F.R.E.E. program.
Web Link: http://www.uni.edu/ceee/education/free-fabulous-resources-energy-education/free

INTERSTATE RENEWABLE ENERGY COUNCIL (IREC)
Resources include the Solar Career Map. As National Administrator of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Instructor Training Network, IREC worked with solar and workforce experts around the country—leaders from education, government, business, labor, and community—to create this interactive tool. Educators and career advisors, job seekers and employers, policymakers and workforce professionals can use the Solar Career Map to explore an expanding universe of solar-energy occupations.
Web Link: http://www.irecusa.org/workforce-education/solar-instructor-training-network/trainer-resources/solar-career-map/
YouTube Video, View of IREC’s Solar Career Map: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dez-EGsUzGI

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC’S PLAN IT GREEN GAME
Plan It Green, the Big Switch is an online game that allows players to design and create their own energy-efficient city of the future. Players can:

  • Build new energy technologies and advance energy research;
  • Rack up points based on eco-friendliness, energy production, citizen happiness, and more!
  • Compete with other “mayors” for the highest city rating;
  • Tackle challenging quests and earn rewards for your outstanding achievements;
  • Advance through game levels by exploring and building a diverse energy portfolio;
  • Check out new game play elements as fresh features are added on a regular basis.

Website: www.planitgreenlive.com

NATIONAL RENEWABLE ENERGY LAB
The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) develops renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies and practices, advances related science and engineering initiatives, and develops and implements science programs that engage the young minds of our future leaders, scientists, and engineers, encouraging all to use and develop renewable energy.  NREL supports kindergarten through 12th grade science education, and undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral research, focusing on energy efficiency and renewable energy. NREL’s Workforce Development and Education Programs seek to promote science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) using renewable energy as the vehicle to capture student interest.
K-12 Educational Resources for Students & Teachers: http://www.nrel.gov/education/educational_resources.html
Additional Resources
National Science Bowl – Middle School:
 The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Science Bowl for middle school students is a fun, fast-paced academic tournament and hydrogen fuel cell car competition that tests the brainpower of middle school teams on science and math topics. Web Link: http://www.nrel.gov/education/science_bowl.html
Model Car Competitions: NREL’s model car competitions are classroom-based, hands-on educational programs for 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students. Student teams apply math, science, and creativity to construct model solar-, hydrogen-, and battery-powered vehicles and race them in interscholastic competitions hosted within their schools, states, or regions.
Web Link: http://www.nrel.gov/education/jss_hfc.html
National Science Bowl — High School: http://www.nrel.gov/education/high_school.html

NATIONAL SCIENCE DIGITAL LIBRARY
The National Science Digital Library provides high-quality, online educational resources, with current emphasis on the sciences, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines. The NSDL collection contains structured descriptive information (metadata) about web-based educational resources held on other sites by their providers. These providers have contributed this metadata to NSDL for organized search and open access to educational resources via this website and its services. Most resources in the library adhere to principles of Open Educational Resource (OER) access, although some resources are restricted to provider site membership, or may have a cost associated with them (indicated in the full record of the resource). A search on “solar energy” resulted in over 600 educational resources.
Web Link: https://nsdl.oercommons.org/search/?f.search=solar+energy+

NATIONAL SOLAR SCHOOLS CONSORTIUM
In April 2014, nonprofit organizations and solar companies from across the nation announced the launch of the National Solar Schools Consortium at the National Science Teachers Association conference in Boston, Massachusetts. The Consortium is designed to act as a unified voice for the growing solar schools movement, promoting the use of solar energy on K-12 and post-secondary schools. The Solar Foundation serves as co-chair of the National Solar Schools Consortium. The goal of the National Solar Schools Consortium is to aggregate the existing resources available for schools, promote success stories and best practices, and to amplify the voices of the movement from their national headquarters in Washington D.C.
Website: www.solarschoolsusa.org

NOVA LABS
NOVA Labs is a digital platform where “citizen scientists” can actively participate in the scientific process. Each Lab is unique, and focuses on a different area of active research, but all of them illustrate key concepts with engaging and informative videos and guide participants as they answer scientific questions or design solutions to current problems. Experts in the field are available to answer users’ questions and to propose new routes of investigation. The Energy Lab investigates what energy is, how it can be converted into useful forms, and why some sources are running low. The Research Challenge uses scientific data to design renewable energy systems for cities across the U.S.—and compete with others to see whose designs can produce the most power. NOVA Labs’ resources also include: Energy Video Quizzes; a Meet the Experts page where students can learn about careers in energy; and a library of short, informative videos that include: Solar Power; Wind Power; Solving the Storage Problem; Toward a Smarter Grid.
Energy Lab Web Link: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/labs/lab/energy/
Educators Guide: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/labs/educators/energy-guide/

PBS LEARNING MEDIA
PBS Learning Media is a free online service that provides students and teachers multimedia resources on a wide range of topics. A search on the topic of “solar energy” results in nearly 1,500 resources for grades Pre-K to 13+. Resource types include: audio, video, image, document, interactive, webpage, collection, media gallery, self-paced lesson, and lesson plan.

Registration enables teachers and parents to:

  • Save, download and share resources
  • Discover local content
  • Access storyboard, quiz maker and lesson builder tools

Student Resources: http://www.pbslearningmedia.org/student/
Solar Energy Resources:  http://www.pbslearningmedia.org/search/?q=solar+energy
Website: www.pbslearningmedia.org

PROJECT LEARNING TREE
Project Learning Tree is a nationwide nonprofit whose mission is to advance environmental literacy and promote stewardship through environmental education, professional development, and curriculum resources that use trees and forests as “windows on the world.” PLT’s PreK-12 curriculum materials align with education standards. A website search on “solar energy” results in a number of examples of specific classroom projects and other educational resources. Project Learning Tree provides GreenWorks Service Learning grants up to $1,000 to schools and youth organizations. Since 1992 GreenWorks has funded a variety of environmental service learning grants including, but not limited to: habitat restoration, watershed improvement, outdoor classrooms, recycling programs, and energy conservation. Website: www.plt.org

SMART ELECTRIC POWER ALLIANCE
The Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA) is an educational nonprofit that enables the transition to a clean energy economy by facilitating utility integration and deployment of solar, demand response, other distributed energy resources, and supporting technologies onto the grid. Educational resources include webinars, some of which are available to the public for free, and publications, for example:
Solar Fundamentals Volume 1: Technology (PDF): Under the Department of Energy’s Solar Outreach Partnership, this is the first in a series of SEPA educational publications to assist those seeking to become more familiar with the solar industry.  Solar Fundamentals Volume 1 introduces and explains solar power generation systems and applications. It dives into associated components and their significance, and will help answer frequently asked questions.
Web Link: http://solaroutreach.org/resource/solar-fundamentals-vol-1-technology/#.VjLq9WSrQUs
Website: www.solarelectricpower.org 

SOLAR ENERGY INDUSTRIES ASSOCIATION
Established in 1974, the nonprofit, Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) is the national trade association of the U.S. solar energy industry. SEIA’s sister organization, The Solar Foundation, a nonprofit charitable organization, oversees policy-driven research and develops education & outreach programs to promote the further development of solar energy in the U.S. In January 2012, SEIA merged with the Solar Alliance, an advocacy organization working to establish solar policies at the state level. The two organizations now operate under the SEIA brand in order to present a unified solar industry voice in all state and federal advocacy efforts. Among the association’s educational resources, SEIA sponsors a series of live and archived webinars on solar energy, many of which are available for free to non-members. Examples include:
Brighter Future: A Study on Solar in U.S. Schools http://eo2.commpartners.com/users/seia/session.php?id=14449
Women in Solar Energy http://eo2.commpartners.com/users/seia/session.php?id=14609
To search for more on-demand SEIA Webinars, click this link: http://eo2.commpartners.com/users/seia/search.php
To sign up for SEIA’a Webinar Update E-Newsletter, use this link: http://act.seia.org/ea-action/action?ea.client.id=1865&ea.campaign.id=29201
Website: www.seia.org 

SOLAR ENERGY INTERNATIONAL
Solar Energy International (SEI) was founded in 1991 as a nonprofit educational organization. SEI’s mission is to provide industry-leading technical training and expertise in renewable energy to empower people, communities, and businesses worldwide. Resources include:
Introduction to Renewable Energy (RE100) is a free six-week, 10-lesson online course complete with videos, readings, quizzes, exercises and discussion forums. Deveoped for students 12 years of age to adults, it includes lessons in energy efficiency, solar thermal, solar electric, wind, micro-hydro, renewable energy in developing countries, and the economics of renewable energy. Solar Energy International encourages teachers to take this course and evaluate it as curriculum to be used with students. It’s available in English or Spanish.
Duration: 2hrs/week for 6 weeks
Tuition: FREE
Click this link for additional information or to register. http://www.solarenergy.org/courses/introduction-to-renewable-energy/
Solar in the Schools Web Link: http://www.solarenergy.org/solar-in-the-schools/

SOLAR FOUNDATION
The Solar Foundation (TSF) is an independent nonprofit founded in 1977. The Solar Foundation’s mission is to increase understanding of solar energy through strategic research that educates the public and transforms markets. Resources include:
Brighter Future: A Study on Solar in U.S. Schools, a first-of-its-kind report tracking the use of solar energy at K-12 schools in the United States, The Solar Foundation has developed the most comprehensive understanding to date of how schools are using and financing solar energy and the potential for still more schools to benefit from the technology.
Brighter Future Report: www.thesolarfoundation.org/solar-schools/brighter-future/
Toolkit: Installing Solar on K-12 Schools: http://solaroutreach.o rg/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Solar-Schools-Toolkit-FINAL.pdf
The Solar Foundation’s Solar Schools Web Page: http://www.thesolarfoundation.org/solar-schools
Website: www.thesolarfoundation.org 

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY
The U.S. Department of Energy provides numerous educational resources, including the following:
The Education Toolbox provides a database of K-12 lesson plans and activities that is searchable by resource type, topic, and grade level: http://energy.gov/education-toolbox/search
Clean Energy Jobs and Career Planning http://energy.gov/eere/education/clean-energy-jobs-and-career-planning
Solar Energy Resource Center http://energy.gov/eere/sunshot/solar-energy-resource-center
Solar Energy Glossary http://energy.gov/eere/sunshot/solar-energy-glossary
Multimedia Resources http://energy.gov/eere/education/multimedia and https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLACD8E92715335CB2
Interactive SMART grid simulator http://www.oe.energy.gov/interactive_grid.htm
U.S. Department of Energy’s Education Homepage: http://energy.gov/eere/education/education-homepage
Publications Center: http://energy.gov/eere/services/publications