For the past three weeks seventh graders have been exploring alternative energy sources. Through multiple hands-on science labs, students have worked on a number of design challenges based around biofuels, solar, geothermal, hydro-electric and wind energy. They wrapped up last week by exploring passive solar design.

Passive Solar Design:

Using passive solar technology means using the sun’s energy for heating, cooling, and lighting. Various design methods are deployed to take advantage of local/regional climate, the path of the sun, and properties of various materials. Used correctly, these tactics can significantly reduce energy costs in a home.

Students had to build a prototype of a small house and evaluate concepts of passive solar design to the house’s interior and exterior. Half of the class worked on a summer design, while the other half went in the direction of a winter challenge. Students installed ‘windows’ using plastic cut-outs into their cardboard houses, cut foam insulation to apply to their structures, and used gravel rocks to test for thermal mass. They then set their heat source (light/sun) to record changes in temperature after 30 minutes.



Alternative Energy:

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