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Developing Photovoltaics Curriculum for Middle and Upper Grades: Using Solar to Engineer Our Energy Future (P12 Resource Exchange)

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2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

June 19, 2019

Conference Session

PCEE Resource Exchange

Tagged Division

Pre-College Engineering Education

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Paper Authors


Michelle Jordan Arizona State University

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Michelle Jordan is as associate professor in the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University. She also serves as the Education Director for the QESST Engineering Research Center. Michelle’s program of research focuses on social interactions in collaborative learning contexts. She is particularly interested in how students navigate communication challenges as they negotiate complex engineering design projects. Her scholarship is grounded in notions of learning as a social process, influenced by complexity theories, sociocultural theories, sociolinguistics, and the learning sciences.

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Milton Johnson Bioscience High School

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Allison Wolf

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Xavier A. DeLeon QESST

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Mayra Ramos

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Meredith Marie Morrissey Mountain Pointe High School

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Alyssa Johnson Kyrene School District

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Scott Richard Currier

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Lauren D’Amico

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The world is on the edge of a transformative era of energy generation in which emerging technologies have the power to address local and global challenges. But getting there requires an educated citizenry empowered to create and utilize sustainable energy solutions.

The QESST Engineering Research Center is focused on furthering the use of solar energy by advancing photovoltaics (PV) science and technology. We are also committed to promoting solar energy education by: developing an extensive set of K-12 curriculum materials to support solar energy and PV engineering education, supporting teachers and outreach coordinators to implement lessons and modules on PV science and engineering, and fostering teacher’s confidence in developing PV engineering curriculum. To achieve these aims, the QESST program designed a summer research experience to provide K-12 classroom teachers opportunities to develop connections between PV engineering research labs and the classroom. Participants conduct use-inspired PV research, and design solar energy lessons.

Resulting lessons integrate STEM instruction to support 4th-12th grade students’ understanding of how solar cells are made and how engineering research is improving the capacity of PV to address the most pressing energy challenges of the 21st century. Our eventual aim is to develop a sequenced learning progression of solar energy engineering concepts and skills. Here, we present example lessons designed for students from 3rd to 12th grade, integrating NGSS curriculum standards, disciplinary concepts, practices, and cross-cutting ideas.

Jordan, M., & Johnson, M., & Wolf, A., & DeLeon, X. A., & Ramos, M., & Morrissey, M. M., & Johnson, A., & Currier, S. R., & D’Amico, L. (2019, June), Developing Photovoltaics Curriculum for Middle and Upper Grades: Using Solar to Engineer Our Energy Future (P12 Resource Exchange) Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--32642

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