Photovoltaics in Action: Solar Works 4-5

PV set up

Grade Level

  • 4-5


  • Kits, Curricula, & Resources

Driving question: How does installing photovoltaic panels address the community’s electricity needs while helping to protect the earth?

Turn your students into solar energy experts. The PVs in Action Curriculum helps students:

  • experience energy transformations
  • grapple with core ideas about energy
  • practice employing engineering strategies
  • experience how energy can be harnessed in ways that do not negatively impact our environment or our climate.

The PVs in Action curriculum focuses on how photovoltaic panels can be used to transform the sun’s radiant energy into electricity that can then be transformed into a wide variety of useful energy forms (e.g. heat, light, motion, etc.). Students explore electrical circuitry with batteries and bulbs to learn how circuits function before removing the non-renewable battery and replacing it with a PV panel. Students use the PV panels, digital voltmeters, wires, and light sources to explore factors that affect electrical output of PV panels and practice using the engineering design cycle in more advanced ways to improve output. Throughout their work, students generate and analyze data to inform their engineering design choices.

Turn your students into solar energy experts. The PVs in Action materials kit includes everything you need to demonstrate and explore solar power right in the classroom.

WHAT'S IN THE KIT (grades 4-5

Kit includes: 9v PV panels, battery and bulb kits, 500W worklights, digital multimeters, motors, LEDs, 2.2-volt lightbulbs, resistors, static electricity kit, radio, and more.

Kit size: 2 medium totes

Kit cost: $40.00 

NGSS standards addressed

4-PS3-2 Energy: Make observations to provide evidence that energy can be transferred from place to place by sound, light, heat, and electric currents.

4-PS3-4 Energy: Apply scientific ideas to design, test, and refine a device that converts energy from one form to another.

5-PS1-3 Matter and Its Interactions: Make observations and measurements to identify materials based on their properties.

3-5-ETS1-1 Engineering Design: Define a simple design problem reflecting a need or a want that includes specified criteria for success and constraints on materials, time, or cost.

3-5-ETS1-2 Engineering Design: Generate and compare multiple possible solutions to a problem based on how well each is likely to meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.


Middle School NGSS standards addressed

MS-ESS3-3 Earth and Human Activity: Apply scientific principles to design a method for monitoring or minimizing a human impact on the environment. 

MS-ESS3-5 Earth and Human Activity: Ask questions to clarify evidence of the factors that have caused the rise in global temperatures over the past century. 

MS-PS4-2 Waves and their Applications in Technologies for Information Transfer: Develop and use a model to describe that waves are reflected, absorbed, or transmitted through various materials. 

High School NGSS standards addressed

HS-ESS3-4 Earth & Human Activity: Evaluate or refine a technological solution that reduces impacts of human activities on natural systems.

HS-PS3-1 Energy: Create a computational model to calculate the change in energy of one component of a system when the change in energy of the other components and energy flows into and out of the system are known. 

HS-PS3-3 Energy: Design, build, and refine a device that works within given constraints to convert one form of energy into another form of energy.

HS-PS4-3 Waves and their Applications in Technologies for Information Transfer: Evaluate the claims, evidence, and reasoning behind the idea that electromagnetic radiation can be described either by a wave model or a particle model, and that for some situations one model is more useful than the other. 

HS-PS4-5 Waves and their Applications in Technologies for Information Transfer: Communicate technical information about how some technological devices use the principles of wave behavior and wave interactions with matter to transmit and capture information and energy.


  • Electricity
  • Solar