Photovoltaics in Action: Solar Works 6-12

cover of PVs 6-12 curriculum

Grade Level

  • 6-8
  • 9-12


  • 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. High school-aged students also construct through lessons in this guide the molecular-level conceptual models that allow them to describe how a PV panel transforms the radiant energy of photons into flowing electrons.

What's in the Kit (Grades 6-12)

Kit includes: PV panels, halogen lights, multi-meters, visual voltmeters, kill-a-watt meters, buzzers, motors, mini light bulbs, alligator clips

Kit size: 2 medium totes

Kit cost: $40

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