Solar Energy Curriculum

Thanks to support from PG&E, NEED provides classroom curriculum to schools in the PG&E service area. These complement exciting hands-on solar kits.
NEED's K-12 curriculum and "Kids Teaching Kids" approach helps schools meet the standards of the California Department of Education, develop student leadership, and bring the latest solar technology into the classroom.

Solar-powered class projects

Teachers who participated in past PG&E Solar Schools Workshops received classroom curriculum materials and hands-on solar energy kits and other kits appropriate for the content area of the workshop. The kits have been designed at four levels: Primary, Elementary, Intermediate, and Secondary and are available for purchase from the NEED Project.

Please refer to our Resource Catalog (pdf).

Solar lesson plans and hands-on kits

The NEED Project solar curriculum includes Teachers Guides and Student Lab Books for the hands-on solar activities as well as a variety of resources to learn about solar energy and its applications. To help schools incorporate more solar energy education into their classrooms, NEED prepared a series of hands-on kits about solar. The Teacher and Student Guides may be accessed in PDF below, and kits are available for purchase from the NEED Project.
Please refer to our Resource Catalog (pdf).

Solar activity guides:

• Primary - The Sun and Its Energy (pdf)
• Elementary - Wonders of the Sun Teacher Guide (pdf)
• Elementary - Wonders of the Sun Student Guide (pdf)
• Intermediate - Energy from the Sun Teacher Guide (pdf)
• Intermediate - Energy from the Sun Student Guide (pdf)
• Secondary - Photovoltaics Teacher Guide (pdf)
• Secondary - Photovoltaics Student Guide (pdf)

Throughout the year, PG&E, NEED, and the Foundation for Environmental Education produce materials for supplements to the PG&E Solar Schools Program. Materials produced will be loaded to the site and updated periodically. Have a great lesson plan to add? Email it to pgesolarschools@need.org.

The PG&E Solar Schools Workshop Presentation provides background on the program, on solar energy, and on materials provided for teachers.

Web-based System

A web-based system enabling students, teachers, parents and administrators to view real-time data on how much power is being generated. Check the website for new schools and the electricity output their solar installations are producing. Using the Schools Going Solar Teacher Guide will help teachers plan research and analysis activities. A variety of resources are available on the site.

There are lots of great resources online for teaching about solar energy. A few excellent examples:

Energy Information Administration Kid’s Page
Interstate Renewable Energy Council’s Schools Going Solar Program
The Rahus Institute’s Solar Schoolhouse
The Foundation for Environmental Education
Florida Solar Energy Center
California Energy Commission’s Energy Quest
National Renewable Energy Laboratory
NREL’s Education Office