Harnessing Solar Energy, Grade 4: STEM Road Map for Elementary School

edited by: Carla C. Johnson, Janet B. Walton, and Erin Peters-Burton

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What if you could challenge your fourth graders to use solar energy to provide the world with clean water? With this volume in the STEM Road Map Curriculum Series, you can!

Harnessing Solar Energy outlines a journey that will steer your students toward authentic problem solving while grounding them in integrated STEM disciplines. The series is designed to meet the growing need to infuse real-world learning into K–12 classrooms.

This book is an interdisciplinary module that uses project- and problem-based learning to investigate energy and energy sources, with a focus on solar energy and water scarcity.
Your students will

• Investigate potential and kinetic energy, solar energy, the greenhouse effect, and salinity. Students will examine solar energy’s potential and limitations while being introduced to the concept of scarce resources and potable water.
• Make a social studies connection by investigating water scarcity around the world. Teams will choose regions facing water scarcity and research the areas’ geography, climate, and cultures.
• Use their understanding of solar energy, desalination, and the engineering design process (EDP) to design a passive solar desalination device in the Water for All Challenge. Teams will also create public service announcements about the need for their devices in the water-scarce countries they researched.
• Take part in a Water Conservation Expo to exhibit their understanding of solar energy, water scarcity, and desalination worldwide.

The STEM Road Map Curriculum Series is anchored in the Next Generation Science Standards, the Common Core State Standards, and the Framework for 21st Century Learning. In-depth and flexible, Harnessing Solar Energy can be used as a whole unit or in part to meet the needs of districts, schools, and teachers who are charting a course toward an integrated STEM approach.

NSTA Press produces classroom-ready activities, hands-on approaches to inquiry, relevant professional development, the latest scientific education news and research, assessment and standards-based instruction.

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