The goal of this activity is for students to develop a model for the power production of a solar cell, including what variables influence power production.

In the Preliminary Observations, students observe a solar cell generating enough electrical power to operate an LED, buzzer, or other simple electronic device. Students then brainstorm a list of factors that affect the ability for the solar cell to generate power, such as light level, cell angle with respect to incoming light, cell temperature, or the load applied to the solar cell. To investigate the power production of a solar cell, students pick one of the variables and design and conduct an experiment.


  • Design and perform an investigation.
  • Draw a conclusion from evidence.
  • Construct a simple circuit containing a solar cell and a load (resistance).