Recommended for High School through College.
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).
Sensors and Equipment
This experiment features the following Vernier sensors and equipment.
You may also need an interface and software for data collection. What do I need for data collection?
Next Generation Science Standards
Disciplinary Core Ideas
- PS3.A Definitions of Energy
- PS3.B Conservation of Energy and Energy Transfer
- PS4.B Electromagnetic Radiation
- Cause and Effect
- Systems and System Models
- Energy and Matter
- Influence of Engineering, Technology, and Science on Society and the Natural World
Science and Engineering Practices
- Asking Questions and Defining Problems
- Planning and Carrying Out Investigations
- Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information