Two Solar Energy Lessons from My NASA Data

I think it is great when students can interact with real data as this brings not only relevance to an activity but also enables them to practice the skills required to analyze and interpret data.

These two solar-energy related lessons from NASA utilize satellite data from the MY NASA DATA Live Access Server (LAS).  The LAS contains over 149 parameters in atmospheric and earth science from five NASA scientific projects and enables teachers to create their own data microsets that also take into account geographic location (latitude and longitude). While easy to use, I would get familiar with this tool first; a tutorial is available on the LAS home page.

Think GREEN – Utilizing Renewable Solar Energy
In this lesson, students analyze line plots that are generated using satellite data to determine the average monthly amount of solar energy received by their region and assess the impact of clouds on the amount of solar energy received.  Students practice constructing and interpreting graphs and evaluate the solar energy potential for their region.

Solar Cell Energy Availability From Around the Country
In this lesson, students analyze incoming solar radiation graphs for the country to determine the areas of the country that have the greatest solar energy potential. To conclude the activity, each student explores where in the US they would choose to live if solar energy was to power their home.

 

A nice companion activity for either lesson would be to have your students create sun charts for their region and/or the regions they are comparing.

 

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