PVs in Action 4-5

Grade Level

  • 4-5


  • Curricula & Storylines
cover of PVs 4-5 curriculum

Driving question: How does installing photovoltaic panels address the community’s electricity needs while helping to protect the earth?

Turn your students into solar energy experts. The PVs in Action Curriculum helps students:

  • experience energy transformations
  • grapple with core ideas about energy
  • practice employing engineering strategies
  • experience how energy can be harnessed in ways that do not negatively impact our environment or our climate.

The PVs in Action curriculum focuses on how photovoltaic panels can be used to transform the sun’s radiant energy into electricity that can then be transformed into a wide variety of useful energy forms (e.g. heat, light, motion, etc.). Students explore electrical circuitry with batteries and bulbs to learn how circuits function before removing the non-renewable battery and replacing it with a PV panel. Students use the PV panels, digital voltmeters, wires, and light sources to explore factors that affect electrical output of PV panels and practice using the engineering design cycle in more advanced ways to improve output. Throughout their work, students generate and analyze data to inform their engineering design choices.

NGSS standards addressed

4-PS3-2 Energy: Make observations to provide evidence that energy can be transferred from place to place by sound, light, heat, and electric currents.

4-PS3-4 Energy: Apply scientific ideas to design, test, and refine a device that converts energy from one form to another.

5-PS1-3 Matter and Its Interactions: Make observations and measurements to identify materials based on their properties.

3-5-ETS1-1 Engineering Design: Define a simple design problem reflecting a need or a want that includes specified criteria for success and constraints on materials, time, or cost.

3-5-ETS1-2 Engineering Design: Generate and compare multiple possible solutions to a problem based on how well each is likely to meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.


  • Solar