- Educators: K-12
- Goddard Space Flight Center
- Earth Science
- Physical Science
- Exploring Engineering and Technology
- Exploring Earth
- 030 min(s)
- 050 min(s)
What impact does solar energy have in space and on Earth?
What impact does solar energy have on future developments to generate electricity on Earth and for long duration space travel?
This module is appropriate for video conference AND web conference presentation
All the energy stored in Earth's reserves of coal, oil, and natural gas is matched by the energy from just 20 days of sunshine. This free and inexhaustible resource is already being harnessed by the solar arrays to power the International Space Station. Learn how solar energy will impact our future in space and here on Earth.
TLW share prior knowledge about energy and its importance to life on Earth and NASA with the NASA Education Specialist
TLW define the different types of energy and its parts, and discuss the many ways solar energy can be used on Earth
TLW discover how NASA utilizes the sun and solar cells to power vehicles such as the International Space Station
TLW observe an on-camera solar cell demonstration, and synthesize their observations by explaining how solar cells work on the International Space Station and Mars Rovers
TLW demonstrate their understanding of solar energy by completing a post-activity assessment, and compare their results from their pre-activity assessment
Sequence of Events
The links below are previews of the activities only. For the complete module and event information, please see the Complete Educator Guide link for each grade level.
Students will distinguish between potential and kinetic energy.
Students will measure the energy output of a photovoltaic cell under varying conditions.
Students will simulate a chain reaction.
Students will look at how solar energy was used in the past, how it is used today, and how it could be used in the future. Students will learn about the various forms of energy and how it is being used at NASA for missions in space. A NASA Education Specialist will demonstrate how solar cells work and how they are used to power the ISS and the rovers on Mars.
The following standards are abbreviated for the 5-8 module. Due to the longevitiy of standard descriptions, expected student behaviors are listed in the Educator Guide. Standards and expected student behaviors for grades K-4 and 9-12 can be found in the appropriate Educator Guide.
National Standards National Science Education Standards (NSES)
Science as Inquiry - Content Standard A
Physical Science - Content Standard B
Life Science - Content Standard C
Earth and Space Science - Content Standard D
Science and Technology - Content Standard E
Science in Personal and Social Perspectives - Content Standard F
History and Nature of Science - Content Standard G
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM)
Measurement - Standards 12C, 13B
International Technology Education Association (ITEA)
Energy and Power Techniques - Standard 16A
Texas State Standards
5.8 Science Concepts - Standard B
6.9 Science Concepts - Standard B
8.2 Science Processes - Standards A, C