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Solar Wonders

Note to Teachers

The Solar Wonders educational unit has been developed by the Florida Solar Energy Center, a research institute of the University of Central Florida. The purpose of this unit is to help you give your students an awareness of the power of solar energy and to show its impact on their lives. The programs presented in the unit provide an overview of the technologies, an understanding of their principles, and detailed case studies of their uses. Pictures of their applications around the world let you show actual examples to your students.

By using the slide presentations and case studies, students will extend their understanding of solar technologies by reading about and seeing examples of its principles and applications around the world. Not only will students view examples of the power of solar energy firsthand, but they will also investigate the variables that affect solar energy transfer. Solar Wonders has been designed as an interactive unit for use in high school classes. Each presentation is in PowerPoint slides for your direct use in class, and can either be used as background material to extend and enrich your curriculum, or can be copied for students to use. The materials will provide opportunities for your students to explore new concepts and extend their understanding by asking questions and designing their own investigations.

Current presentations include:

  • Introduction to Solar Energy, an overview of the technologies and applications
  • Solar Thermal Energy, using the sun to heat water
  • Photovoltaics, using the sun to generate electricity
  • High Temperature Solar Thermal Systems, dishes, troughs, and other concentrators that convert the sun's heat into both electricity and hot water at the same time
  • Pasive Solar Design, designing a building to work with the sun
  • Solar Energy Uses in Agriculture, a detailed study of a solar application
  • A Renewable energy House in Australia, a case study of a successful renewable energy project
  • Why Use Solar Energy? a modern day fable about photovoltaics

The presentations in Solar Wonders will encourage your students to observe, hypothesize, gather information, gather and record data, analyze and communicate information, and draw conclusions.

The presentations may be viewed in HTML format or downloaded in PowerPoint.

Also included in Solar Wonders are a glossary and an extensive listing of internet links to promote further research.

Please note that this site will be expanded over time, and we urge you to check back for additional presentation materials and information.

We hope that you find this material useful in your classes. Please let us know if there are other energy-related materials that would be helpful.