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The Energy Which Never Ends

The Energy Which Never Ends

Unit Summary

Students’ role-play as members of Karnataka Energy Development Agency (KEDA) and conduct a research to collect contemporary information about solar cookers. They analyse the advantages and disadvantages of any three solar cooker models available. They synthesise the information collected from different resources and design a more efficient solar cooker. They prepare a multimedia presentation to share their research findings and a proposed solar cooker design with KEDA committee. They create a brochure and circulate among the community to promote their product. They also design a wiki to create awareness about energy crisis and the significance of solar energy among the community worldwide.

Curriculum- Framing Questions

  • Essential Question
    How can I contribute to making a better tomorrow?
  • Unit Questions
    How can I use solar energy effectively?
    How can we best design a solar cooker?
  • Content Questions
    List the sources of energy?
    Define solar energy?
    What is the difference between solar energy & other energies?
    What are solar devices?

Assessment Processes

View how a variety of student-centered assessments are used in the Unit Plan. These assessments help students and teachers set goals; monitor student progress; provide feedback; assess thinking, processes, performances, and products; and reflect on learning throughout the learning cycle.

Instructional Procedures

Prior to instruction

  • Implementation plan(doc) for successful project completion.
  • A chart with newspaper clippings of “power cuts in the city”, “growing demand for power supply” to be put up on the classroom bulletin board.
  • Discussion log.
  • List of websites and books for students’ reference.
  • Contact Karnataka Energy Development Agency (KEDA) and Department of Alternative Sources of Energy (DASE) and organise for guest lecture.
  • Handout for Material Research & Design Research.
  • Teacher presentation to present outline of the project.
  • Prepare guidelines for research & design.
  • Research log for the students to collect information.
  • Prepare a parent permission letter.
  • Multimedia, Newsletter and Wiki evaluation rubrics to share with the students.
  • Collaboration Rubric to assess team effort and group participation.

Introduction - Fish Bowl Discussion - Week 1 (2 periods)
Arrange chairs into two circles in such a way that an inner circle faces each other and an outer circle surrounding the inner circle. Group the students into two equal groups. One group takes their position in the inner set of chairs; the other group takes their position in the outer circle. The objective of Fish Bowl discussion is to observe, discover, and analyse another group’s thought process. Each group has an opportunity to discuss the issue while the other group observes much like looking at the fish in a fish bowl.

Initiate the discussion by posing the essential question How can I contribute to making a better tomorrow? among members of the inner circle. Members of the outer circle are to observe the discussion but are asked not to discuss anything among themselves. Ask outer circle students to fill Discussion Log(doc) during discussion. The inner circle discussion is limited to a set time (20 minutes). At the end of the given time, the groups switch places and the same format is followed for the second group.

After completing the second discussion, the inner chairs are added to the outer circle so that both groups are seated in one circle. 

Draw students’ attention to the newspaper clippings on "power cuts in the city", "growing demand for power supply" put up on the classroom bulletin board. Initiate a common discussion between the two groups about their observations of the other group on How can I contribute to making a better tomorrow? Remind students to keep the focus of discussion based on the newspaper clippings.

Encourage the students to come out with various alternatives to tackle energy crisis. Ask the students to note down the ideas that emerged from the discussion in their journal.

Focus the discussion on solar energy, its advantages and its effectiveness in contributing to a pollution free world. Brainstorm and ask the students to do a homework activity to research on solar energy and reflect on how it can be effectively used by answering the unit question How can I use solar energy effectively?

Week 2 (2 periods)
Arrange for a guest lecture on “Importance of Solar Energy” by experts from Department of Alternative Sources of Energy (DASE) & Karnataka Energy Development Agency (KEDA) to provide the latest information and encourage students’ involvement in the project. Provide opportunity for students to clarify their doubts with a question and answer session after the guest lecture. Students use this information to add on to their homework activity to answer the unit question How can I use solar energy effectively?

Introduce the Project based learning scenario by posing the unit question How can we best design a solar cooker? Divide the students into groups of 6 students to accommodate and cater to the needs of all types of learners in the classroom. Each group will be a mixture of gifted, average and resource students. Explain to students that they will be working as members of KEDA with an objective to conduct a research, design a new solar cooker and create awareness among the community.

Share a multimedia presentation(ppt) to give an overview of the project. Provide project guidelines(doc) which help the students to complete the project fruitfully. Give clear instructions on etiquettes of conducting research.

Provide a list of resource websites & books(doc) to the students. Ask students to make an entry in the research log(doc) as they conduct research using Web sites to keep the track of their work and guide.

Week 3 (Research - 3 periods)
Set students to work in groups, to research from bookmarked Internet sites related to solar cooker design and marketing. Remind the students to focus on the unit question How can we best design a solar cooker? during their research. Instruct the students to record their observations in the research log. Provide time to the students to conduct the research and document their observations. Share the collaboration rubric(doc) with students encouraging team effort and group participation.

Students select three solar cooker models from their research. They analyse the advantages and disadvantages of each model. Ask students to observe the design of different solar cooker models. Guide students to conduct material research and design research to understand the factors that play a major role in the functioning of a solar cooker. While conducting material research, guide the students to research on heat principles such as amount of heat gain, heat loss and heat storage capacity of the cooker. Direct the students to consider the materials to be used in making of a solar cooker. Materials used for structure, insulation, transparency and moisture resistance to be considered. Guide the students to research on the design of the cooker. Ask the students to note down box size, solar collection area to box volume ratio, proportion of solar cooker box and reflector size/number of reflectors. Handover material research(doc) and design research(doc)  worksheets to the students.

Encourage students to put up their doubts on the Query Corner during the research work and provide support to get further clarification from the experts.

Week 4 (Solar Cooker Design - 3 periods)
Prepare parent permission letter(doc) to take students to KEDA and DASE. Ask students to get permission from their parents. This visit would give the students an opportunity to see the real working models of different solar cookers and study them in detail. Encourage the students to ask questions and clarify their doubts which they had listed during their research. When they come back ask students to discuss about the departmental visits and share their findings.

Solar Cooker Design
Ask the students to refer to the research log and notes prepared during their research. Ask them to prepare a list of the points which are important while designing a new model. Guide students to design an improvised and effective solar cooker model.

Multimedia Presentation
Ask the students to prepare a multimedia presentation to share student’s research findings and solar cooker design with the KEDA committee. Ask students to keep in mind the essential and unit questions while preparing the multimedia presentation.
Share the multimedia evaluation rubric(doc) with the students to make them understand teacher expectations and create best student assignment.  

Week 5 and 6 (6 periods – Preparing multimedia presentation, brochure and website)
Ask students to prepare a multimedia presentation(ppt) to present their findings and design to the KEDA committee head by role playing as committee members of KEDA.

Guide students to prepare a brochure to be circulated among the community to promote the solar cooker. Ask students to focus on the advantages, comparison with other energy devices, organisation information etc. in the brochure. Share the brochure score sheet(doc) with the students. Make students distribute the brochures in their neighborhood to promote their new solar cooker. 

Finally have students educate a broader audience by creating a wiki with awareness among the worldwide community about energy crisis, renewable energy sources (Solar Energy) and research work of solar cooker design. Share the wiki rubric(doc) with the students. Ask students to focus on Introduction to KEDA, energy crisis concept, renewable energy sources especially solar energy and strategies to overcome energy crisis etc.  

Week 7 (2 Periods – Debate and Symposium)
Divide the class into two groups and conduct a debate on Do you think solar energy can replace fossil fuels? Ask the students to present their points in favour of or against this issue. Handover debate rubric(doc) to the students to help them plan their talking points and know the expectations beforehand. Students based on their learning from the project present their views and argue that solar energy could be an answer to India’s energy crisis if utilised effectively.

Organise a symposium in the school to share the learning of the project. Invite teachers from other classes and the parents to participate in the symposium. Invite officials from KEDA as judges to select the best solar cooker design. Students with the best solar cooker design will be awarded and they will have the opportunity to work with KEDA and DASE to actually develop their solar cooker design and test its effectiveness.  

Conclude the project by asking the essential question How can I contribute to making a better tomorrow? Have students revisit the Essential Question in small and large group discussions. Ask students to record their thoughts in their reflective journals as a final activity.

Prerequisite Skills

  • Basic Computer skills pertaining to Microsoft Office* and Microsoft Publisher*.
  • Basic knowledge about Energy Crisis.

Differentiated Instruction

Resource Student 

  • Use cooperative grouping  
  • Give personal attention
  • Present instructions in a variety of ways  
  • Break down tasks into component parts  
  • Allow extra time for completing assignments  
  • Use assistance from a parent, volunteer, or teacher’s aide  
  • Provide teacher-created templates and graphic organisers  
  • Provide positive reinforcement for each accomplished benchmark 
  • Boost confidence by counseling

Gifted Student 

  • Provide individual research projects  
  • Have the student plan and design solar cooker 
  • Have the students organize the symposium
  • Provide extension activities, such as preparing a working model of the proposed solar cooker design


This project idea has been developed by Mr. Ajaya Babu and Ms. Sudha. A team of teachers expanded the plan into the example you see here.

The Energy Which Never Ends

At a Glance

Grade Level: 9 - 10
Subjects: Physics, Environmental studies, Mathematics
Topic: Solar Energy
Key Learnings:  Importance and need for solar energy, solar devices available in the market, types and functioning of a solar cooker
Time Needed: 7 Weeks, 18 periods of 40 minutes each