Group Lesson Plan

RET-Nano 2009:  Group Lesson Plan


Group Members:  Kelly McCarthy, Aileen Constans


Lesson Plan Title:  Nanotechnology and World Energy


Nanotech Concept/Topic to Teach:  Nanotechnology and manufacturing.


Standards Addressed:

·         Science and technology in local, national, and global challenges

·         Structure and properties of matter

·         Conservation of energy/Interactions of energy and matter


General Goals/Objective:

·         Students will be able to explain the impact of nanotechnology on the development of an alternative energy resource.

·         Students will be able to construct nanocrystalline dye-sensitized solar cells and compare their power output to commercial solar cells.


Required Materials: 


Article on Solar Cells

Berries (raspberries, blueberries, and/or blackberries)

Binder Clips

Acetic Acid

Hot Plate/Oven/Flame

Conductive Glass Slides

Nanocrystalline Solar Cell Kit


Anticipatory Set:


·         Powerpoint slides and notes on the limited availability of current energy sources (oil, natural gas, coal, nuclear) and solar energy as a possible alternative.

·         Tentatively:  provide students with an article about silicon solar cells/list of questions about cost, availability, time issues

·         Notes—new inexpensive material for solar cells:  Titanium Dioxide, a suspension of NANOPARTICLES




·         What is nano?  Introduction to definition of nanotechnology; paper cutting activity and “number line” activity.

·         Discussion of  number line:  (i.e., a molecule is smaller than a nanoparticle although we still are not able to see or feel a nanoparticle without very special tools).

·         Explain that “Scientists have already mixed nanoparticles into the chemical compound we will be using to create our inexpensive solar cells throughout this lab.”

·         Assessment:  Mini-quiz on “what is nano?” and world energy powerpoint

·         Discussion of quiz

·         Lab activity:  follow procedure outlined in solar cell kit.


Independent Practice and Analysis:


Each lab group will be able to choose from a combination of the following activites for a certain amount of points*:

·         Effect of different light sources on the output of solar cells

·         Effect of connecting homemade solar cells in series . . . in parallel

·         How many solar cells need to be connected to light a light bulb

·         Use variable resistors and a voltmeter to record the I-V curves for each solar cell.

·         Demonstrate Ohm’s Law

·         Measure the Current vs. Power Density

·         Storing Solar Energy using a Capacitor


* Extension for gifted students:  Each of the above activities will be worth a certain amount of points and students must be working the full time so if they finish early they will move on to a new activity of their choice.




Class discussion of questions to cover results from lab, “what is nanotech”, “world energy”.   Which material used to create your solar cell is an example of nanotechnology or a nanomaterial?




Post-Lab Assessment: Quiz or mini-test (Quest or Twizz):

Questions (multiple choice, short answer, 1 Ohm’s Law problem/power density problem).


Writing assignment:  Compare and Contrast Nanotech solar cells with Silicon solar cells based on readings and results from lab.

Jul 31, 2009, 6:41 AM