CTE Technical Instruction

Prepare students to stand out in the renewable energy job market.

Science of Energy

Explore the sun as an electricity source with these videos, lessons, and experiments.

Careers in Solar

Introduce students to exciting career opportunities in this rapidly growing field.

Solar & Farming: Harvesting Electricity and Veggies on the Same Land

Source: National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL)

Learn about innovative strategies for adding even more value to solar-developed land, such as growing food or planting pollinator-friendly habitat.

Interpreting Solar Energy Dashboards Lesson

Source: Solar Empowered Schools

This inquiry-based lesson is a great for introducing the solar energy dashboard. After students analyze graphs of solar production to form conclusions about seasonal and weather patterns, they apply their understanding to make predictions about future production.

Rooftop Solar Installation Timelapse Video

Source: Center for Renewable Energy Advanced Technological Education (CREATE)

See how solar panels are installed on the roof of a large school building in this 3.5-minute timelapse video.

REcharge Academy: Intensive Renewable Energy Training for Educators

Source: KidWind

If you are a middle or high school teacher looking to launch a renewable energy project or course, this academy will set you up for success. The REcharge Academy is a week-long, in-person educator training workshop about renewable energy. Scholarships for teachers for enrollment and travel are available; contact us to see if you are eligible.

Solar Technology Basics

Source: U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)

A good introduction to how solar technology works, which includes written text and a 2-minute video.

Intro to Solar - Online Course

Source: Solar Energy International (SEI)

Solar Energy International is the industry go-to for solar workforce training, with both all-online and hands-on courses. PVOL101 is an on-demand, self-paced online course that is ideal for CTE teachers looking to gain a solid understanding of photovoltaics before teaching a course about solar. Contact Sun Tribe to see if scholarships are available for teacher tuition.

Solar Technical Training Curriculum

Source: Center for Renewable Energy Advanced Technological Education (CREATE)

This curriculum unit is perfect for CTE; students will learn about solar resource evaluation, siting, and design using the technical tools commonly used in the field. In addition to a thorough Solar PV unit, the Center for Renewable Energy Advanced Technological Education also offers free unit plans for other energy-based units, such as Energy Efficiency and Energy Bill Analysis.

Wind and Solar Competition

Source: KidWind

Each year KidWind runs statewide solar and wind challenges for grades 4-12. Students and teachers alike rave about this rich experience. Equipment and entry are free to participating clubs. No teacher expertise is necessary, as KidWind holds office hours for students and provides technical support for teachers..

U.N. Sustainable Development Goals & Lessons

Source: United Nations

Solar integrates beautifully with broader sustainability themes, such as the 7th U.N. Sustainability goal, "Affordable and Clean Energy". Visit this site for a wide range of captivating sustainability-related educational resources, including links to lessons about renewable energy through "The World's Largest Lesson."

Candy Collector: Renewable vs. Non-Renewable Activity

Source: National Energy Education Development (NEED)

In this fun, hands-on activity featuring CANDY(!) students choose between renewable and non-renewable energy sources to power their town. Only common materials such as a straw (extractor), M&Ms (non-renewable source), and jellybeans (renewable source) are required. Teacher Tip: Search YouTube for "Candy Collector - Exploring Renewable & Nonrenewable" for a video demonstration of this lesson.

Project Wild Lessons about Pollinators and Adaptations

Source: Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies

Project Wild offers an excellent student-centered, experiential K-12 curriculum about wildlife and the environment, including lessons about pollination and adaptations. Teachers who participate in this FREE professional development workshop receive the treasured Activity Guide - a compilation of excellent standards-aligned, low-prep lessons that are feasible in any setting.

Women in Energy Careers Picture Book

Source: Authors Erin Twamley and Joshua Sneideman

This illustrated book spotlights diverse women working in STEM.

So Happy Together: Solar and Pollinators Interactive Lesson

Source: Solar Empowered Schools

This lesson, which includes a scavenger hunt, illuminates how ground-mounted solar can offer the double benefit of (1) generating clean, renewable energy and (2) creating a habitat for important pollinators.

National Energy Education Development (NEED) Solar Curriculum

Source: National Energy Education Development (NEED)

NEED specializes in K-12 renewable energy curriculum and teacher professional development. Their site includes a huge library of standards-aligned lesson plans (free) and hands-on experiment kits (for purchase).

Flowers and Their Pollinators Video

Source: SciShow Kids

This 5-minute video reviews the adaptations of animals and plants that facilitate pollination.

Intro to Renewable Energy - Free Online Course

Source: Solar Energy International (SEI)

This free self-paced online course covers the basics of electricity, conservation and efficiency, and renewable energy technologies. This course is perfect for teacher professional development or motivated high school students.

Careers in Renewable Energy Video

Source: Advanced Technology Environmental Education Center (ATEEC)

This 4-minute video introduces the wide span of jobs in the renewable energy industry, including some less commonly featured technologies like wave energy.

Energy Transformations Lesson and Solar Circuit Challenge

Source: Solar Empowered Schools

In the first part of this lesson, students will explore different forms of energy and discuss how energy can be transformed. In the second part of the lesson, students apply their understanding as they build their own circuits using solar panels, motors, lights, and switches. Ideal for 5th grade, but applicable for grades 4-12. Equipment required, materials list included.

Classroom Kit Lending Library for Renewable Energy Experiments

Source: Center for the Advancement of Sustainable Energy (CASE)

Virginia teachers can check out classroom sets of hands-on learning kits for free! Includes experiment kits for solar and wind, NEED experiments, and energy-related books.

Solar Storytime for Pre-K

Source: Wisconsin K-12 Energy Education Program (KEEP)

Children can follow along with the video recording to hear two solar-related stories and create a sun craft. Featured books: Solar Power Comes to My Home by Susie Flann and Sun Song by Jean Marzollo. Video by the Wisconsin K-12 Energy Education Program.

Solar Career Map

Source: Interstate Renewable Energy Council

A perfect way to introduce the breadth of job opportunities in the solar field. Students can explore the interactive map to visualize possible career paths. They can also hear from actual solar professionals in short videos on the "About the Industry" tab.

Escape Room - Energy for Your World...And Beyond!

Source: Solar Empowered Schools

Energize your classroom with this fun escape-room activity! Teams of students will work together to unlock energy solutions for a newly discovered planet whose climate is similar to Earth's. Excellent as an introduction to, or summary of, energy and environmental impact, this one-hour lesson touches on themes of renewable energy, greenhouse gasses, and carbon dioxide emissions while encouraging problem-solving and collaboration.

Energy Career Activities and Lessons

Source: National Energy Education Development (NEED)

The Energy Careers Excursion curriculum pack includes activities suitable for all ages. With activities like "Energy Industry Guess Who?" and "Soft Skills Souiree", students assess which types of energy jobs match their interests and skills.

Solar Suitcase Project: Local Learning, Global Impact

Source: We Share Solar

This hands-on STEM education program links practical engineering skills with global humanitarian service as students build and share We Share Solar Suitcases with schools in energy scarce regions of the world.

Vocabulary Game - Important Solar Energy Terms

Source: Solar Empowered Schools

This quick, no-prep game is great as a warm-up or summary activity during a lesson or unit about solar energy. Similar to the game Heads Up, the goal is for students to guess each vocabulary term based on their partner's description.

NABCEP Solar Installer Certification

Source: North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP)

A NABCEP certification makes a solar installer's resume shine, as it serves as a powerful signal of solar PV knowledge and training.

OSHA-10 Safety Certification

Source: Occupational Safety and Health Administration

An OSHA safety certification makes candidates for solar field positions stand out.

"Solar at Our School" Infographic Project

Source: Solar Empowered Schools

This project leads students to learn about their schools' solar array, investigate the environmental benefits of solar, and create an infographic poster about solar at their school.

Hear from Women in Solar - Video

Source: Solar Energy International

Women from across the world talk about their roles in the solar industry in this 4-minute video.

Switch: Free Energy Documentaries and Curriculum Modules

Source: Switch Energy Alliance

Switch is an award-winning documentary that explores all types of energy, from coal to solar, and examines the energy decisions we make. In addition to the free full-length film, Switch Classroom offers six free curriculum modules. The content is non-partisan and the modules are self-paced and asynchronous - ideal for a flipped classroom style or a substitute plan.

Clean Energy Jobs and Planning

Source: U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)

Resources for clean energy careers, such as career maps for many types of renewable energy (solar, wind, bioenergy, fuel cells, and more) are available at this website.

Virtual Solar Tour

Source: Solar Empowered Schools

Explore the components of a roof-mounted and ground-mounted solar array through this interactive Google Slideshow.

Fastest Growing Occupations: Occupational Outlook Handbook

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Careers in renewable energy currently occupy two of the Top 5 fastest-growing occupations in the country: wind turbine service technician and solar photovoltaic installer. Using this Occupational Handbook, students can explore the pay scales, responsibilities, and training requirements of a wide variety of renewable energy careers.