Solar Energy Lesson Plan

Instructor: Dana Dance-Schissel

Dana teaches social sciences at the college level and English and psychology at the high school level. She has master's degrees in applied, clinical and community psychology.

How does solar energy work? A video lesson outlines key information for students while a fun in-class competition puts it to the test. Related lessons and extensions help you take this topic further if you choose.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • explain what solar energy is and how it works
  • outline the pros and cons of solar energy
  • compare and contrast solar energy to battery power


1 hour


  • Battery-powered calculators
  • Solar-powered calculators
  • A list of 20 complex addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division problems
  • A clock with seconds clearly marked

Curriculum Standards


Determine the central ideas or conclusions of a text; provide an accurate summary of the text distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.


Compare and contrast the information gained from experiments, simulations, video, or multimedia sources with that gained from reading a text on the same topic.


  • Begin by asking students if they have anything solar powered in their home, or if they have ever used anything powered by the Sun.
  • For those who raised their hands, have them explain what the item is.
  • Now ask students to consider how the Sun powers those objects/devices. What else does the Sun do for us? Write some of their ideas on the board.
  • Play the video lesson What is Solar Energy? - Definition, Pros & Cons, pausing at 3:18.
  • Review the ideas written on the board in light of the information provided in the video lesson. How do the students's ideas compare? Was anything missing? If so, add it now.
  • Play the rest of the video lesson for the class now.

Discussion Questions

  • How many ways can we use the Sun for energy?
  • Is solar energy more expensive than other energy sources?
  • Why is solar energy usage so limited?

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