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Carolina STEM Challenge®: Passive Solar Design Kit

Item # 180962 Exclusive This product is exclusive to Carolina Biological Supply. With Digital This kit includes 1-year access to digital resources including videos, digital teacher’s manuals, printable student guides, interactive lessons, editable assessment questions, and more.

Product Highlights

  • Design and construct your own scale model vacation home to explore passive solar building and design techniques.
  • High school engineering design challenge with enough materials to support 12 groups of students.
  • Carolina Kits 3D®—Lab activity that designs a solution for an engineering problem to support NGSS and 3-dimensional instruction.



In stock and available to ship.

In this series of activities, students apply their knowledge of electromagnetic radiation, energy, and energy transfer to solve this engineering problem, “What are some ways that buildings can be made more energy efficient using the sun’s energy directly?” Teams complete a prototype activity during which they build and test a model of a small vacation home. In the design challenge, students build and test exterior features on their model houses so that the interior will remain cool when the summer sun shines at an angle of 70°. Assessment questions and STEM-based extension activities are also included.

Time Requirement
Teacher prep, 60 minutes. Research and prototype activity, 90 minutes. Design challenge, 1 or 2 class periods. Presentations and assessment, 1 or 2 class periods.

Digital Resources
Includes 1-year access to digital resources that support 3-dimensional instruction for NGSS. Digital resources may include a teacher manual and student guide, pre-lab activities and setup videos, phenomenon videos, simulations, and post-lab analysis and assessments.

Performance Expectations

Crosscutting Concepts
Systems and System Models

Disciplinary Core Ideas
PS4.B: Electromagnetic Radiation

Science and Engineering Practices
Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions

Learning Objectives

  • Build a scale model of a vacation home and take solar heating and cooling measurements for use as a control experiment.
  • Evaluate the performance of different materials as insulation and thermal mass in regulating interior heating.
  • Design and evaluate the effect of external structural modifications on keeping a home cool.

Prior Knowledge and Skills
Students should be familiar with heat transfer by conduction, convection, and radiation. Knowledge of solar radiation and electromagnetic waves and energy conservation using sustainable resources is useful. Students should also know the physical properties of materials such as density, specific heat, heat capacity, and thermal conductivity.

  • This item is only available from Carolina Biological Supply Company.

Product Families Featuring This Item:

Components Qty Included?
Foam Pad, 9 × 12 × .5" 16 Included
Plastic Cup, 4 oz 12 Included
Aquarium Gravel, 5-lb Bag 1 Included
Cardboard Box, 8 × 8 × 6" 15 Included
Transparency Sheet 30 Included
1-Hole Rubber Stopper, #5.5 12 Included
Polystyrene Pad, 8 × 8 × .5" 24 Included
Carolina Science Online® Resources (1-year subscription) 1 Included
Teacher’s Manual with Reproducible Student Guide 1 Included
Document Camera or Overhead Projector Needed, Not Included
Laboratory Thermometer (or temperature probe) 12 Needed, Not Included
Balances, as needed Needed, Not Included
Clamp Lamp 1 Needed, Not Included
Scissors 12 Needed, Not Included
Metric Ruler 12 Needed, Not Included
Glycerin (or liquid soap) 1 Needed, Not Included
Tape Dispenser with Transparent Tape 2 Needed, Not Included
Masking Tape (or duct tape) 2 Needed, Not Included
Timer (or watch with second hand) 12 Needed, Not Included
Ring Stand (with a universal clamp) 12 Needed, Not Included
Universal Clamp 1 Needed, Not Included
Graduated Cylinder, 100 mL 3 Needed, Not Included
Construction Paper (light color) 12 Needed, Not Included
Thin Sheet of Cardboard, 8.5 × 11" 12 Needed, Not Included
Beaker, 400 mL 3 Needed, Not Included
Incandescent Lightbulb (60 W or 100 W, in a gooseneck light fixture) 12 Needed, Not Included
File Folder 12 Needed, Not Included

Carolina STEM Challenge® Emerging Energies Series

Engineer excitement!Carolina STEM Challenge

These NEW kits for middle and high school environmental science offer:

  • Exciting STEM components
  • Fun, challenging activities for students
  • Easy implementation, even if you are new to STEM
  • Unique topics in emerging energies

Carolina STEM Challenge® Emerging Energies Series kits engage and inspire students with fun, real-world design challenges in an exciting tournament-style format. Integrating STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) into your environmental science curriculum has never been more exciting or easier.

Carolina STEM Challenge® kits incorporate STEM components and focus on engineering concepts and practices in line with the Next Generation Science Standards. Student teams design, build, test, and compete in a cooperative-learning environment. This gives them the opportunity to strengthen their critical-thinking and creative problem-solving skills and reflect on their entry’s performance and what they could do to improve it.

Carolina STEM Challenge® kits are easy to use, even if you are new to STEM. We designed each kit to include everything you need for classroom success:

  • Warm-up activity with background information
  • STEM design template and challenge
  • Notebooking and literacy extensions
  • Materials and instructions to support small design teams
  • Grading rubrics