Login or Register


Carolina STEM Challenge®: Passive Solar Design Kit

(in stock)


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.


What’s Included:
Needed But Not Included:
Return Policy:

This product is backed by our 100% Satisfaction Guarantee. If for any reason you are not satisfied with any item, you may return it for a replacement, a refund, or credit. Read more about our Return and Exchange Policy  »


Questions & Answers