Winning work at Intel Maker Teaching Contest
Sunlight tracking system
Energy recycling is a trend around the world because of global warming, and the development of solar panels is a focus of attention now. However, traditional solar panels are fixtures and their power generation efficiency is the highest only when there is direct sunlight on them because their power generation efficiency is rather low under slanted sunlight.
To resolve the inefficiency, Dai-lin Yang, a teacher at Huey Deng High School in Yilan County, first introduced the theory of solar power generation and Intel Galileo Development Board’s basic functions to students and then led them to combine the theory with the development board to figure out how to devise a sunlight tracking system that can enhance solar power generation efficiency. The didactic unit was intended to help students strengthen their problem-solving abilities by effective applying textbook knowledge to daily life.
Didactic unit: Sunlight tracking system
Discipline: Information technology
Suitable grade: Seventh grade
Developers: Dai-lin Yang and Qiong-yi Wang, teachers at Huey Deng
Didactic unit summary:
The theory of solar power generation and related technologies are introduced to students together with photo resistor readings as parameters for calculation. Students then write computer programs to calculate the direction of solar panel rotation for Intel Galileo Development Board to enable solar panel rotation to the best angle to enhance solar power generation efficiency.
Utilizing project-based learning, the didactic unit provides a hands-on process to students for them to strengthen their problem-solving abilities that they can use in the real world. In particular, the didactic unit combines physics with information technology to enable integrative learning and stimulate students to think how to apply what they learn to daily life. Computational thinking is also incorporated into the didactic unit, which uses thinking tools such as mind mapping to help students strengthen their analytical abilities.
Words from developers
As the development of computational thinking is becoming increasingly important, the best way for students to develop it is learning by doing. At present, because high school and senior high school students lack relevant background knowledge as well as opportunities of learning by doing, the didactic unit combines sciences, technologies, engineering, and mathematics with programming, working out with related components and parts to devise an information technology-enabled solar power generation system.
The process of learning by doing can teach students how to combine theories with practice while making them more motivated and focused. As a result, autonomous learning by doing is stimulated among students for them to start from scratch and develop what they have in mind into realities. They are able to learn how to creatively use what is really affordable, readily available, and even recycled and reusable garbage together with proper tools and information technology capabilities to improve the environment around them. When a student independently completes a work, what is gained is not only relevant knowledge but also a sense of achievement resulting from self-fulfillment.
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