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Solar Cell Simulation

Source Institutions

    U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

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Solar Cell Simulation

In this activity, learners model the flow of energy from the sun as it enters a photovoltaic cell, moves along a wire and powers a load. The game-like atmosphere engages younger learners and helps them understand the continuous nature of the flow of energy. Note: to do this activity you need access to a large open area outside (e.g., a field or playground).

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$5 - $10 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 4 - 11

Resource Types:
Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan, Simulation


Materials List (per group of students)

  • open area (field or playground)
  • chalk or traffic tape to outline areas
  • bell
  • 40 ft string or rope, with 10 knots 2 feet apart (the rest is unknotted); knot the two ends of rope together in a large circle


  • Earth and Space Science
    • Solar System
      • The Sun
  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
      • Electrical Engineering
    • Technology
      • Energy and Power
  • Physical Sciences
    • Electricity and Magnetism
      • Electric Charges and Currents
      • Electric Circuits
    • Energy
      • Energy and Power
    • Light and Optics
      • Sunlight and Color

Informal Categories

  • Nature and Environment
  • Outdoor Activity
  • Physical Activity


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • be mobile
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills
  • Uses STEM to solve real-world problems
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Components that are part of this resource:

Includes alignment to state and/or national standards

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • Schleith, Susan; Hall, Penny


  • All Rights Reserved, Florida Solar Energy Center, ©2007


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