Easy Experiments with Solar Cells and Penlite Batteries

Solar cells and penlite batteries are easily accessible. TI-Innovator Hub converts a graphing calculator to a programmable measuring tool.

Publisher: T³ Europe

Editor: Ian Galloway

Author: Cathy Baars

Topic:  Physics  Computer Science

Tags  Sharing Inspiration 2021 ,  Energy

Solar cells can be bought in many shops for a few euros. Therefore, they are easily accessible in the classroom. This makes it easy for schools to do experiments with solar energy. With the aid of the TI-Innovator Hub the calculator can be converted to a measuring tool. This gives the opportunity to combine measurements with programming with real life materials. Starting with a simple program for measuring voltage till more sophisticated programs that measure and draw graphs.
During this presentation a number of experiments are shown in combination with the programming needed for the experiments. Questions that are addressed in this presentation are:

  • What is the voltage and current delivered by the solar cell?
  • Is the voltage and/or the current dependent on the brightness of the sun? And what is the relationship?
  • What happens with voltage and current when you connect solar cells serial or parallel?
  • Is the power of a solar cell changing when different resistors are connected?
  • What is the maximum power the solar cell can deliver? Is this dependent on the resistance connected to it?
  • How much solar cells are needed for charging your phone, laptop or electric bike?

The questions are meant to arouse curiosity and to show that experiments to find the answers to these questions are within everyone's reach.
These experiments will be used in the classroom with students from 15-17 years old as addition for the normally used method about electricity.

Presentation shown at Sharing Inspiration - Energy: The Elephant in the Room

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