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Solar Houses

1 Hour
Book Program
Year Levels


Most of the electricity in Victoria comes from burning brown coal. Coal is a fossil fuel. Coal produces vast quantities of carbon dioxide which is contributing to the enhanced greenhouse effect and climate change. The answer lies in finding renewable sources of energy to provide us with clean electricity. One such source is solar power.

Prior Knowledge

No prior knowledge necessary.

This can be a pre-visit, post-visit or a stand-alone activity.

Key Learning Question

How can we best capture energy from the sun?

Learning Intentions

In this program students will:

  • Distinguish between renewable and non-renewable sources of energy
  • Investigate how solar panels generate electricity
  • Investigate variables in the production of energy from solar power


Students will:

  • Discuss the definition of fossil fuels and what renewable energy means
  • Build a model solar house
  • Test the house with varying light intensities, distances from the light source, direction of the light source and the impact of shading

Victorian Curriculum

Science – Science as a human endeavour

  • Scientific understandings, discoveries and inventions are used to inform personal and community decisions and to solve problems that directly affect people’s lives (VCSSU073)

Science – Physical sciences

  • Energy from a variety of sources can be used to generate electricity; electric circuits enable this energy to be transferred to another place and then to be transformed into another form of energy (VCSSU081)

Learning Continuum

The following Learning Continuum is a guide for teachers to show the links between the programs Ecolinc offers onsite, online and through outreach. The Learning Continuum can be used to access Ecolinc resources to support the development of units of work.

Ecolinc Learn Online is an online learning management system offering interactive online courses for students and teachers. These courses can be undertaken either as a pre-visit, post-visit or stand-alone.

Outreach programs are conducted by an Ecolinc education officer at your school. They are available to moderately disadvantaged primary schools in the Geelong, Ballarat and western suburbs areas (or within 100km radius from Bacchus Marsh).

Learn Online Pre-program:

☞ Scientific Method


☞ Saving Energy


☞ Solar Houses