Solar Panels

How much greenhouse gas emissions can they offset?

Ontario Grade Levels:
Common Core Grade Levels:

Shared By:
Kyle Pearce

Math Topic:
Proportional reasoning, proportions, direct variation linear relations

Ontario Curriculum Alignment:

Common Core State Standard Alignment:

Solar Panels 3 Act Math Task Resources

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Proportional Reasoning With Green Energy

Panel Problem 3 Act Math Task - Proportional Relationships Featured

This is a 3 Act Math Task that focuses on “Green Energy” proportional reasoning questions related to solar panels in order to address proportions both visually using area models and proportions written as equivalent fractions. Special thanks goes to Dave Raney from CPE Inc. for allowing us to use his video and photos as well as Kathleen Quenneville, Energy & Environmental Officer at GECDSB for her feedback to create problems around solar energy.

Act 1: Introduce the Task

Show students the act 1 video.

Then ask students to do a rapid write of what they notice and what they wonder.

Panel Problem 3 Act Math Task - Proportional Relationships Notice Wonder

Students will then share out their noticings and wonderings while I jot their ideas down on the whiteboard.

While we may explore some other wonderings, the first question I intend to address is:

How many solar panels are there?

I’ll flash this image on the screen and then ask students to make a prediction.

Panel Problem 3 Act Math Task - Proportional Relationships Prediction

I’ll give students some time to think independently, then chat with a neighbour to discuss their predictions while encouraging them to share their thinking. Then, we share out to the whole group and jot down predictions.

When students have shared out their predictions, we will show students the blue prints for the solar panel system with the total number of modules (582).

Solar Panels 3 Act Math Task - Proportional Reasoning Blue Prints

Panel Problem 3 Act Math Task - Proportional Relationships Blue Prints 582

Now that students have invested some thinking into this context, we are going to extend our thinking to this question which may or may not have come up in the notice/wonder rapid write:

How much greenhouse gas emissions can the solar panels offset?

Panel Problem 3 Act Math Task - How much greenhouse gas can they offset

Act 2: Reveal Some Information

Show students this image showing the carbon dioxide from 4,848 km of driving a passenger car that is offset for every 5 solar panels that are in service on the roof of the school.

Solar Panels 3 Act Math Task - Act 2 Image

Act 3: Reveal the Solution

Show students the act 3 animated solution video showing three different representations for solving this problem.

Double Number Line

Panel Problem - Solution Double Number Line

Double Area Model

Panel Problem Act 3 Solution - Double Area Model

Proportion of Two Equivalent Fractions

Panel Problem Act 3 Solution - Proportion


Consider asking students the following extension question:

How many homes can all 582 solar panel modules power?

Panel Problem 3 Act Math Extension

Show students this image that states 4 solar panels provide 1,576 kWh of power per year and the average home consumes 9,000 kWh of power each year.

Panel Problem Extension - How Many Homes Can They Power

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