Modeling the Process of Mining Silicon Through a Single Displacement / Redox Reaction

The heart of this activity is a laboratory investigation that models the production of silicon. Students learn about silicon and its sources, uses, properties, importance in the fields of photovoltaics (solar cells/renewable energy) and integrated circuits industries, and, to a limited extent, environmental impact of silicon production.

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Andrea Vermeer
Alexis Durow
National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL)

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Teaching Tips

Teaching Tips

Teachers will need to scaffold the lesson to successfully integrate learning about renewable energy with learning the chemistry content of the laboratory activity.

Some of the links provided in the activity are broken, but they are not critical in completing the activity and substitutions could be easily found (e.g. background of the Silicon Valley).

Teachers will need to provide focused instruction to relate activity back to solar cells and renewable energy.

Literacy and Resources