Student teams design and build solar water heating devices that mimic those used in residences to capture energy in the form of solar radiation and convert it to thermal energy. In this activity, students gain a better understanding of the three different types of heat transfer, each of which plays a role in the solar water heater design. Once the model devices are constructed, students perform efficiency calculations and compare designs.

Students investigate passive solar building design with a focus on heating. Insulation, window placement, thermal mass, surface colors, and site orientation are addressed in the background materials and design preparation. Students test their projects for thermal gains and losses during a simulated day and night then compare designs with other teams for suggestions for improvements.

In this activity students make biodiesel from waste vegetable oil and develop a presentation based on their lab experience. Parts of the activity include creation of bio-diesel from clean vegetable oil, creation of bio-diesel from waste vegetable oil, chemical analysis of biodiesel, purification of biodiesel, and creation of soap from glycerin.