Location: Antarctic
Scientist: Jason Williams, Industrial Chemist

Lesson Summary

Students meet scientist Jason Williams, an industrial chemist who designs the materials and processes for making solar cells. He explains that during the summers, Antarctic days are very long making solar energy an abundant natural resource. Solar cells convert energy from the sun into electrical energy. Converting energy from one form to another is an important process. In the activity, students conduct two chemical reactions that convert chemical energy into thermal energy. As their chemistry challenge, students adjust the amount of reactants to try to reach a target temperature.

Key Concepts

  • A change in temperature is a clue that a chemical reaction may have occurred.
  • When the temperature increases during a chemical reaction, it is called an exothermic reaction.
  • When the temperature decreases during a chemical reaction, it is called an endothermic reaction.
  • It takes energy to break chemical bonds in the reactants.
  • Energy is released when chemical bonds form in the products.

Materials for Lesson 4

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