Last updated: July 27, 2020

Math Skill: Addition & subtraction (Decimal numbers)

Science Subject: Our Energy Resources

Grade level: 3rd4th5th grades

Area level: Global-scale

Environmental Area: Energy

Purpose: Understand solar power capacity in the United States and develop awareness of renewable energy

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The United States hasthe world’s second largest generation capacity from solar PV (photovoltaic) systems at 81,000 megawatts, only after China in 2020 (Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), 2020). It is big enough to power 15.7 million homes. The solar power capacity has increased significantly since 2010 (Figure 1). The U.S. solar market has kept growing, and solar power makes up the largest portion–40% of 2020 new electric generating capacity (SEIA, 2020).

Among states, California has the largest solar market at 27,897 megawatts, which accounts for 34.4% of the national market (SEIA, 2020). California mandates all new low-rise residential buildings to have a PV system beginning in 2020. It is estimated that the implementation of the rule invites 800MW additions of residential PV systems in California during  2020 and 23 (SEIA, 2018).

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Cumulative solar PV capacity in the United States
(Source: SEIA, 2020)

1) Energy in Indiana 2) Our energy sources 3) Who supplies energy to Evansville?


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The purpose of this activity is to enhance students’ skills in interpreting circle graphs and decimal numbers, including rounding and addition and subtraction (PROBLEMS B to C). PROBLEM A provides questions to strengthen students’ skills in interpreting circle graphs. Through this activity, students will learn how the United States became one of the largest solar power generating countries in the world. Data was obtained from “Renewables Global Status Report 2020” prepared by the REN21 and the Solar Energy Industries Association.

worksheet & answer key

Math Skill: Addition & subtraction (Decimal numbers)

Using the numbers of how much solar PV capacity was added between 2010 and2019, students are asked to add and subtract decimal numbers.



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