Based upon the Engineering Brightness Project

YouTube: and

Working in a ‘team’ of 2 to 4 students, use the design process to design an LED light system, chargeable with solar panels, intended for school aged children in developing countries


  • LED light
  • Must be able to be turned on and off
  • Must be charged by solar panels


  • Time
  • Size of the available solar panel
  • Voltage of the batteries
  • Following the ‘rules’ of Cradle2Cradle
  • To keep in mind, but might be down the road a bit….


This activity is what’s called “Project Based Learning” or PBL.  Students are given a problem/task to solve, criteria/constraints, deadlines, and that’s it.  Your grade will be based on what you get done in the time you have available.

To get an ‘A,’ your group will have 2 distinct categories of grades

imgEB-grading rubric


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Essential Questions

Solar Panel

  • Will it float?
  • How will it charge?
  • Can it charge more than one light at a time?
  • Will more than one solar panel make it brighter?
  • What is the best time of day for the solar panel to charge?
  • Are the solar panels water-proof?
  • Wires
    • How long should the wires be?
    • What kind of connector ends should the wire have?
    • How much resistance is in the wire?
  • How big does the solar panel have to be to charge the batteries quickly?
  • Where does the solar have to be put when it isn’t charging?
  • What size solar panel should be used?
  • Can we charge other devices with it?
  • How do you make the solar panel angle adjustable?
  • Should it have brightness settings?
  • Is the solar panel adjustable?
  • What direction should the solar panel be facing?
  • Should we make the solar panel part of the light?
  • How durable should it be?
  • Make sure you make it out of non-flammable material


  • Can the holder be removable?
  • Can the holder also hold the solar panel?
  • Can the holder be attached to the solar panel?
  • Can the light itself be held onto a backpack?
  • How do you limit the holder’s weight?
  • Can the holder be collapsable?
  • Could the holder be adjustable to different light shapes?
  • How big does the holder need to be?
  • Can it hang on the wall?
  • If it’s too heavy will it affect the charge?
  • Can it be portable?
  • Is it easy to replace?
  • Is it holdable by hand?
  • Is it durable?
  • What materials would you use to make it?
  • How much does the holder weigh?
  • Can it be multifunctional?

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