Build a Passive Solar Home

Grades 9-12
Subjects: Science

*French Resources Included as Attachments


In this activity, students will assemble, locate, and landscape a model of a passive solar home.

Every home collects solar energy. Sunlight falls on the house, some passing through windows and skylights where it is absorbed by roof and walls. Sunlight can help to heat a house in cold weather, but it can overheat the house in warm weather.

In Building a Passive Solar Home students design a home to take advantage of its natural surroundings and to manage or lessen the disadvantages of its environment.  In this largely student-paced activity, students “build” a passive solar home using paper, markers, tape, and pipe cleaners.

NB Curricular Connections

Science 10

  • Strand: Learning and Living Sustainably – Big Idea: Relationships Between Science and Technology- Skill Descriptor: Apply scientific and technological knowledge and understanding of sustainable practices.

What You’ll Need

  • Design worksheets
  • Scissors, tape, pipe cleaners, straight edge
  • Protractor
  • Light source (flashlight or lamp)
  • Crayons or markers
  • Teacher approved digital device for internet research


  1. Download the Instructors Guide.
  2. Download the paper design templates, student instructions and response guide.  Make copies of each (one per group).
  3. Cut out and assemble the house templates (conventional and lean-to) and place on the worksheet B from the design template handout.  Place the trees and add driveways and fencing.  Determine the best direction to face your home.
  4. Consider the location of the summer sun and the winter sun  Are the trees providing shade in the right place at the right time?
  5. Take pictures of your designs and answer the questions on the student response sheet.

Extension Ideas

  • This activity can also be used to meet curricular goals in Science 6-8 or Technology 6-8 with some adaptations.
  • Consider pairing this with the Speaker Series webinar about the Shediac Smart Energy Project, which utilizes Solar energy.

Global Competencies


Activity downloaded from Renewable Energy Lesson Plans & Teaching Materials (


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