ScienceNet Links AAAS
Activity takes three to five 45-minute class periods. Computer with Internet access required.Discuss this Resource»
Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»
1.7 Units of energy.
4.1 Humans transfer and transform energy.
4.7 Different sources of energy have different benefits and drawbacks.
6.8 Calculating and monitoring energy use.
Excellence in Environmental Education Guidelines
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D) Flow of matter and energy.
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Benchmarks for Science Literacy
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Notes From Our Reviewers
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Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy |
- Pre-teach renewable and non-renewable energy resource content.
- The worksheet provided in the development section makes a reference to data from the year 2004; however, the data have been updated since then (2009) so the teacher should edit this question.
- Some of the questions on the e-sheets may require vocabulary assistance (i.e. sector BTU).
- Teachers should reinforce the concept that energy is measurable and quantifiable.
About the Science
- Students investigate renewable and non-renewable energy sources in their states and in different regions of the country through the State Energy Profiles on the Energy Information Administration (EIA) website.
- These sources include ten major sources of energy—solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, hydro, petroleum, natural gas, coal, and nuclear.
- The activity utilizes authentic and current data; map data is from 2009.
- Context section discusses many misconceptions students have about energy.
- Links are provided to resources that could be used to teach prerequisite science knowledge.
- Comments from expert scientist: The most interesting part of this lesson is its use of the US Energy Information Administration as part of its lesson activity. There is a wealth of information there that could be very interesting to students and can easily be localized for relevance. The main point in the initial lesson is the categorization of energy sources into renewable, non-renewable, and secondary.
About the Pedagogy
- This teacher guide provides sections on motivation, development, and assessment.
- The EIA State Energy Profiles provide maps, updates, quick facts and data for each state.
- Links to extension activities are provided.
- Well-constructed worksheets for students to record their learning.
- Some students may need additional guidance to pull out key information about their state.
Technical Details/Ease of Use
- During the "development" activity, students may need teacher assistance in "decoding" the map of their state and what all the symbols mean; there is a great deal of information provided all at once, which could be overwhelming for some students.
- All of the material is available in printable form.
- This activity has a clearly written lesson plan/teacher's guide.
- Map symbols are color coded and may be difficult to interpret for those who are color blind.
Disciplinary Core Ideas
HS-ESS3.A2: All forms of energy production and other resource extraction have associated economic, social, environmental, and geopolitical costs and risks as well as benefits. New technologies and social regulations can change the balance of these factors.
Science and Engineering Practices
MS-P3.2: Conduct an investigation and/or evaluate and/or revise the experimental design to produce data to serve as the basis for evidence that meet the goals of the investigation
MS-P4.2: Use graphical displays (e.g., maps, charts, graphs, and/or tables) of large data sets to identify temporal and spatial relationships.
MS-P6.4: Apply scientific ideas, principles, and/or evidence to construct, revise and/or use an explanation for real- world phenomena, examples, or events.
MS-P7.4: Make an oral or written argument that supports or refutes the advertised performance of a device, process, or system based on empirical evidence concerning whether or not the technology meets relevant criteria and constraints.
MS-P8.3: Gather, read, and synthesize information from multiple appropriate sources and assess the credibility, accuracy, and possible bias of each publication and methods used, and describe how they are supported or not supported by evidence.
MS-P1.4: Ask questions to clarify and/or refine a model, an explanation, or an engineering problem.
MS-P1.6: Ask questions that can be investigated within the scope of the classroom, outdoor environment, and museums and other public facilities with available resources and, when appropriate, frame a hypothesis based on observations and scientific principles.
HS-P1.4: ask questions to clarify and refine a model, an explanation, or an engineering problem
HS-P1.6: Ask questions that can be investigated within the scope of the school laboratory, research facilities, or field (e.g., outdoor environment) with available resources and, when appropriate, frame a hypothesis based on a model or theory.
HS-P6.5: Design, evaluate, and/or refine a solution to a complex real-world problem, based on scientific knowledge, student-generated sources of evidence, prioritized criteria, and tradeoff considerations.
HS-P7.5: Make and defend a claim based on evidence about the natural world or the effectiveness of a design solution that reflects scientific knowledge and student-generated evidence.
HS-P8.3: Gather, read, and evaluate scientific and/or technical information from multiple authoritative sources, assessing the evidence and usefulness of each source.
MS-C5.2: Within a natural or designed system, the transfer of energy drives the motion and/or cycling of matter.
MS-C5.3: Energy may take different forms (e.g. energy in fields, thermal energy, energy of motion).
MS-C5.4: The transfer of energy can be tracked as energy flows through a designed or natural system.
HS-C1.3: Patterns of performance of designed systems can be analyzed and interpreted to reengineer and improve the system.
HS-C5.3: Energy cannot be created or destroyed—only moves between one place and another place, between objects and/or fields, or between systems.
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