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Energy For You

ScienceNet Links AAAS

In this activity, students explore what types of energy resources exist in their state by examining a state map to identify the different energy sources in their state, including the state's renewable energy potential.

Activity takes three to five 45-minute class periods. Computer with Internet access required.

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Energy Literacy

Many different units are used to quantify energy.
Other materials addressing:
1.7 Units of energy.
Humans transfer and transform energy from the environment into forms useful for human endeavors.
Other materials addressing:
4.1 Humans transfer and transform energy.
Different sources of energy and the different ways energy can be transformed, transported and stored each have different benefits and drawbacks.
Other materials addressing:
4.7 Different sources of energy have different benefits and drawbacks.
Amount of energy used can be calculated and monitored.
Other materials addressing:
6.8 Calculating and monitoring energy use.

Excellence in Environmental Education Guidelines

2. Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems:2.1 The Earth as a Physical System:C) Energy
Other materials addressing:
C) Energy.
2. Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems:2.2 The Living Environment:D) Flow of matter and energy
Other materials addressing:
D) Flow of matter and energy.
2. Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems:2.4 Environment and Society:C) Resources
Other materials addressing:
C) Resources.

Notes From Our Reviewers The CLEAN collection is hand-picked and rigorously reviewed for scientific accuracy and classroom effectiveness. Read what our review team had to say about this resource below or learn more about how CLEAN reviews teaching materials
Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy | Technical Details

Teaching Tips

  • 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.

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