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Selecting Sites for Renewable Energy Projects
http://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/teaching_methods/google_earth/examples/renewable_energy.html

Glenn A. Richard, Mineral Physics Institute - Stony Brook University, On the Cutting Edge Collection, Science Education Resource Center (SERC)

In this activity, students use Google Earth to investigate a variety of renewable energy sources and select sites within the United States that would be appropriate for projects based on those sources.

Activity takes about two 40-min class sessions.

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Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

A combination of strategies is needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The most immediate strategy is conservation of oil, gas, and coal, which we rely on as fuels for most of our transportation, heating, cooling, agriculture, and electricity. Short-term strategies involve switching from carbon-intensive to renewable energy sources, which also requires building new infrastructure for alternative energy sources. Long-term strategies involve innovative research and a fundamental change in the way humans use energy.
About Teaching the Guiding Principle
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ans can take actions to reduce climate change and its impacts.
About Teaching Principle H
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Energy Literacy

Humans transfer and transform energy from the environment into forms useful for human endeavors.
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4.1 Humans transfer and transform energy.
Human use of energy is subject to limits and constraints.
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4.2 Human use of energy is subject to limits and constraints.
Different sources of energy and the different ways energy can be transformed, transported and stored each have different benefits and drawbacks.
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4.7 Different sources of energy have different benefits and drawbacks.
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Various sources of energy are used to power human activities .
Amount of energy used can be calculated and monitored.
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6.8 Calculating and monitoring energy use.
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Human use of energy.

Excellence in Environmental Education Guidelines

1. Questioning, Analysis and Interpretation Skills:C) Collecting information
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C) Collecting information.
1. Questioning, Analysis and Interpretation Skills:E) Organizing information
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E) Organizing information.
2. Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems:2.4 Environment and Society:C) Resources
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C) Resources.
2. Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems:2.4 Environment and Society:D) Technology
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D) Technology.

Benchmarks for Science Literacy
Learn more about the Benchmarks

Energy from the sun (and the wind and water energy derived from it) is available indefinitely. Because the transfer of energy from these resources is weak and variable, systems are needed to collect and concentrate the energy.
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Industry, transportation, urban development, agriculture, and most other human activities are closely tied to the amount and kind of energy available. People in different parts of the world have different amounts and kinds of energy resources to use and use them for different purposes.
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When selecting fuels, it is important to consider the relative advantages and disadvantages of each fuel.
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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

  • The activity needs to be conducted where all students can work at computer stations individually or in pairs. The laboratory also needs to be equipped with an instructor station connected to a projector so that the students can observe what the instructor is doing during the activity.
  • The instructor should have enough prior knowledge of Google Earth to be able to troubleshoot common problems related to errors that students may make.
  • The students should know how to use the 'Fly To' tab in the Search pane, how to zoom in and out, and how to pan the view. They also need to know how to create folders, overlays, and placemarks in Google Earth.
  • During the activity, it is important to have available people who can assist students who have problems while using the computer stations. Assistants need to have good prior knowledge about the subject matter and about the techniques of using Google Earth.
  • The students may learn more effectively if the instructor conducts periodic class discussions about the questions during the activity, even though it may make the assessment process less rigorous if the handouts are to be returned to the instructor for grading.

About the Science

  • The sources investigated include solar energy, bio-energy, hydroelectricity, tidal power, wind energy, wave energy, geothermal, osmotic, and ocean and lake thermal energy.

About the Pedagogy

  • Very thorough teachers' guide provided.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • The students must have access to accounts that enable them to visit off-campus web sites.
  • The operating system should be configured to recognize kmz files, so that the browser offers to open them in Google Earth.

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