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Enhanced Geothermal Systems

U.S. Department of Energy

This animation illustrates how heat energy from deep in Earth can be utilized to generate electricity at a large scale.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

ngssSee how this Animation supports the Next Generation Science Standards»
Middle School: 2 Disciplinary Core Ideas
High School: 5 Performance Expectations, 9 Disciplinary Core Ideas

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 animation includes geothermal maps, publications, glossary, and a printable text version of animation.
  • Animation is useful as an introduction.
  • Animation could be used as an assessment - ask students what info is missing in this resource.

About the Science

  • Fundamental science and engineering concepts are alluded to broadly in the animation without details. Seismic imaging, for example, is mentioned but not explained. The vast heat energy available deep in Earth is a key point, but there is no explanation given about how that heat is generated. Some additional guidance from educator is necessary.
  • Passed initial science review - expert science review pending.

About the Pedagogy

  • There is a lot of jargon used related to geothermal energy. Supporting materials are offered from the glossary and text version of how enhanced geothermal systems work.
  • Maps and other multimedia also provided.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • An embedded animation explaining how geothermal energy resources are created starts immediately upon opening the page. The animation repeats continually, which can become distracting.

Next Generation Science Standards See how this Animation supports:

Middle School

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 2

MS-ESS3.A1:Humans depend on Earth’s land, ocean, atmosphere, and biosphere for many different resources. Minerals, fresh water, and biosphere resources are limited, and many are not renewable or replaceable over human lifetimes. These resources are distributed unevenly around the planet as a result of past geologic processes.

MS-ESS3.C2:Typically as human populations and per-capita consumption of natural resources increase, so do the negative impacts on Earth unless the activities and technologies involved are engineered otherwise.

High School

Performance Expectations: 5

HS-PS3-3: Design, build, and refine a device that works within given constraints to convert one form of energy into another form of energy

HS-PS3-4: Plan and conduct an investigation to provide evidence that the transfer of thermal energy when two components of different temperature are combined within a closed system results in a more uniform energy distribution among the components in the system (second law of thermodynamics)

HS-ESS3-2: Evaluate competing design solutions for developing, managing, and utilizing energy and mineral resources based on cost-benefit ratios.

HS-ETS1-2: Design a solution to a complex real-world problem by breaking it down into smaller, more manageable problems that can be solved through engineering.

HS-ETS1-3: Evaluate a solution to a complex real-world problem based on prioritized criteria and trade-offs that account for a range of constraints, including cost, safety, reliability, and aesthetics as well as possible social, cultural, and environmental impacts.

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 9

HS-PS3.A2:At the macroscopic scale, energy manifests itself in multiple ways, such as in motion, sound, light, and thermal energy.

HS-PS3.B1:Conservation of energy means that the total change of energy in any system is always equal to the total energy transferred into or out of the system.

HS-PS3.B2:Energy cannot be created or destroyed, but it can be transported from one place to another and transferred between systems

HS-PS3.B4:The availability of energy limits what can occur in any system.

HS-PS3.D1:Although energy cannot be destroyed, it can be converted to less useful forms—for example, to thermal energy in the surrounding environment.

HS-ESS3.A1:Resource availability has guided the development of human society.

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.


HS-ETS1.A2:Humanity faces major global challenges today, such as the need for supplies of clean water and food or for energy sources that minimize pollution, which can be addressed through engineering. These global challenges also may have manifestations in local communities

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