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Department of Energy and Climate Change, UK

This interactive addresses the question if we can reduce CO2 emissions by 20% of 1990 levels and help avoid dangerous climate change? Users of this interactive can manipulate changes to various sources and uses (supply and demand) of energy with the goal of reducing C02 emissions in Great Britain by 80% in the year 2050.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

ngssSee how this Simulation/Interactive supports the Next Generation Science Standards»
High School: 5 Performance Expectations, 13 Disciplinary Core Ideas, 6 Cross Cutting Concepts, 5 Science and Engineering Practices

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

  • Pair students to work through their efforts to meet the goal. Pairs can then share and compare their solutions, and discuss with whole class whether or not their solutions are realistic, given social, political and economic constraints.
  • Educator may want to discuss how evolving green energies may become even more efficient in the future. Educator may want to supplement this with material about evolving green energies and efficiency.
  • Reference background http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20121217150421/http://decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/tackling/2050/2050.aspx

About the Science

  • Resource focuses on the ways humans produce and consume energy, which impacts C02 levels in the atmosphere. Students experience how the United Kingdom is engaging the public in the choices and tradeoffs to make changes in the climate.
  • Text boxes provided for each source and use present the current status of each in the UK, as well as benefits and drawbacks of increasing or decreasing each. Underlying assumptions behind connecting changes in emissions to changes in supply/demand are not explicit.
  • Comments from expert scientist: The sliders allow for an understanding of the relative impact of each change in the supply and consumption of energy. Each energy production and consumption method is well explained in detail.

About the Pedagogy

  • Interactive may not be completely straightforward - instructor may want to spend some time playing with the interactive prior to use. Results can be modified. Feedback is provided on the net sum of changes to energy supply and demand so that consequences of choices made are evident.
  • Pop-up text provides guidance to use the tool. Reference below for additional.
  • Resource illustrates that if we are going to meet C02 emission reduction goals, we need to take multiple strategies and approaches ("we can't rely on one thing"). The fact that this is frustrating is helpful for learning ("it isn't an easy problem to solve").

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Quality is good and interactive easy to use.
  • Very cool, game-like simulator that students are sure to engage with and remember. Great visuals and graphics.

Next Generation Science Standards See how this Simulation/Interactive supports:

High School

Performance Expectations: 5

HS-PS4-5: Communicate technical information about how some technological devices use the principles of wave behavior and wave interactions with matter to transmit and capture information and energy

HS-ESS3-1: Construct an explanation based on evidence for how the availability of natural resources, occurrence of natural hazards, and changes in climate have influenced human activity.

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

HS-ESS3-3: Create a computational simulation to illustrate the relationships among management of natural resources, the sustainability of human populations, and biodiversity.

HS-ESS3-4: Evaluate or refine a technological solution that reduces impacts of human activities on natural systems.

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 13

HS-PS3.A1:Energy is a quantitative property of a system that depends on the motion and interactions of matter and radiation within that system. That there is a single quantity called energy is due to the fact that a system’s total energy is conserved, even as, within the system, energy is continually transferred from one object to another and between its various possible forms.

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

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-PS3.D3:Solar cells are human-made devices that likewise capture the sun’s energy and produce electrical energy.

HS-PS4.B3:Photoelectric materials emit electrons when they absorb light of a high-enough frequency

HS-ESS3.D1:Though the magnitudes of human impacts are greater than they have ever been, so too are human abilities to model, predict, and manage current and future impacts.

HS-ESS3.D2:Through computer simulations and other studies, important discoveries are still being made about how the ocean, the atmosphere, and the biosphere interact and are modified in response to human activities.

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

HS-ETS1.B1:When evaluating solutions, it is important to take into account a range of constraints, including cost, safety, reliability, and aesthetics, and to consider social, cultural, and environmental impacts.

HS-ETS1.B2:Both physical models and computers can be used in various ways to aid in the engineering design process. Computers are useful for a variety of purposes, such as running simulations to test different ways of solving a problem or to see which one is most efficient or economical; and in making a persuasive presentation to a client about how a given design will meet his or her needs.

HS-ETS1.C1:Criteria may need to be broken down into simpler ones that can be approached systematically, and decisions about the priority of certain criteria over others (trade-offs) may be needed

Cross Cutting Concepts: 6

Systems and System Models, Stability and Change

HS-C4.1:Systems can be designed to do specific tasks.

HS-C4.2:When investigating or describing a system, the boundaries and initial conditions of the system need to be defined and their inputs and outputs analyzed and described using models.

HS-C4.3:Models (e.g., physical, mathematical, computer models) can be used to simulate systems and interactions—including energy, matter, and information flows—within and between systems at different scales.

HS-C4.4:Models can be used to predict the behavior of a system, but these predictions have limited precision and reliability due to the assumptions and approximations inherent in models.

HS-C7.2:Change and rates of change can be quantified and modeled over very short or very long periods of time. Some system changes are irreversible.

HS-C7.3:Feedback (negative or positive) can stabilize or destabilize a system.

Science and Engineering Practices: 5

Developing and Using Models, Planning and Carrying Out Investigations, Analyzing and Interpreting Data

HS-P2.3:Develop, revise, and/or use a model based on evidence to illustrate and/or predict the relationships between systems or between components of a system

HS-P2.5:Develop a complex model that allows for manipulation and testing of a proposed process or system.

HS-P2.6:Develop and/or use a model (including mathematical and computational) to generate data to support explanations, predict phenomena, analyze systems, and/or solve problems.

HS-P3.1:Plan an investigation or test a design individually and collaboratively to produce data to serve as the basis for evidence as part of building and revising models, supporting explanations for phenomena, or testing solutions to problems. Consider possible confounding variables or effects and evaluate the investigation’s design to ensure variables are controlled.

HS-P4.6: Analyze data to identify design features or characteristics of the components of a proposed process or system to optimize it relative to criteria for success.

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