Initial Publication Date: September 1, 2017
This page is an example of an NGSS-aligned unit using CLEAN resources. The downloadable unit is ready for classroom use.

Debating the Grid Unit

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The electrical grid is the biggest machine on Earth. While it is an amazing feat, it needs an upgrade and there are many factors to consider. Money and politics play a role, but so do conservation, technology, and diversification. In this activity, students research electricity, its sources, how energy grids function, how to make grids most efficient, and how to bring different types of energy generation together to diversify grids. Students debate the costs and benefits of moving to a modernized "Smart Grid."

Download the Debating the Grid Unit (Acrobat (PDF) 418kB Dec9 21)

Context for Use

Grade Level: High School

Class: AP Environmental/Earth Science

Instructional Time: 2-week (10-day) unit

Instructional Strategy: Argument-Driven Inquiry

Learning Objectives

Students complete activities to learn about electricity generation, conservation, and innovation. Then, they research how a smart grid might work and debate the following:

  • Do we need a "Smart Grid"?
  • Should the grid continue to be centralized or does it make more sense to have a local and distributed system?
  • How should renewable resources be integrated?
  • How should governments from the federal to the local level be involved?

CLEAN Resources Used in this Unit

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