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A guide to the energy of the Earth

Joshua M. Sneideman, TED-ED

This animated video outlines Earth's energy. The video presents a progression from identifying the different energy systems to the differences between external and internal energy sources and how that energy is cycled and used.

Video length is 4:43 min.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

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

  • Recommend viewing this video several times as it covers content in under five minutes. There is a progression from identifying the different energy systems to the difference between external and internal energy sources and how that energy is cycled and used.
  • Students may have to have some prior knowledge of energy before watching this video as many terms are mentioned in passing (such as Earth's systems, geothermal and rotational energy, combustion and respiration, primary and secondary consumers, etc).

About the Content

  • Provides a basic overview of energy from global energy sources to end-user consumption.
  • Provides overview of how energy is cycled through Earth systems (atmosphere, hydrosphere, lithosphere and biosphere).
  • Animations throughout the video provide a good foundation for understanding the underlying science.
  • Comments from expert scientist:
    Scientific strengths: The video broke down a very complex topic -- energy flow chains on earth -- into a short, digestible video that could be understood, for the most part, by someone without a science background. The animations coupled nicely with the narration to help visually explain the concepts being discussed (e.g. the picture of the lithosphere explained what it is, without the narrator having to).
    - Some terminology could be defined and explained better. (6 Joules of energy is pretty arbitrary, for example, and may confuse some people.)
    - Similarly, not everyone knows what convection is, and in this case the animation did not explain it well at all.
    - Greenhouse gases "trapping" longwave radiation isn't quite right, but is perhaps the best, simple metaphor for what they do.
    - Suggest clarifying the bit regarding the efficiency of primary vs. secondary consumers. The video makes it sound as though animals should just all eat plants to be more efficient; in reality, certain animals are specifically herbivores or carnivores; their bodies lack the ability to process certain foods.

About the Pedagogy

  • Video does a nice job of tying science to societal impacts.
  • Resource includes watch, think, dig deeper, and discuss supplementary online links that accompany the video to support additional resources for user to explore.
  • Provides 10 multiple choice and short-answer questions in the THINK menu for further discussion and a review of the main points of the video.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

Entered the Collection: May 2018 Last Reviewed: May 2015

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