Cutting Edge > Manage Your Career > Early Career > Previous Workshops > Workshop 2011 > Program > Teaching Activities > Secretary of Energy

Secretary of Energy

Samantha Hansen
University of Alabama

This activity was selected for the On the Cutting Edge Reviewed Teaching Collection

This activity has received positive reviews in a peer review process involving five review categories. The five categories included in the process are

  • Scientific Accuracy
  • Alignment of Learning Goals, Activities, and Assessments
  • Pedagogic Effectiveness
  • Robustness (usability and dependability of all components)
  • Completeness of the ActivitySheet web page

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This page first made public: Jul 11, 2011


This activity was used in my GEO 101: The Dynamic Earth course to engage the students and get them thinking about different energy resources. It asks them to consider our country's energy needs in the future and how these needs will be met.

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This activity was used in an introductory geology course for undergraduate non-majors. The class is a large-lecture format (100+ students).

Skills and concepts that students must have mastered

Students must be familiar with the different energy resources available (such as fossil fuels, solar, nuclear, wind, and hydrothermal) and must be familiar with the pros and cons of each option.

How the activity is situated in the course

This is intended as a stand-alone exercise to encourage student interaction and assessment of course concepts.


Content/concepts goals for this activity

The activity is focused on energy resources.

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

The students must critically evaluate the different energy resource options and formulate which would be the best for our country's future use.

Other skills goals for this activity

The students must work in groups to complete this activity.

Description of the activity/assignment

To prepare for this activity, the students must be familiar with different energy resources. This material is learned both by attending the course lectures and reading the associated textbook. Then, working in groups, the students will develop their plan to direct the future energy use and development in our country. Their task is to write a summary plan of which energy resource options would be best to invest in and why.

Determining whether students have met the goals

The activity will be evaluated to see if the students not only made suggestions about which energy resources they think are our country's best options but also to support their ideas with facts about the resources they endorse.

More information about assessment tools and techniques.

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Other Materials

Supporting references/URLs

Marshak, S. Essentials of Geology, 2nd edition, W.W. Norton & Company, New York, 2007. Chapter 12.

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