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Classroom and Lab Activities for Teaching about Energy

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Back of the Envelope Calculations: Renewable Energy part of Integrate:Workshops:Systems, Society, Sustainability and the Geosciences:Activities
This is an example of a back of the envelope calculation of the payback period for a renewable energy installation.

Modeling the carbon cycle of the anthropocene part of Quantitative Skills:Activity Collection
Students use an Excel sheet to complete forward and inverse models of changes in carbon distribution between atmosphere, ocean and the biosphere from 1751 to the present and several centuries into the future. The model is given as a mostly complete package, into which students input emissions data in various sensitivity tests.

Replacing Household Appliances: Refrigerator part of SISL:2012 Sustainability in Math Workshop:Activities
In this problem, students compare the energy use of their existing refrigerator with a new refrigerator.

How much energy do you save by doubling insulation? part of SISL:2012 Sustainability in Math Workshop:Activities
Students will be provided the governing equation for steady state heat transfer across a surface. They will use that equation to explore the effect of changing the insulation value on the amount of energy used.

Solar panel statistical tests part of SISL:2012 Sustainability in Math Workshop:Activities
In this activity, students will determine whether there is a statistically significant difference in the number of watts of power produced on individual solar panels at Bryn Mawr College.

Modeling: (1) Revenue Neutral Carbon Taxes; (2) Accelerated atmospheric C02 concentrations part of SISL:2012 Sustainability in Math Workshop:Activities
Design a revenue neutral carbon tax and a plan for implementation; together with a model for what happens if we do not institute such a tax-system.

Cost Effectiveness of Increased Fuel Efficiency part of Pedagogy in Action:Library:Teaching Quantitative Reasoning with the News:Examples
In this example students examine and critique an argument which implies that it is not cost effective to pay for an automobile with increased fuel efficiency. Using a few reasonable assumptions shows that some of ...

Communications Booster: The Great "LOCAL AND RENEWABLE" Energy Debate: Adapting Lessons for Place-based Politics and Student-centered Learning part of CLEAN:CLEAN Network:Teaching Materials
Dan Steinberg, Princeton UniversitySerena Poli, Eastern Michigan UniversityNicole Colston, Oklahoma State University This page builds on the CLEAN reviewed activities Evaluating the Effects of Local Energy ...

Calibrate Peer ReviewTM: Petroleum Geology of the Persian Gulf Region part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Peer Review:Examples
Students explore the origin and distribution of oil and gas in a region of global significance, the Middle East, including the geologic history and the socio-political and environmental issues associated with ...

Energy Policy part of Cutting Edge:Public Policy:Activities
Students research and make recommendations regarding the petroleum energy policy of the U.S. with respect to other countries.

Observing different scenarios of climate change using climate challenge web game part of SISL:Activities
Use the web game Climate Challenge by the British Broadcasting Corporation to observe how decision by government can contribute to climate change. By seeing the consequence of government inaction in an interactive web experience, students will be more engaged citizens and voters. To show students that we live in a world with finite resources.

Energy Resources: Considering the Sustainability of Past, Present, and Future Resource Consumption part of Curriculum for the Bioregion:Activities
Students consider the vast amount of past and present energy resources in the world, their distribution, as well as the sustainability of their use. It introduces the idea of resource consumption and distribution to high school students.

Renewable - But Is It Sustainable? part of Curriculum for the Bioregion:Activities
Production of biofuels as an alternative energy source is not as simple as the media portray. This exercise enables students to practice critical thinking skills in evaluating the "value" of biofuels - a somewhat ambiguous concept.

How Clean is Nuclear Energy? An Evaluation of the Environmental Impacts of Nuclear Power as an Alternative Energy Source part of Curriculum for the Bioregion:Activities
This writing assignment is in lieu of a laboratory activity during the discussion of nuclear chemistry within the general chemistry curriculum.

Your Environmental Impact part of Curriculum for the Bioregion:Activities
The following homework assignments are designed to build understanding of personal water use, sewage, waste generation and disposal, pollution sources and impacts, and energy use and costs.

Sustainability and Changing Rates of Change part of Curriculum for the Bioregion:Activities
To understand sustainability, students must understand rates of change. This activity includes a primer on basic rates concepts and an exercise that motivates critical thinking about rates of change and sustainability with an analysis of historical petroleum production rates data from the United States and the world.

Choosing Between Home Appliances: Benefits to the Planet and Your Wallet part of SISL:2012 Sustainability in Math Workshop:Activities
Students research various options for new appliances and make purchasing decisions based not merely on purchase price, but also on energy efficiency, which has implications for the planet AND for longer-term personal finances. Students calculate the "payback period" for the more energy efficient appliance and calculate long-term savings.

Energy Cost of Engine Idling part of SISL:2012 Sustainability in Math Workshop:Activities
This is an open-ended but elementary modeling exercise about idling energy behaviors and impacts.

How Much Oil Leaked from Deepwater Horizon? part of Integrate:Workshops:Systems, Society, Sustainability and the Geosciences:Activities
Students develop an estimate of the total quantity of petroleum discharged from the Deepwater Horizon from 20 April to 15 July 2010 using only two known facts, the diameter of the riser and the flow rate of the oil/gas mixture emanating from the riser.

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