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Energy For You

ScienceNet Links AAAS

In this activity, students explore what types of energy resources exist in their state by examining a state map and data from the Energy Information Administration. Students identify the different energy sources in their state, including the state's renewable energy potential.

Activity takes three to five 45-minute class periods. Computer with internet access required.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

ngssSee how this Activity supports the Next Generation Science Standards»
Middle School: 3 Cross Cutting Concepts, 7 Science and Engineering Practices
High School: 1 Disciplinary Core Idea, 2 Cross Cutting Concepts, 5 Science and Engineering Practices

Energy Literacy

Many different units are used to quantify energy.
Other materials addressing:
1.7 Units of energy.
Humans transfer and transform energy from the environment into forms useful for human endeavors.
Other materials addressing:
4.1 Humans transfer and transform energy.
Different sources of energy and the different ways energy can be transformed, transported and stored each have different benefits and drawbacks.
Other materials addressing:
4.7 Different sources of energy have different benefits and drawbacks.
Amount of energy used can be calculated and monitored.
Other materials addressing:
6.8 Calculating and monitoring energy use.

Excellence in Environmental Education Guidelines

2. Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems:2.1 The Earth as a Physical System:C) Energy
Other materials addressing:
C) Energy.
2. Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems:2.2 The Living Environment:D) Flow of matter and energy
Other materials addressing:
D) Flow of matter and energy.
2. Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems:2.4 Environment and Society:C) Resources
Other materials addressing:
C) Resources.

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

  • Pre-teach renewable and non-renewable energy resource content.
  • The worksheet provided in the development section makes a reference to data from the year 2004; however, the data have been updated since then so the teacher should edit this question.
  • Some of the questions on the e-sheets may require vocabulary assistance (i.e. sector BTU).
  • Teachers should reinforce the concept that energy is measurable and quantifiable.

About the Science

  • Students investigate renewable and non-renewable energy sources in their states and in different regions of the country through the State Energy Profiles on the Energy Information Administration (EIA) website.
  • These sources include ten major sources of energy—solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, hydro, petroleum, natural gas, coal, and nuclear.
  • The activity utilizes authentic data. Map data is updated periodically, as state energy profiles are changing.
  • Context section discusses many misconceptions students have about energy.
  • Links are provided to resources that could be used to teach prerequisite science knowledge.
  • Comments from expert scientist: The most interesting part of this lesson is its use of the US Energy Information Administration as part of its lesson activity. There is a wealth of information there that could be very interesting to students and can easily be localized for relevance. The main point in the initial lesson is the categorization of energy sources into renewable, non-renewable, and secondary.

About the Pedagogy

  • This teacher guide provides sections on motivation, development, and assessment.
  • The EIA State Energy Profiles provide maps, updates, quick facts and data for each state. Note that the energy profiles of states are changing over time. Be sure to access the most current information.
  • Links to extension activities are provided.
  • Well-constructed worksheets for students to record their learning.
  • Some students may need additional guidance to pull out key information about their state.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • During the "development" activity, students may need teacher assistance in "decoding" the map of their state and what all the symbols mean; there is a great deal of information provided all at once, which could be overwhelming for some students.
  • All of the material is available in printable form.
  • This activity has a clearly written lesson plan/teacher's guide.
  • Map symbols are color coded and may be difficult to interpret for those who are color blind.

Next Generation Science Standards See how this Activity supports:

Middle School

Cross Cutting Concepts: 3

Energy and Matter

MS-C5.2: Within a natural or designed system, the transfer of energy drives the motion and/or cycling of matter.

MS-C5.3:Energy may take different forms (e.g. energy in fields, thermal energy, energy of motion).

MS-C5.4:The transfer of energy can be tracked as energy flows through a designed or natural system.

Science and Engineering Practices: 7

Planning and Carrying Out Investigations, Analyzing and Interpreting Data, Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions, Engaging in Argument from Evidence, Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information, Asking Questions and Defining Problems

MS-P3.2:Conduct an investigation and/or evaluate and/or revise the experimental design to produce data to serve as the basis for evidence that meet the goals of the investigation

MS-P4.2:Use graphical displays (e.g., maps, charts, graphs, and/or tables) of large data sets to identify temporal and spatial relationships.

MS-P6.4:Apply scientific ideas, principles, and/or evidence to construct, revise and/or use an explanation for real- world phenomena, examples, or events.

MS-P7.4:Make an oral or written argument that supports or refutes the advertised performance of a device, process, or system based on empirical evidence concerning whether or not the technology meets relevant criteria and constraints.

MS-P8.3:Gather, read, and synthesize information from multiple appropriate sources and assess the credibility, accuracy, and possible bias of each publication and methods used, and describe how they are supported or not supported by evidence.

MS-P1.4:Ask questions to clarify and/or refine a model, an explanation, or an engineering problem.

MS-P1.6:Ask questions that can be investigated within the scope of the classroom, outdoor environment, and museums and other public facilities with available resources and, when appropriate, frame a hypothesis based on observations and scientific principles.

High School

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 1

HS-ESS3.A2:All forms of energy production and other resource extraction have associated economic, social, environmental, and geopolitical costs and risks as well as benefits. New technologies and social regulations can change the balance of these factors.

Cross Cutting Concepts: 2

Patterns, Energy and Matter

HS-C1.3:Patterns of performance of designed systems can be analyzed and interpreted to reengineer and improve the system.

HS-C5.3:Energy cannot be created or destroyed—only moves between one place and another place, between objects and/or fields, or between systems.

Science and Engineering Practices: 5

Asking Questions and Defining Problems, Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions, Engaging in Argument from Evidence, Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information

HS-P1.4:ask questions to clarify and refine a model, an explanation, or an engineering problem

HS-P1.6:Ask questions that can be investigated within the scope of the school laboratory, research facilities, or field (e.g., outdoor environment) with available resources and, when appropriate, frame a hypothesis based on a model or theory.

HS-P6.5:Design, evaluate, and/or refine a solution to a complex real-world problem, based on scientific knowledge, student-generated sources of evidence, prioritized criteria, and tradeoff considerations.

HS-P7.5:Make and defend a claim based on evidence about the natural world or the effectiveness of a design solution that reflects scientific knowledge and student-generated evidence.

HS-P8.3:Gather, read, and evaluate scientific and/or technical information from multiple authoritative sources, assessing the evidence and usefulness of each source.

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