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Classroom and Lab Activities for Teaching about Energy


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5. Passive Designs part of Renewable and Environmental Sustainability
In this module, we consider how the actual design and placement of buildings can be important considerations for energy efficiency, thereby optimizing winter heating and summer cooling needs. One of the simplest ...

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6. Energy from and to the Earth part of Renewable and Environmental Sustainability
This module compares the spatial availability of geothermal resources for heating and cooling and evaluates different ground exchange systems for practical application. The operation of enhanced geothermal systems ...

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7. Better Ways to Illuminate part of Renewable and Environmental Sustainability
In this module, students compare three types of lamps that are used for lighting: incandescent, compact fluorescent (CFL) and light-emitting diodes (LEDs). Students collect data on the amount of heat and light ...

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4. Creating Electricity from Light part of Renewable and Environmental Sustainability
This module introduces students to the various ways electricity is made from solar radiation. It provides a historical approach following advances over the last two centuries. Students see these technologies in ...

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8. Efficiency and Conservation part of Renewable and Environmental Sustainability
Household energy use accounts for a significant portion of the nation's energy use; therefore, an important aspect of energy conservation is having buildings that are energy efficient. In this activity, ...

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9. Hybrid and Electric Cars part of Renewable and Environmental Sustainability
This module reviews the history of the automobile and its varied power sources, culminating in the latest versions of hybrid and electric cars.

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Capstone Project part of Renewable and Environmental Sustainability
For those teaching the modules as an entire course, we provide a capstone summary assessment activity. This activity is designed to incorporate scaffolding of the material, to use the gained knowledge to do ...

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Unit 4: Towards Climate Change Policy in the U.S. part of Regulating Carbon Emissions
This unit examines the social cost of carbon (introduced in Unit 3) within the legal doctrine of "common but differentiated responsibility" (CBDR). CBDR acknowledges global climate change as a common ...

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Unit 5: Abating Carbon Emissions part of Regulating Carbon Emissions
Students evaluate the EPA's Clean Power Plan in the context of Common but Differentiated Responsibility. This unit also introduces students to the idea that there are costs and benefits associated with the ...

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Unit 6: Carbon Emissions Game part of Regulating Carbon Emissions
In this unit, students play a game, a variation on the "Pollution Game" (Corrigan 2011), to develop an appreciation of the pros and cons of the commonly discussed policy options for carbon abatement ...

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Unit 7: Climate Change from the Socio-Environmental Systems Perspective part of Regulating Carbon Emissions
This unit summarizes and synthesizes the previous six units by inviting students to reflect on their experiences throughout the module, identify key learning moments and consider how these events influenced their ...

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Unit 3: Dynamic Integrated Climate Economy (DICE) Modeling part of Regulating Carbon Emissions
After an opening discussion of systems thinking and models, student use webDICE , an online Dynamic Integrated Climate Economy model developed by Center for Robust Decision Making on Climate and Energy Policy at ...

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Unit 1: Earthquake! part of GPS, Strain, and Earthquakes
In this opening unit, students develop the societal context for understanding earthquake hazards using as a case study the 2011 Tohoku, Japan, earthquake. It starts with a short homework "scavenger hunt" ...

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2. Using Wind to do Work part of Renewable and Environmental Sustainability
This module shows students how wind (atmospheric circulation) is produced from solar radiation, gravity, and the spinning of Earth. It then develops the history of how humans have harnessed the power of the wind, ...

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3. Thermal Energy from Light part of Renewable and Environmental Sustainability
In this module, students learn the basic principles and techniques involved with converting solar radiation to useful heat. They explore the concepts of temperature and heat, and the physical basis for solar ...

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1. Electricity, Work, and Power part of Renewable and Environmental Sustainability
This module is designed to prepare students to better understand the other modules in the course. It is a review of basic high school-level physics, reminding students of the fundamentals of energy, work, power, ...

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Unit 6: Moving Forward: Evaluating Impacts of Modern-day Proposals Affecting the Carbon-cycle and Climate part of Carbon, Climate, and Resources
In this unit, students will review mock proposals that deal with some aspect of the role of carbon in the environment. Each proposal is based on actual actions proposed to mitigate some aspect of carbon consumption ...

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Unit 3: Geologic Record of Past Climate part of Carbon, Climate, and Resources
Students will be introduced to a few of the different methods used in paleoclimatology, including isotopic ratios as paleotemperature proxies. They will investigate the greenhouse gas connections of two ancient ...

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Unit 4: Fossil Fuel Formation part of Carbon, Climate, and Resources
Students will explore various aspects of fossil fuels by examining the various ranks of coal and the processes by which coal, oil, and natural gas form.

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Unit 5: Modern CO2 Accumulation part of Carbon, Climate, and Resources
Students will examine data that record the modern increase in carbon dioxide concentrations and the associated increase in average temperatures, and they will investigate the effects of carbon dioxide on various ...

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