Energy Curriculum

Overall Objectives

  • Explain energy issues to parents
  • Identify different energy sources and how they’re used
  • Explain basics of global warming and greenhouse gases
  • Define key terms relating to energy issues
  • Identify and advocate strategies/options for improving energy outlook
  • Identify negative environmental impacts of energy use
  • Identify personal activities that create pollution

7-Week Overview, Objectives by Individual Lesson

Lesson 1

  • Define energy and identify different forms
  • Class time used to play introductory game, distribute parent letter, get contact info, establish classroom expectations, administer pre-assessment

Lesson 2

  • Identify energy forms and transfer mechanisms
  • Connect transfer mechanisms to energy industry process
  • Follow energy chain/web from end uses to sun

Lesson 3

  • Identify energy sources
  • Define renewable energy and identify sources and renewable or non-renewable
  • Rank sources by pollution and cost

Lesson 4

  • Identify sources of electricity energy
  • Identify these sources as renewable or no
  • Compare sources based on pollution, cost, availability

Lesson 5

  • Same objectives as lesson 4, for transportation

Lesson 6

  • Explain the process of global warming
  • Follow chain from end-use energy to global warming (identify combustion, CO2, greenhouse effect as steps)

Lesson 7

  • Define efficiency
  • Propose ways to improve energy efficiency personally

4-Week Module: Fossil Fuels and Global Warming

  • Explain where fossil fuels come from and how they provide energy. Roughly explain power generation in a coal-fired power plant or combustion engine
  • Explain global warming
  • Identify CO2 as a pollutant
  • Identify other forms of pollution from energy sources
  • Defend global warming as being true
  • Identify impacts of global warming
  • Calculate and explain a carbon footprint

4-Week Module: Efficiency

  • Define efficiency
  • Identify sources of energy inefficiencies
  • Identify ways to improve efficiency personally; identify how energy is used at home
  • Estimate efficiencies from energy sources (general sense of how much energy reaches end-use)
  • Explain how small individual changes scale to large total changes

4-Week Module: Electricity and Heat Alternatives

  • Identify alternative heat and electricity sources (solar PV,solar thermal, wind)
  • Explain how each generates electricity and/or heat
  • Compare alternatives to traditional sources based on pollution, cost, availability
  • Compare alternatives to each other based on pollution, cost,availability

Lesson Plans and Worksheets (zip file)