This interactive diagram from the National Academy of Sciences shows how we rely on a variety of primary energy sources (solar, nuclear, hydro, wind, geothermal, natural gas, coal, biomass, oil) to supply energy to four end-use sectors (residential, commercial, industrial, and transportation). It also focuses on lost or degraded energy.
Students go through the design process and the scientific process to test the effect of blade design on power output. There is an optional extension to use the data to create an optimal set of wind turbine blades.
This video from the U.S. National Academies summarizes the energy challenges the United States faces, including the technological challenges, and the need for changes in consumption and in energy policy.
These five short videos are an introduction to the pros and cons of energy issues, including cost, choices, efficiency, environmental impact, and scale. The videos are segments of a feature documentary entitled, Switch: Discover the Future of Energy.
In this activity learners work in pairs or small groups to evaluate energy use in their school and make recommendations for improved efficiency. Students create and use an energy audit tool to collect data and present recommendations to their class. Further communication at the school and district level is encouraged.
In this activity, students explore real data about renewable energy potential in their state using a mapping tool developed by NREL (National Renewable Energy Laboratory) to investigate the best locations for wind energy, solar energy, hydropower, geothermal energy, and biomass.
Students explore their own Ecological Footprint in the context of how many Earths it would take if everyone used the same amount of resources they did. They compare this to the Ecological Footprint of individuals in other parts of the world and to the Ecological footprint of a family member when they were the student's age.
This fuel cell animation demonstrates how a fuel cell uses hydrogen to produce electricity, with only water and heat as byproducts. The animation consists of four parts - an introduction, fuel cell components, chemical process, and fuel cell stack.
In this short activity, students or groups are tasked to make concept sketches that track the source of electrical power as far back as they can conceive. The concept sketches reveal students' prior conceptions of the power grid and energy mix, and lead naturally into a lesson or discussion about energy resources and power production.