In this activity, students learn about the energy sources used by their local utility provider to generate electricity, and work in small groups to evaluate the sustainability of either a renewable or non-renewable energy source used to generate electricity.
This set of flow charts illustrates energy sources and uses in 136 countries around the world. The data from 2007, but is still useful for comparing energy patterns in different countries. This is the first comprehensive package of worldwide, country-level energy flowcharts that has been produced.
This activity is the first of five in the High Adventure Science Energy module and focuses on sources of electricity in the US by state as well as consumption in the US by sector and globally per capita.
This map shows how much electrical power is produced from wind in each state from 1999 through 2010. The animation shows a general increase in the amount of wind power produced per state and the number of states producing it.
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.
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.
The heart of this activity is a laboratory investigation that models the production of silicon. Students learn about silicon and its sources, uses, properties, importance in the fields of photovoltaics (solar cells/renewable energy) and integrated circuits industries, and, to a limited extent, environmental impact of silicon production.
This video segment, adapted from Need to Know, discusses how the process of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) is used to extract natural gas and how the process may be polluting water resources with hazardous chemicals, leading to health concerns.