Resources for PreK-8 Activity 39 – Energy Sleuths

There are different sources of energy. Some are renewable; some are nonrenewable. In this activity, your students will learn about the different sources, advantages and disadvantages to their use, and how energy is used in their daily lives.

This is one of 96 activities that can be found in PLT’s PreK-8 Environmental Education Activity Guide. To get the activity, attend a training either in person or online and receive PLT’s PreK-8 Guide. Below are some supporting resources for this activity. 

STUDENT PAGES

Download the copyright free student pages that are included with this activity:

Energy Primer (PDF)

 

Spanish Student Page(s):

Cartilla de la Energia (PDF)

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Every month we carefully select new tools and resources that enhance PLT’s lessons. These include educational apps, videos, posters, interactive websites, careers information, and teacher-generated materials. Browse a chronological listing below:

  • EnergyKids

    Developed by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, EnergyKids provides a wide range of articles and resources about energy. Students can explore energy sources, ways to use and save energy and the history of energy with games and activities that promote learning. Challenge your students with energy-related Suduko, puzzles, crossword puzzles, and word searches!

  • Generate: The Game of Energy Choices

    Generate: The Game of Energy Choices is a board game from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that teaches students about the costs and benefits of the energy choices we make; what happens if the mix of energy sources changes in the future; and what energy choices mean for our climate, air, water, and overall environmental quality. Teachers can download a printable version of the game and accompanying materials.

  • Nature Works

    Did you know that nature works to power the things you depend on every day such as your smartphone, refrigerator, and more! Thanks to energy from the earth we can power all these things. This 5-minute video from PBS Learning Media, Nature Works – To Make Clean Energy discusses sustainable energy sources. It also explains how sustainable energy sources support the environment and minimize harm. Learn more about the benefits of renewable technologies of energy with this video.

  • Our Relationship with Energy

    Energy makes everything we do possible. In this TEDxMileHighWomen event, energy journalist Joran Wifs-Brock talks about Our Relationship with Energy, or as she explains, the broken relationship. Use this presentation with high school students to help them consider the ways we use energy in our own life and the communication breakdown between flipping a switch and the resources we use lighting our homes.

  • A Guide to the Energy of the Earth

    As the demand for energy increases throughout the globe it is sourced through a variety of cycles connecting the sun to our food chain to electricity and beyond. Yet, if energy is neither created nor destroyed, where does it come from? TED-Ed Original lessons feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. In this TED-Ed lesson, A Guide to the Energy of the Earth, educator Joshua M. Sneideman examines the many ways in which the energy all around us is captured and sourced. This 5-minute video is also supported with 10 assessment questions.

  • Top Ten Things You Didn’t Know About… Wind Power

    Developed as part of Energy.gov’s informational “Top 10 Things You Didn’t Know About…” online series, Top 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Wind Power presents facts and resources describing the growth, development, current status, and future potential of the wind power industry. Most appropriate for middle and high school levels (grades 5-12), the educational resources include diagrams showing how a wind turbine functions, as well as extensive wind maps from the US Department of Energy.

  • Education in Nature

    Visit the Educator Center, part of Georgia-Pacific’s Education in Nature program, for lesson plans, brochures, videos and activities on an assortment of environmental topics and nature subjects for students in grades 2–5. Search the subject areas for natural resources, energy, and paper recycling to find supplemental information and teaching ideas for PLT activities.

  • How Electricity Works Infographic

    Help students understand the science of electricity with this animated infographic from SaveOnEnergy.com. It includes the basics of electricity all the way to how we harness this power to fuel homes, schools, hospitals and more.

  • Ted-Ed: Create a Lesson

    Looking for a way to incorporate more technology into your teaching? TED-Ed produces original animated videos and pairs them with questions and resources for teachers to create their own interactive lessons. Once you create a free account, simply search the topic you want to develop a lesson around and use the TED-Ed platform to build a customized lesson around any TED-Ed Original, TED Talk, or other educational video. Check out the example below.

    TED-Ed: Guide to Energy on Earth The global demand for energy continues to increase. But where does energy come from, and where does it go? These are just some of the questions that you can help your students answer with this Guide to the Energy of the Earth by TED-Ed. The online lesson guide includes a short video, questions for discussion, and additional resources to explore the topic further. 

  • Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy in Low-Income Communities

    Investing in energy efficiency, renewable energy, and climate protection programs is an important way for state and local governments to provide a variety of benefits to low-income communities, including energy cost savings, job creation, improved air quality, and healthier homes. EPA’s Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy in Low-Income Communities guide helps state and local staff connect with local and national initiatives that can assist them in expanding or developing their own EE and climate initiatives in ways that benefit low-income communities.

  • U.S. Department of Energy Multimedia

    This U.S. Department of Energy website provides links to animations, videos, and audio files on energy sources, with a focus on energy efficiency and renewable energy.Energy Guides for SchoolsAdvanced Energy Design Guide for K–12 School BuildingsThe website of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers provides guidelines and approaches for achieving advanced levels of energy savings.

  • Climate Change around the World

    An article in BBC News that discusses impacts of global warming in countries around the world and in major sectors of society: health, water, food, ecosystems, coasts, and industry.

  • Energy Efficient Home Articles

    Energy Efficient Home Articles Learn how to make your home more energy efficient with this very useful site. There are hundreds of articles listed here with information on lowering energy usage, healthy living, green building, and more.

  • How Do Solar Panels Work?

    In this digital interactive from the Public Broadcasting Service’s (PBS) NOVA Education, users see how solar panels work to convert sunlight into electricity. Links to related PBS NOVA videos and programs are also included.

  • How Do Solar Panels Work?

    In this digital interactive from the Public Broadcasting Service’s (PBS) NOVA Education, users see how solar panels work to convert sunlight into electricity. Links to related PBS NOVA videos and programs are also included.

  • National Institute of Health

    National Institute of Health’s Chemicals, the Environment, and You: Explorations in Science and Human Health  is a 7th-8th grade curriculum supplement.   This supplement was designed to complement existing life science curricula at both the state and local levels and to be consistent with the National Science Education Standards.  

  • EPA Tools

    EPA tools let computer users “see” air quality information on a virtual globe:

  • Energy Lab

    This PBS NOVA series has launched the Energy Lab, where middle and high school students can design renewable energy systems for cities nationwide and compete with other students nationwide. Visit the Energy Lab website to design your own renewable energy system.

  • TeslaTown

    Designed for upper elementary and middle school students, a free iPad app teaches about electricity generation and delivery thorough visits to a solar-powered house, a hydroelectric power plant, and a wind farm. With clickable, interactive structures and informational graphics and photos, students discover what is meant by “the power grid.”

  • Women@Energy

    In profiles of women working in various roles at the Department of Energy, women share what inspired them to work in a STEM field, what excites them about their work, and what ideas they have for getting more underrepresented groups engaged in STEM fields. The website is useful for middle and high school students interested in learning about STEM careers.

  • Check Your School’s Climate Impact

    High school students can investigate the link between greenhouse gas emissions, climate change, and everyday actions at their high school. Using EPA’s Climate Change Emission Calculator Kit (Climate CHECK) students can learn about climate change, estimate their school’s greenhouse gas emissions and conceptualize ways to mitigate their school’s climate impact.  Students gain understandings of climate-change drivers, impacts, and science; produce an emission inventory and action plan, and can even submit the results of their emission inventory to their school district. You can compare the energy use of your school with other schools nationwide, and earn the ENERGY STAR for your school if it qualifies as a top performer.

  • Plant for the Planet Video

    Inspired by Wangari Maathai, 9-year-old Felix Finkbeiner founded “Plant for the Planet” and has planted more than 500,000 trees in Germany which he says will help sequester carbon and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Watch Felix’s video, part of the Young Voices on Climate Change series, to learn about his efforts to plant trees for a healthier world.

  • Wind Power Information

    At www.windturbines.net , visitors can join a community of wind energy professionals and access facts, maps, information, videos, and news stories about the use of wind technology worldwide.  Check out this popular video, which describes a propeller-free turbine design that can be used in residential homes

  • Renewable Energy Documentary: Unlimited

    Unlimited, a documentary by OneLight OneCamera Productions about renewable energy, highlights a group of passionate sixth-graders who call on adults everywhere to take action and address global warming. Their voices are supported with those of global warming and energy experts, who discuss upcoming and promising technologies like solar, wind, tidal power, and more. To purchase a copy of the 25-minute film, email OneLightOneCamera@gmail.com or check it out on YouTube for free.

  • Essential Energy Info

    This website features essential energy information from the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, the Institute of Medicine, and the National Research Council. Targeted at a nonscientific audience, the site presents facts about America’s current energy system in four main topics: energy uses, energy sources, energy costs, and energy efficiency. Teachers will find an energy quiz, a glossary, and an extensive source library.

  • Energy Quest

    Energy Quest is an effort by the California Energy Commission to provide resources to teachers and students all about energy: its different forms, how it is generated, its sources and how to protect and conserve it. The Energy Quest website is arranged in easy-to-use tabs that lead to a rich, comprehensive supply of teaching material. The website’s interactive interface is useful and educational to both teachers and students alike.

  • Energy4me

    Explore energy and its related concepts with resources from The Society of Petroleum Engineers’ Energy4me program. Compare energy sources, request or download a copy of the book Oil and Natural Gas, explore current energy challenges, and more.

  • Hydraulic Fracturing for Natural Gas in Virginia – Webinar and PowerPoint

    Hydraulic fracturing has been used in the oil and gas industry for over 50 years, but in the past decade it has been combined with the relatively new technique of horizontal drilling to gain access to previously inaccessible energy resources. This webinar focuses on hydraulic fracturing in Virginia and the laws, regulations, and agencies governing its use. The PowerPoint slides that accompany this webinar are also available for teacher use.

     

  • Energy Literacy Videos from DOE

    Energy is an abstract and important concept that concerns all things on earth and plays a role in many natural and social science processes. Uncover the power of understanding energy by watching the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Seven Principles of Energy Literacy video series. This series breaks down key information about energy’s functions including flow, amount, and quality, in addition to looking at how quality of life, economics, politics, and environment are affected by how we create and utilize energy. 

  • Energy Zones Mapping Tool

    The Energy Zones Mapping Tool is a free online database that allows users to map existing and potential energy resources in the 39 easternmost states. Users can run site-suitability analyses for a variety of renewable energy sources, including biomass, solar, water, wind, natural gas, geothermal, and nuclear power. Regional, custom maps of existing energy resources and environmental characteristics that impact energy development can also be created using overlapping and interactive layers. This tool is hosted by the Eastern Interconnection States’ Planning Council (EISPC), among other project partners. 

  • An Animated Guide to the Science of Wind Turbines

    Have you ever wondered what keeps the massive propellers of today’s wind turbines in motion? Check out this animated infographic from SaveOnEnergy to learn how wind turbines work. While the science behind wind powered turbines may seem modern day, the concept has been around for millennia. Its predecessor, the simple windmill, can be traced as far back as 200 B.C. when it was used for farm work, such as grinding grain and drawing water.