Teaching Alternative Energy
There are plenty of ongoing initiatives towards saving our environment and conserving energy, but it simply isn’t enough for only adults to deal with these issues. The truth is that apart from handling it now, we also have to plan for the future. By properly educating children about the importance of green living, we can help to prepare future generations to take care of the environment. Even at a young age, kids can make a marked impact by introducing these values to their families and friends. An easy way to start is by integrating these concepts into lesson plans, or by involving students in hands-on activities. By allowing them to see how they can make a difference, we can continue to keep them motivated.
Solar power is a wonderful source of energy that does not involve burning natural resources or creating pollutants. While it is still not used widely today, it definitely has the potential to become more common in future. A good way to help children learn about using solar energy is by showing them how solar panels work. This can be done with a solar toy or a small kit.
- The Sun’s Energy (PDF) – This lesson plan is a perfect introduction to solar power as a renewable energy source.
- Solar Heating – Teach students about insulation and solar energy as a heat source.
- Solar Energy for K-2 – Follow a series of solar energy lesson plans for younger students that include recipes, coloring pages, stories and more.
- Create a Solar Oven – With these fun resources, kids learn to build their own solar oven.
- Teaching Solar Energy (PDF) – A range of lessons and activities help students to understand the versatility of solar energy.
To kids, water conservation might seem a bit redundant since there is so much of it out there. However, through targeted lesson plans, they will learn that reducing their water usage can go a long way towards cutting down energy use and water pollution. Before discussing ways to conserve water, teach them how much water ordinary daily tasks consume.
- How We Use Water – Teach students to identify and track the amount of water we use on a daily basis.
- Water Usage Worldwide (DOC) – A lesson plan demonstrates helps students discover the consequences of shortages of clean water around the world.
- Conserving Water – Through an in-class activity, students learn about the availability of consumable water and water shortage.
- Water Lesson Plans for All Ages – Teachers can pick from a variety of lesson plans, all based on water awareness and conservation, sorted by grade level.
- Reducing Our Water Use – Through this lesson, students will learn why it is important to conserve water, and they will develop ideas for water conservation.
To learn about why wind power is important, students should first understand the consequences of burning fossil fuels as our primary energy source. Unlike fossil fuels, wind power is entirely renewable. Even more importantly, it is clean and does not pollute the atmosphere. Students can construct their own wind-powered miniature contraptions in class to get an idea of how this simple concept can actually be quite powerful.
- Wind Power Lessons – Choose from a variety of lesson plans and presentations on wind power and how it can be used.
- Wind-Powered Activities – From building pinwheels to analyzing air density, students of all ages will learn plenty from these lesson plans.
- Lessons on Wind Energy – Pick the appropriate grade level and then select activities and lesson plans focusing on wind energy.
- Wind for Schools – Encourage your school to participate in a program that introduces wind power to the school.
- The Windy Classroom – Download a full, free curriculum on wind energy.
Although the benefits of biofuel might not be immediately apparent to younger students, teaching them about it is important for their futures. Biofuels are created from renewable resources, such as soybeans, and are used to power vehicles and machines. While they still produce emissions, these outputs are not as harmful as those caused by fossil fuels. Students can learn about this by exploring sources of biofuels and comparing the efficiency of biofuels with more traditional energy sources.
- Biofuel Learning Resources – Educators can pick an appropriate lesson plan from a database of biofuel resources, sorted by grade or lesson type.
- Creating Biodiesel – In an exciting activity, students will create their very own biodiesel.
- Biomass Curriculum (PDF) – Teach students about biofuel as an alternative to fossil fuels and its advantages.
- A Biofuel Science Lesson – Older students will compare different types of biomass and biofuels to learn about tradeoffs.
- Biofuel Resources for Educators – Teachers can find a variety of teaching resources, from labs, lesson plans, projects and more.
In comparing alternative energy sources, it is useful to introduce students to geothermal energy as another option. They can explore this concept through miniature models and experiments. Through these types of activities, students will learn that geothermal energy does not emit harmful pollutants or require much fuel to produce it.
- Exploring Geothermal Energy – Download a list of activities based on geothermal energy specifically for middle school grades.
- A Geothermal Experiment (PDF) – By performing a geothermal model experiment, students compare energy outputs.
- Geothermal Teacher Resources (PDF) – Browse lesson plans, curriculums, and interactive teaching aids on geothermal energy.
- Geothermal Energy in Practice – Introduce students to one school’s real life take on geothermal energy that includes a geothermal well.
- Using Geothermal Energy – Although it might sound complicated to use geothermal energy, students can learn about cost savings and the environmental impact when this energy source is put in practice.