This is great problem-based learning mini-unit (1-2 weeks) about the world's current energy crisis and the potentials of Renewable Energy for the Future. The "Future of Renewable Energy Guide" is best used with the "Future of Renewable Energy Powerpoint" and to best understand both of these, you can use the "The Future of Energy Syllabus" as a guide. The mini-unit is problem-based and real-world relevant to one of the biggest challenges of our modern era: The Energy Crisis! it will surely engage students, giving them purpose and meaning in their work!
The mini-unit is problem-based, research intensive, and full of discussion. Students begin by brainstorming about the different forms of energy and the different sources of energy. They further break this down into types of renewable energy and non-renewable energy. The students then investigate the world's current "Energy Crisis", through some telling video clips and graphics. They reflect using visual thinking strategies. There are some case study investigations examining the effects of the energy crisis: 1. EPA - the impacts of the climate change, 2. The melting world (graphic of land going under water), and 3. New York Times - Greenland melting away graphic. Students share their reflections in a meet and greet conversation party.
Next students research renewable versus non-renewable sources of energy and examine the sources of energy that the United States utilizes in a webquest activity. They read and watch videos to further explore the different types of renewable energy: Biofuel, Solar, Wind, Hydro and Geothermal. They analyze the potential benefits, the potential challenges, and where the energy might be the most useful in a graphic organizer.
Next - as a class - or in small groups - or individually, students explore some incredible case studies of renewable energy. Some are via websites and articles and some are via video links on the powerpoint. Some examples include: Solar Roadways, Tidal Energy, The Magnified Power of the Sun, Solar Powered Cars, Sun Power People, Tiny Houses, Collections of Energy Innovations around the world. Students investigate the idea of "Biomimicry" - which is is an approach to innovation that seeks sustainable solutions to human challenges by emulating nature's time-tested patterns and strategies. They investigate how this approach can be used in creating clean energy innovations.
Next, the lesson is designed so that students will actually build working renewable energy models (wind, solar, etc.) - which is pretty simple if you look up youtube "how to" videos. However, this is optional, and the lesson will still be successful without this component. if they do this part - they will also come up with a 1 minute “elevator pitch” about their working models of energy, what you learned, and how your model should be used in the future of renewable energy!
Students conclude their investigations of renewable energy with a challenge to use their new knowledge of the different sources of renewable energy, as well as any energy innovations they researched to create a poster representing the future of clean and sustainable energy for a healthy earth and environment!
The Final Stop of this lesson is a series of 5 Renewable Energy Game options☺ : Students will utilize their knowledge about renewable energy in order to design clean and efficient energy cities, while balancing all of the economic, social and environmental challenges for a sustainable future.
This lesson includes endless extensions of awesome investigations, video clips and games about the energy crisis and renewable energy! The lesson can be shortened as needed, but can also last a few week unit if the teacher is looking for this.