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Renewable and Nonrenewable Resources Activities

Grade Levels
9th - 11th, Homeschool
Formats Included
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28 pages
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This bundle of lessons, labs, and activities is perfect for a high school environmental science course and will introduce your students to the distribution of energy sources and the advantages and disadvantages of both fossil fuels and alternative energy (solar, wind, hydroelectric, geothermal). Student worksheets, web-quests, labs, and an online quiz are all included for a cohesive and easy-to-follow unit.

Topics included in this lesson are: Law of the Conservation of Energy, energy efficiency, definition of energy, fossil fuels (oil, coal, natural gas), nuclear power, renewable energy sources (solar power, wind power, geothermal, hydropower), mechanics of electricity generation, turbine construction, benefits and costs to renewable and nonrenewable energy sources, distribution of energy resources globally and within the United States, global energy usage in developing v. developed countries, environmental and human safety impacts of energy generation, methods for energy conservation

What's included?

  • Detailed teacher lesson plans including essential questions, standards, pacing guide, and materials list
  • Web-quest for content delivery with guided student notes
  • Electricity Generation Lab- Students use wire and magnets to build a simple electric generator, then build a wind or water turbine to generate electricity
  • Energy Speed Dating Activity- Students research the costs and benefits of a particular type of energy then share information with others in this engaging class activity
  • Energy Battle/Debate- In a class discussion, students debate the "best" type of energy, giving reasons for their choice
  • Mapping Extension Activity- Students use real government maps and data to determine the location and distribution of energy sources within the United States
  • Independent Research Activity- Using Google Maps(TM), students make an interactive online map of power plant locations and historical events relating to the power industry
  • Reading Assignments for homework or bell-ringers
  • Math Extension- dimensional analysis and interpretation of graphs using real data
  • Online quiz using Google Forms for easy grading

▶️Want to use this lesson in Google Classroom(TM) or Microsoft OneDrive(TM)?

Find a Google Drive version of this file here for assigning materials in a SNAP!

This is a large bundle of lessons. To see details about each activity, please click on the "PREVIEW" button above.

➤My Environmental Science Series includes lessons for each sphere of the earth:

1. Hydrosphere Bundle (in digital/paperless or print versions)

2. Biosphere Bundle (in digital/paperless or print versions)

3. Atmosphere Bundle (in digital/paperless or print versions)

4. Geosphere/Lithosphere (in digital/paperless or print versions)

How do I use this lesson?

Students independently gain vocabulary and basic concepts through internet web-quests and videos. Then in research and online activities, students are able to practice these concepts and see them come to life in real environments. This lesson bundle is perfect for substitutes because students can work independently.

What curriculum could I use with this lesson?

This lesson is ideally geared towards high school students, but some portions would work for middle school students, as well. A general level Environmental Science or Earth Science textbook would coincide with these topics. It also addresses the following topics in AP Environmental Science (APES):

  • 6.1: Renewable and Nonrenewable Resources
  • 6.2: Global Energy Consumption
  • 6.4: Distribution of Natural Energy Resources
  • 6.5: Fossil Fuels
  • 6.6: Nuclear Power
  • 6.7: Energy from Biomass
  • 6.8: Solar Energy
  • 6.9: Hydroelectric Power
  • 6.10: Geothermal Energy
  • 6.11: Hydrogen Fuel Cell
  • 6.12: Wind Energy
  • 6.13: Energy Conservation
Total Pages
28 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
2 Weeks
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Analyze a major global challenge to specify qualitative and quantitative criteria and constraints for solutions that account for societal needs and wants.
Design, build, and refine a device that works within given constraints to convert one form of energy into another form of energy. Emphasis is on both qualitative and quantitative evaluations of devices. Examples of devices could include Rube Goldberg devices, wind turbines, solar cells, solar ovens, and generators. Examples of constraints could include use of renewable energy forms and efficiency. Assessment for quantitative evaluations is limited to total output for a given input. Assessment is limited to devices constructed with materials provided to students.
Evaluate or refine a technological solution that reduces impacts of human activities on natural systems. Examples of data on the impacts of human activities could include the quantities and types of pollutants released, changes to biomass and species diversity, or areal changes in land surface use (such as for urban development, agriculture and livestock, or surface mining). Examples for limiting future impacts could range from local efforts (such as reducing, reusing, and recycling resources) to large-scale geoengineering design solutions (such as altering global temperatures by making large changes to the atmosphere or ocean).
Construct an explanation based on evidence for how the availability of natural resources, occurrence of natural hazards, and changes in climate have influenced human activity. Examples of key natural resources include access to fresh water (such as rivers, lakes, and groundwater), regions of fertile soils such as river deltas, and high concentrations of minerals and fossil fuels. Examples of natural hazards can be from interior processes (such as volcanic eruptions and earthquakes), surface processes (such as tsunamis, mass wasting and soil erosion), and severe weather (such as hurricanes, floods, and droughts). Examples of the results of changes in climate that can affect populations or drive mass migrations include changes to sea level, regional patterns of temperature and precipitation, and the types of crops and livestock that can be raised.
Evaluate competing design solutions for developing, managing, and utilizing energy and mineral resources based on cost-benefit ratios. Emphasis is on the conservation, recycling, and reuse of resources (such as minerals and metals) where possible, and on minimizing impacts where it is not. Examples include developing best practices for agricultural soil use, mining (for coal, tar sands, and oil shales), and pumping (for petroleum and natural gas). Science knowledge indicates what can happen in natural systems—not what should happen.


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