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Citizenship, Climate Change


3rd, 4th, 5th


Science, Social Studies, Earth and Space Sciences, Civics


60 minutes

Regional Focus

Global, North America, United States, USA - West, California


Google Docs, Google Slides


This lesson plan is licensed under Creative Commons.

Creative Commons License

How Can We Encourage Our Community to Use More Renewables? (Renewable Energy #6)

Created By Teachers:
Last Updated:
Apr 14, 2024
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In this lesson, students advocate for renewable energy in their schools and communities, motivated by the success of Santa Monica, California students.

Step 1 - Inquire: Teacher shares the story of Team Marine, a group of youth activists from California who fought to ban plastic bags in their neighborhood.

Step 2 - Investigate: Students choose from a variety of projects to advocate for more renewable energy in their schools and communities. Students can write letters, create videos, write speeches, or choose another way to advocate for a cleaner world!

Step 3 - Inspire: Students follow through with their advocacy by sending letters and videos, delivering speeches, etc. Finally, students reflect on their activism experience.

Accompanying Teaching Materials
Teaching Tips


  • Students transform into activists in this final lesson in the unit.
  • Students are able to engage with community stakeholders outside of the classroom.

Additional Prerequisites

  • This is lesson 6 of 6 in our 3rd-5th grade Renewable Energy unit.
  • It may be difficult to figure out how much renewable energy exists in your community or how much of your local electrical grid is powered by renewable energy. Your students could explore this interactive map from the EPA showing all energy infrastructure and resources.
  • If you or your students do not know how to focus your activism, you can advocate for rooftop solar panels on your school if it makes sense.
  • Support your students appropriately if they would like to take this project to the next level. Perhaps they could continue their activism before school, at recess, or after school. It may be nice to ask some of your fellow teachers to also support their efforts.
  • This lesson plan might lead to the founding of a student activism group!


  • There are many options for differentiation in this unit. Students can work individually or in groups as they design their own activism.
  • Quieter students may want to write a letter to share their thoughts.
  • More extroverted students may want to deliver a speech to a school or community leader or sit down with them for a one-on-one discussion.
Scientist Notes

This lesson introduces students to understand the importance of renewable energy and how they can advocate for energy and climate justice in their community. All materials embedded in the lesson are thoroughly sourced. Accordingly, this lesson is recommended for classroom use.


Primary Standards

  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • 4-ESS3-1 Obtain and combine information to describe that energy and fuels are derived from natural resources and that their uses affect the environment.
  • College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Standards
    • Dimension 4: Communicating and Critiquing Conclusions
      • D4.3.3-5 Present a summary of arguments and explanations to others outside the classroom using print and oral technologies (e.g., posters, essays, letters, debates, speeches, and reports) and digital technologies (e.g., Internet, social media, and digital documentary).
    • Dimension 4: Taking Informed Action
      • D4.7.3-5 Explain different strategies and approaches students and others could take in working alone and together to address local, regional, and global problems, and predict possible results of their actions.

Supporting Standards

  • Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
    • Writing (K-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.3.1 Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.4.1 Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.5.1 Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information.
Renewable Energy Unit Lesson Plans


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