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Nov 10, 2021


55 minutes


3rd, 4th, 5th


  • Science
  • Social Studies
  • Economics
  • Geography
  • Math
  • Interdisciplinary
  • Physical Science

Regional Focus

  • Global
  • Europe


  • Google Docs
  • Google Slides

Renewable Energy Around the World (Renewable Energy #5)


In this lesson, students analyze how much renewable energy is used around the world. 

Step 1 - Inquire: Students recall what they learned in previous lessons and use Google Maps to browse renewable energy projects around the world. 

Step 2 - Investigate: Students research one or more countries and complete worksheets analyzing how much renewable energy is used in each country.

Step 3 - Inspire: Students watch a video on Iceland and geothermal energy and discuss what life would be like if the United States used as much renewable energy as Iceland.

Accompanying Teaching Materials
10 minutes
  • Students recall what they learned in previous lessons using the prompts in the Teacher Slideshow.
  • Students browse the Energy Map in Google Maps to see renewable energy sites around the world. Students can browse this map individually or in groups.
  • Students share their noticings with the class.
35 minutes
  • Students explore the interactive map from Our World in Data called Share of Electricity Production from Renewables.
  • Students complete one or more worksheets while they explore the data.
  • Students can study one country, two countries, or multiple countries.
  • Each one of the worksheets is also available in the "Adapted" format, which is best used for weaker students. In these "Adapted" worksheets, there are additional prompts to help students get started.
  • Teacher wanders around the room, answering questions and making sure that students are completing everything correctly.
10 minutes
  • Students watch a video on how Iceland uses geothermal energy and hydroelectric energy to generate 100% of its electricity.
  • Teacher can show part or all of the video.
  • Teacher leads a brief discussion using the guiding question "What would life be like in the United States if we used as much renewable energy as Iceland?"
Teaching Tips


  • Students can study any countries they want!
  • Students can internalize that renewable energy solutions already exist all around the world. They simply must be scaled up in order to address the climate crisis.

Additional Prerequisites

  • This is lesson 5 of 6 in our 3rd-5th grade Renewable Energy unit.
  • Some students may struggle with the x-axis and y-axis scales when comparing different countries. The scales are not the same for all countries.


  • You have many options in the Investigate phase of this lesson. Students can complete worksheets for individual countries, two countries, or multiple countries. Students can complete these worksheets individually or in groups. Students can also complete more than one worksheet if they finish early.
  • You can share the student worksheets digitally or you can print hard copies.
  • Be sensitive with how you share the "Adapted" worksheets with certain students. Students may realize that they have different worksheets from some of their peers.
  • If students would like to learn more about geothermal energy around the world, they can explore this interactive graph from Our World in Data.
  • 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 2: Geography
      • D2.Geo.2.3-5 Use maps, satellite images, photographs, and other representations to explain relationships between the locations of places and regions and their environmental characteristics.
      • D2.Geo.3.3-5 Use maps of different scales to describe the locations of cultural and environmental characteristics.


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