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Date

Nov 10, 2021

Duration

55 minutes

Grades

3rd, 4th, 5th

Subjects

  • Science
  • English Language Arts
  • Interdisciplinary
  • Physical Science

Regional Focus

  • Global

Format

  • Google Docs
  • Google Slides

What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Energy Resources? (Renewable Energy #3)

Synopsis

This lesson introduces students to renewable and nonrenewable energy resources. Students read about an energy resource, complete a graphic organizer, explain to their classmates why their energy resource is the best, and vote for their favorite type of energy. 


Step 1 - Inquire: Students practice turning their energy on and off with a mindfulness exercise.


Step 2 - Investigate: Students read a nonfiction book on a specific type of energy and take notes in a graphic organizer.


Step 3 - Inspire: Students "pitch" their energy resource in a mock town hall, hoping to gain the most votes from their classmates to adopt their energy resource. Students vote for their favorite energy to decide a winner.

Accompanying Teaching Materials
Inquire
10 minutes
  • Students recall what they learned in previous lessons about renewable and nonrenewable energy. Students share what they used to think and what they think now.
  • Teacher plays the mindfulness exercise video. Students "turn on and off" their energy as they follow along with the prompts.
Investigate
30 minutes
Inspire
15 minutes
  • Teacher explains: "Now we are in a town hall meeting where the town council - all of you - will decide which type of energy to build in your town. Each group will pitch their type of energy. At the end, all of you will vote for the best one. You are not allowed to vote for your own energy."
  • Then, each team has 1-2 minutes to explain to their classmates why their energy is the best.
  • After all teams are finished, students vote on the best energy. It may be best to have a secret vote.
  • Teacher announces the winner!
  • Students use the guiding questions on slide 16 to reflect on the results of the voting.
Teaching Tips

Positives

  • Students will have to weigh the pros and cons of different energy resources. This is happening in real life, as policymakers and other leaders decide the best way to rapidly deploy clean energy.
  • Students practice their public speaking skills.

Additional Prerequisites

  • This is lesson 3 of 6 in our 3rd-5th grade Renewable Energy unit.
  • It is important for students to understand the advantages and disadvantages of different energy sources. However, it is critical for them to know that burning fossil fuels is causing catastrophic climate and ecological breakdown. The students who are pitching the burning of oil and natural gas, therefore, should most likely "lose" the voting in the town hall. If natural gas or oil "win" in the voting, it's probably best to pivot and spend time teaching about the devastating effects of climate change.
  • If your students need to see the clear disadvantages of burning fossil fuels, you can show them this video on the causes and effects of climate change, this video on the sixth mass extinction, or this video explaining how climate change makes extreme weather worse.

Differentiation

  • It may be best to choose well-liked or confident students to research the fossil fuels. They will most likely "lose" when your students vote. These students should be good sports and have good humor.
  • It may be best to group students of different abilities so stronger students can model good note-taking for weaker students.
  • Each student should have at least one speaking part when they give their "pitch" to the rest of the class.
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.
  • Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
    • Reading: Informational Text (K-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.3.2 Determine the main idea of a text; recount the key details and explain how they support the main idea.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.3.10 By the end of the year, read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, at the high end of the grades 2-3 text complexity band independently and proficiently.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.4.2 Determine the main idea of a text and explain how it is supported by key details; summarize the text.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.4.10 By the end of year, read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, in the grades 4-5 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.5.10 By the end of the year, read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, at the high end of the grades 4-5 text complexity band independently and proficiently.

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