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U.S. Department of Energy


6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


Science, Physics, Earth and Space Sciences

Resource Type

  • Videos, 3 minutes, 47 seconds, CC, Subtitles

Regional Focus



YouTube Video

Energy 101: Geothermal Energy

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  • This video by the United States Department of Energy defines geothermal energy and describes how it can be used to produce electricity. 
  • Geothermal energy is emphasized as a low emissions energy source that has a minimal environmental impact. 
Teaching Tips


  • Diagrams and animations are used to help explain the concept in a clear way.
  • The video is optimistic about geothermal energy and how it could help reduce our reliance on fossil fuels.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students should be familiar with the terms renewable energy and clean energy.


  • This video could be used in a science class when learning about Earth's interior and could be combined with this map of geothermal resources in the U.S. to investigate where it is possible to use this type of energy.
  • In a physical science course students could further research the mechanics used in the geothermal plants to convert heat energy to electricity.
  • Other resources about geothermal energy include this NowThis Earth video, this digital text, this video about geothermal energy in Iceland, and this TED video.
  • Other resources about renewable sources in general include this e-book, this data analysis lesson plan, and this video about technology solutions.
Scientist Notes
This resource introduces the common methods of harnessing geothermal energy. For instance, the dry steam, flash steam, and binary cycle methods are efficient and renewable technologies that can contribute to the renewable energy portfolio globally if given appropriate attention for improvement and scalability. The methods are scientifically proven, and this resource is recommended for teaching.
  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • ESS2: Earth's Systems
      • MS-ESS2-2 Construct an explanation based on evidence for how geoscience processes have changed Earth's surface at varying time and spatial scales.
      • HS-ESS2-3 Develop a model based on evidence of Earth’s interior to describe the cycling of matter by thermal convection.
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • MS-ESS3-3 Apply scientific principles to design a method for monitoring and minimizing a human impact on the environment.
      • HS-ESS3-4 Evaluate or refine a technological solution that reduces impacts of human activities on natural systems.
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