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Database Provider

Author

Grist

Grades

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

Subjects

Science, Social Studies

Resource Type

  • Videos, 5 minutes, 31 seconds, CC, Subtitles

Regional Focus

North America, United States

Format

YouTube Video

This Tiny Model Town Shows How We Could Achieve 100% Clean Energy

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Synopsis
  • This video shows a model of a fictional town called Renew-a-ville that demonstrates how we can make our cities and towns operate without burning fossil fuels. 
  • It highlights the complexity of this problem and the fact that there is no single solution. We must use a mixture of solutions that will need to be evaluated and implemented differently in various locations. 
  • It discusses direct emissions from buildings and vehicles, the fossil fuels used to power the electricity grid, converting to wind, solar, and hydrogen power, and using batteries and some distributed solar to achieve 100% clean energy. 
Teaching Tips

Positives

  • This video demonstrates that cities and towns can be powered without fossil fuels if the utilities are involved in the transition to wind and solar energy.
  • It highlights the need for individual action: changing out appliances to electric ones.

Additional Prerequisites

  • There may be a commercial before the video.
  • The video doesn't address many solutions that could help cities and towns with this transition, so you could provide information about these other solutions:
    • passive solar design for lighting, hot water, and temperature regulation in buildings; insulating buildings; reducing energy waste; switching to more efficient appliances and electronics; using vegetation and deciduous trees to passively cool urban areas in summer and provide solar exposure in winter; maximizing distributed solar and battery storage; and using hydropower, geothermal, and kinetic energy production where appropriate.

Differentiation

  • Social studies and civics classes could use this resource to demonstrate the importance of local laws and city planning/zoning when addressing climate change.
  • Science and social studies classes could use this resource when discussing the health effects of fossil fuel pollution and the benefits of wind and solar energy for air quality, water quality, and soil quality.
  • Other resources related to this topic are this video about climate change solutions that could realistically happen, this interactive activity about household energy use, and this podcast about individual actions that can drastically reduce emissions.
Scientist Notes
This video resource does not have any science to verify. However, it does offer an example of how a town could go nearly 100% carbon emission free using only the currently available technology. It highlights what it would take and some of the limitations. This resource is recommended for teaching.
Standards
  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • ETS1: Engineering Design
      • MS-ETS1-2 Evaluate competing design solutions using a systematic process to determine how well they meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.
      • HS-ETS1-3 Evaluate a solution to a complex real-world problem based on prioritized criteria and trade-offs that account for a range of constraints, including cost, safety, reliability, and aesthetics, as well as possible social, cultural, and environmental impacts.
  • Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
    • Speaking & Listening (K-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.11-12.3 Evaluate a speaker's point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric, assessing the stance, premises, links among ideas, word choice, points of emphasis, and tone used.
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