Introduction

The Energy Story

  Energy Is Born
  Energy Types
  Energy Changes
  Energy Generation

The Energy Problem

  Conservation of Energy
  Aging of Energy
  Finite Resources
  The Oil "Crisis"
  Energy Pollution
  Discussion Topics

The Energy Solution

  Conserving Electricity
  Appliance Efficiency
  Heating Conservation
  Renewable Energy

Web Links

Teacher Guide

About the Author


Secret LIves Title - Teacher Guide


In The Beginning
The content material on the types of energy and energy changes started as an attempt to: 1) familiarize students with the concepts of energy; 2) as an introduction to calculating the values of kinetic, gravitational, and spring energy using the basic equations; and, 3) as a lead in to the calculations for conservation of energy problems.

Someone mentioned during an educational workshop how students could "fake" understanding by memorizing answers to the most likely questions. For example, young children could answer the question 2 + 2 = ? by saying 4, but if given pieces of candy could not demonstrate real understanding. After trying some different assessments, it became apparent that this same problem was occuring with this unit on energy. Students didn't really understand these types of energies and the changes that were occurring in simple everyday events, let alone the changes that were occuring in a nuclear power plant.

The unit on types of energy was expanded to make sure that students really had a firm grasp of the basic concepts of each type of energy and their changes. Without this understanding, students would surely have problems making informed decisions on the many energy issues confronting our society.

Grade Level / Leveling on Ability
This unit was designed for use with a lower level algebra based physics class taught in 12 th grade. Our school has 4 levels of physics: academic, accelerated, honors, and AP (low to high ability). This unit is used with the accelerated classes. Certainly, the material could also be used in any 9th through 12th grade physical science, chemistry, or physics class, by adding or substracting curriculum material or varying the time spent.

Summary List / Sequencing
The content material and associated exercises are designed to be used in a linear fashion, from The Energy Story to the Energy Problem to the Energy Solution. Obviously, instructors might want to pick and choose parts of the content to fit into their required or desired curriculum. Below is an expanded outline with a brief description of the content material. Links are provided to each page. An asterick (*) is shown next to exercises that might be useful on their own.

The Energy Story .
Energy is Born The universe is born in a big bang forming matter and energy.
Energy Types This section develops 10 basic types of energy.
* Exercise 1
Students list types of energy or associated words.
* Exercise 2
Students consolodate and organize these words into 10 types.
  The 10 Types
The following pages familiarize students with the properties of each of the 10 types of energy.
  Kinetic
Inlcudes equation KE = 1/2 mv squared
  Gravitational
Incluede equation GPE = mgh
  Spring
Includes equation SPE = 1/2 kx squared
  Electrical
.
  Magnetic
.
  Mechanical
.
  Heat
.
  Nuclear
.
  Light
.
  Chemical
.
* Crossword
Crossword puzzle based on the 10 types of energy.
* Energy Game
Game where students match the word with the corresponding type of energy.
Requires a PC and the Vitalize Plug-In
Energy Changes Overview of how energy changes from one type into another.
  Examples of Changes
Examples of energy changing from energy in to energy out.
* Fill In Exercise
Students fill in energy in and energy out for a number of situations.
  Energy Chains
Examples of energy changing from type to type to type.
* Rube Goldberg Project
Students must draw a Rube Goldberg machine illustrating the 10 types of energy and energy changes.
* Energy Changes Game
Download, install, and play this game where students need to identify the energy changes for a number of different events.
Energy Generation Overview of the need for sources of energy.
  Energy Sources
Lists the most common energy sources.
  Power Plants
Illustrates a number of power plant designs and how the energy is changed form one type into another.
  Power Plant Project
A team based project to choose the best power plant.
* Power Plant Game
Students must place the components of various types of power plants in order and identify the energy chains.
Requires a PC and the Vitalize Plug-In
The Energy Problem .
Conservation of Energy Overview of energy conservation.
Aging of Energy Discussion of how energy "ages" and meaning of entropy.
Finite Resources Some data on the increasing demand for energy and the increase in population growth.
The Oil "Crisis" Discussion on the political and economic problems associated with excessive energy use.
Energy Pollution Overview of the relationship between energy use and pollution.
Discussion Topics A rubric for student reserach and class discussion on a number of controversial questions or topics concerning energy.
* Topic 1
Should our country legislate increased miles per gallon requirements for new automobiles?
* Topic 2
Should our country restrict drilling for oil in the arctic and national parks?
* Topic 3
Should our country stop or ban further construction of nuclear power plants due to radioactive waste and danger of reactor accidents?
* Topic 4
Should Americans reduce their energy use, considering how much more energy they use than people in other countries?
* Topic 5
Should our country legislate reductions on carbon dioxide emissions in power plants to avert global warming?
The Energy Solution .
Conserving Electricity Discusses the need to understand the concept of power.
  What is Power
Shows how one can calclate the energy used from the power rating of an appliance and the hours the appliance is used.
* Energy Inventory
A worksheet for students to find or calculate the power, energy, and cost of various household appliances.
  Sample Inventory
A sample worksheet that has been filled in.
* Savings Worksheet
A worksheet for students to find or calculate the power, energy saved, and dollars saved by not using various appliances.
* Appliance Power Game
Students must match the correct power with varioius household appliances.
Requires a PC and the Vitalize Plug-In
Appliance Efficiency Discusses how efficiencies of appliances have increased and how to read the energy efficiency labels on major appliances.
Heating Conservation The following pages will give you some background on how heat is transferred and more ideas on how to make your home more energy efficient.
  Heat Transfer
Heat can be transferred in three ways: convection, conduction, and radiation.
  Saving Heat Energy
Illustrates how you can save home heating energy by understanding the three ways that heat can be transferred.
  Home Energy Audit
Conduct an energy audit of your house to see what are the most cost efficient ways to save money on your energy bills.
Renewable Energy A discussion of various renewable energies including solar, wind, and biomass.

National Science Standards

Many parts of this site can support different areas of the U.S. National Science Education Standards. You can find which standards are supported by each section of this site from the table below. All of the standards are for grades 9-12.

The Energy Story . . . . . . . . .
Energy is Born . * . * . * . . *
Energy Types . * * * * * . * *
Energy Changes . . . * * * . * *
Energy Generation . . * . * * . * .
The Energy Problem . . . . . . . . .
Conservation of Energy . . . . * . . * .
Aging of Energy . . . . * . . . .
Finite Resources . . . . * . . . .
The Oil "Crisis" . . . . . . . . .
Energy Pollution . . . . . . . . .
Discussion Topics . . . . * . . . .
The Energy Solution . . . . . . . . .
Conserving Electricity . . . . . . . . .
Appliance Efficiency . . . . . . . . .
Heating Conservation                  
Renewable Energy . . . . . . . * *

 

The Energy Story . . . . . .
Energy is Born . . . . . .
Energy Types . . . . . .
Energy Changes . . . . . .
Energy Generation . . * * . .
The Energy Problem . . . . . .
Conservation of Energy . . * . . .
Aging of Energy . . * * . .
Finite Resources . * * * . .
The Oil "Crisis" . . * * . .
Energy Pollution . . . * * .
Discussion Topics . . * * * *
The Energy Solution . . . . . .
Conserving Electricity . . * . . *
Appliance Efficiency . . . . . *
Heating Conservation     * *   *
Renewable Energy . . * . . *