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Sustainability Lesson Clearinghouse

Ocean Power

Lesson Description:
Areas of the country that have an available coastline but are limited in other renewable resources can use the oceans to produce energy. We are familiar with the large hydroelectric dams that dot our nation, creating large reservoirs and flooding millions of acres of land. By turning to the restless seas we can find a source of energy that is not affected by clouds and the scarcity of wind. By using ocean power we can increase our need for power without having to deplete our existing non-renewable resources.

Ocean power is divided into three categories: wave energy, tidal energy, and ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC) systems. It is estimated that two- to three-million megawatts of power could be produced on our world’s coastlines.

GEF's Ocean Power Activities Include:
  • How can you put the energy of ocean tides to work?
  • How does an OTEC plant work?
  • Can water boil at room temperatures?
  • Build a wave energy device.

Lesson Type:
  • Experiment

Sustainability Topic:
  • Energy
  • Water

GEF Program Category:
  • Sustainable Water Challenge

Time Needed:
Varies by activity
Standards Addressed:
Science content standards: 5-8

Content Standard A: Science as Inquiry
-Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry
-Understandings about scientific inquiry

Content Standard B: Physical Science
-Properties and changes of properties in matter
-Motions and forces
-Transfer of energy

Content Standard D: Earth and Space Science
-Structure of the earth system

Content Standard E: Science and Technology
-Abilities of technological design
-Understandings about science and technology

Content Standard F: Science in Personal and Social Perspectives
-Science and technology in society
Materials Needed:
Varies by activity
School or Group:
The U.S. Department of Education
Contact Email:
Lesson Documents:
application/pdf ocean_power[1].pdf
Located in: Science

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