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Sustainability Lesson Clearinghouse

Yesterday in Energy

Lesson Description:
In this cooperative learning activity, students work in small groups to prepare a museum exhibit and short
presentation about one facet of life yesterday and today, such as transportation, heating, lighting, etc. The activity
itself has been designed for students in grades four to twelve, but tours of the museum would be appropriate for
all grade levels. This activity is especially well suited for PTA and community outreach presentations.
Lesson Type:
  • Group Work

Sustainability Topic:
  • Energy

GEF Program Category:
  • Waste Reduction Challenge
  • Green Energy Challenge
  • I Ride Green

Time Needed:
4 to 6 class periods
Standards Addressed:
Primary (k–4) standard–e: science and technology

2. understandings about science and technology
b. people have always had problems and invented tools and techniques to solve problems. trying to determine the
effects of solutions helps people avoid some new problems.
primary standard–f: science in personal and social perspectives

5. science and technology in local challenges
a. people keep inventing new ways of doing things, solving problems, and getting work done. new ideas and inventions
often affect other people; sometimes the effects are good and sometimes they are bad. it is helpful to try to
determine in advance how ideas and inventions will affect other people.
b. science and technology have greatly improved food quality and quantity, transportation, health, sanitation, and
communication. these benefits of science and technology are not available to all of the people in the world.
intermediate (5-8) standard–e: science and technology

2. understandings about science and technology
c. technological solutions are temporary and have side effects. technologies cost, carry risks, and have benefits.
intermediate standard–f: science in personal and social perspectives

5. science and technology in society
a. science influences society through its knowledge and world view. the effect of science on society is neither entirely
beneficial nor entirely detrimental.
b. societal challenges often inspire questions for scientific research, and societal priorities often influence research
c. technology influences society through its products and processes. technological changes are often accompanied
by social, political, and economic changes that can be beneficial or detrimental to individuals and to society.
social needs, attitudes, and values influence the direction of technological development.
d. science and technology have contributed enormously to economic growth and productivity among societies and
groups within societies.
e. science cannot answer all questions and technology cannot solve all human problems or meet all human needs.
students should appreciate what science and technology can reasonably contribute to society and what they
cannot do. for example, new technologies often will decrease some risks and increase others.
intermediate standard–g: history and nature of science
3. history of science
c. tracing the history of science can show how difficult it was for scientific innovators to break through the accepted
ideas of their time to reach conclusions that we take for granted today.
secondary (9-12) standard–f: science in personal & social perspectives
3. natural resources
a. human populations use resources in the environment to maintain and improve their existence.
Materials Needed:
  •  one copy of interview, the dark ages—life before electricity, for each student
  • one student guide for each student
  • poster board
  • see attached document for complete list of materials

School or Group:
Contact Email:
Lesson Documents:
application/pdf Yesterday%20in%20Energy.pdf
Located in: Science | Science

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