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Sustainability Lesson Clearinghouse

Energy Charades

Lesson Description:
Students will act out selected energy terms, as their teammates guess what word it is to earn points for their team.

Eco-fact: the world uses the same amount of energy every second as your family car would use in 156 years. That means that in the amount of time it takes for you to snap your fingers, the world uses the same amount of energy as 85,000 gallons of gas.

Before activity:
Review energy terms, if necessary.
  • Energy sources can be divided into two groups: renewable and non-renewable. Non-renewable energy sources, such as fossil fuels, are rapidly being consumed and are causing considerable harm to the environment. Coal, oil and natural gas are non-renewable energy sources. However, renewable energy sources are environmentally friendly and replenishable. Renewable energy sources naturally renew their energy supply. They will never run out of energy. Renewable energy sources consist of wind energy, solar energy, geothermal energy, biomass (from plants), and hydropower from water. Both renewable and non-renewable energy sources can produce electricity and hydrogen, which are secondary energy sources.

These books can be used as resources:
  • The Energy for Today series by tea benduhn which include: water power; nuclear power; wind power; solar power; oil, gas, and coal; ethanol and other fuels.
  • What’s so bad about gasoline?: fossil fuels by Anne Rockwell
  • Our Earth: Clean Energy (scholastic news nonfiction readers) by Peggy hock

  • To prepare: Gather 3-4 inch scraps of paper. On each piece of paper write a form of energy such as: coal, oil, natural gas, nuclear energy, solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, hydropower, hydrogen and electricity. If more words are needed, expand the word choices to include energy words in general. Some examples are: energy vampires, secondary energy, conservation, fuel, primary energy, renewable, and nonrenewable. Once finished, fold each paper in half and in half again. Then place them in a container such as a bowl, basket of hat and mix them up.

Energy charades:
  • Split the class into two groups. Their task is to act out their chosen word and have their group try and guess what the word is. For each correct answer, their group gets one point.
  • Choose one person from one group to select a piece of paper from the container and act out the word they chose.
  • Their group has one minute guess the correct energy term. if they guess incorrectly, the other group gets a chance to guess and earn the point.
  • Choose a person from the other group to take a turn and follow the same procedure.
  • Continue until all the words have been selected.
  • Once finished, add up the points to reveal the winning team.

  • Class can be divided into more groups of smaller numbers.

Lesson Type:
  • Group Work
  • Other

Sustainability Topic:
  • Energy

GEF Program Category:
  • Green Energy Challenge

Time Needed:
30 minutes
Materials Needed:
  • 3 to 4 inch scraps of recycled paper
  • writing utensil
  • a container such as a bowl, basket, or hat

School or Group:
Contact Email:

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