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Sustainability Lesson Clearinghouse

Renewable and Nonrenewable Energy Riddles

Lesson Description:
Students will write riddles describing sources of renewable and nonrenewable energy. Students will give three clues to tell about the source of energy they chose. They will state if the energy is renewable and nonrenewable.

Eco-fact: only seven percent of the nation’s energy is produced by renewable resources.

Before writing activity:
  • Some background information on sources of renewable and nonrenewable energy will be needed to write the riddle.

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 replenish able. 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

Writing activity:
  • Students will choose a source of renewable and nonrenewable energy.
  • They will write 3 statements and ask one question. One sentence should state if the chosen source is renewable and nonrenewable energy. Use first person point of view. Students can tell how the energy is used and where it is found.
  • For example:
  • I can provide heat for your house when I’m burned in your furnace.
  • I am taken from the earth.
  • I am a nonrenewable energy source.
  • What am I?

After writing activity:
  • Students can share riddles with classmates. Classmates can try to identify the type of renewable and nonrenewable energy described in the riddle.

  • Students can work in pairs or groups to write riddles.
  • Students can write more than 3 sentences of clues.

Lesson Type:
  • Group Work
  • Other

Sustainability Topic:
  • Energy

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

Time Needed:
30 minutes
School or Group:
Contact Email:

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