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Sustainability Lesson Clearinghouse

Mission Possible: Energy Trade-Offs

Lesson Description:
Mission Possible: Energy Trade-offs is a cooperative learning activity in which intermediate and secondary students evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of the energy sources used to generate electricity by developing energy plans for a fictitious country and presenting the plans to the class. Several options with different levels of difficulty are provided for the activity. The activity includes a limited number of variables and is not intended to reflect the realities of the global or national economies.


  • All energy sources have economic, environmental, and societal advantages and disadvantages.
  • Economic and environmental impacts are determining factors in the energy sources we use to produce electricity.
  • Societal needs, personal beliefs, and changes to the quality of life are important considerations in determining the energy sources we use. 
  • No one energy source can meet the needs of society today; a variety of energy sources is needed.
  • Some energy sources cannot be counted on to produce consistent amounts of electricity 24-hours a day or in all seasons and weather conditions (wind, solar, hydropower).

Lesson Type:
  • Group Work
  • Project

Sustainability Topic:
  • Energy

GEF Program Category:
  • Green Energy Challenge

Time Needed:
5-7 classes (can use some as homework assignments too)
Standards Addressed:
Standards given in the lesson supplements below.
School or Group:
Contact Email:
Lesson Documents:
application/pdf Mission Possible.pdf

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