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Sustainability Lesson Clearinghouse

Understanding Earth's Energy Sources

Lesson Description:
In part 1, students will know how fossil fuels were formed; recognize common uses of earth’s fossil energy resources and develop an understanding of the risks and benefits of their continued use. In part 2, students focus on the importance of renewable energy resources for a sustainable future. Current renewable energy technologies (solar, wind, biomass, hydrogen, hydroelectric, and geothermal) are discussed. Information on solar is located on a separate power point (2006 solar pp) as is hydrogen and transportation alternatives. Students will be able to distinguish between renewable and nonrenewable energy resources and identify the positive and negative effects of each. The long-term understanding of this unit is for the students to make informed energy decisions in the future.

Lesson Type:
  • Discussion
  • Other

Sustainability Topic:
  • Energy

GEF Program Category:
  • Green Energy Challenge

Standards Addressed:
NS.5-8.4 Earth and Space Science
Content Standard D:
  • As a result of their activities in grades 5-8, all students should develop an understanding of:
  • Structure of the earth system
  • Earths history
  • Earth in the solar system

NS.5-8.6 Science in Personal and Social Perspectives
Content Standard F:
  • As a result of activities in grades 5-8, all students should develop understanding of:
  • Personal health
  • Populations, resources, and environments
  • Natural hazards
  • Risks and benefits
  • Science and technology in society

NM.5-8.10 Statistics.
  • In grades 5-8, the mathematics curriculum should include exploration of statistics in real- world situations so that students can construct, read and interpret tables, charts and graphs;
  • Develop an appreciation for statistical methods as powerful means for decision-making.

Resources and slides found at:

School or Group:
Doe Acts
Contact Email:

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