Renewable Energy

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The lesson introduces students to the different renewable energy resources, the characteristics of each, and the advantage and disadvantages of each type.  Many students may be familiar with solar energy, wind energy, and other renewable resources but do not understand how they operate and why they are called renewable.  The lesson also summarizes some non-renewable energy sources for comparison, and may be used with other lessons related to energy and the environment.

Renewable Energy Lesson Plan Includes:

  • Full Teacher Guidelines with Creative Teaching Ideas
  • Instructional Content Pages about Renewable Energy
  • Hands-on homework activities giving students practice on identifying Renewable Energy
  • Answer Keys
  • Common Core State Standards
  • Many Additional Links and Resources
  • Built for Grades 4-6 but can be adapted for other grade levels.

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Description

The lesson introduces students to renewable energy.  The lesson begins by defining energy and briefly mentioning non-renewable energy for comparison purposes.  Then the five major types of renewable energy are discussed in detail, including: solar, geothermal, hydroelectric, biomass, and wind.  Relevant vocabulary is also defined, like wind turbines and biofuel.

Sample Classroom Procedure / Teacher Instruction: 

  1. Ask students: What does the water, Sun, wind, plants, and magma have in common?
  2. Allow for responses and discussion. (All are eventual sources for renewable energy.)  Students may not guess the answer without some hints:  Think about what they can do for you, how they can help in their present form or if they are changed, think of dead plants, etc.
  3. Allow for further responses and discussion. If students still have not guessed correctly, ask students:  How can they be used to replace the burning of coal, oil or gas?  Why are they different than coal, oil, or gas? (They are renewable.)
  4. Allow for additional responses and discussion. Introduce Renewable Energy.
  5. Distribute Renewable Energy content pages. Read and review the information with the students.  Save the final question for the lesson closing.  Use the additional resources to enhance understanding.
  6. Distribute Activity pages. Read and review the instructions.  Pair students and distribute supplies.  Encourage students to be creative but realistic in their designs.  Ideas will vary and the responses to the disadvantages will vary.
  7. Once completed, allow students to “tour” each other’s homes. (You may choose to vote on the best home design, most creative, etc.)  Next, discuss students’ responses to overcome the renewable energy disadvantages.
  8. Distribute Practice page. Check and review the students’ responses.
  9. Distribute the Homework page. The next day, check and review the students’ responses.
  10. In closing, ask students: Which of the nonrenewable energy sources would you like to see used most often and why?

Common Core State Standards: 

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.4.3, CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.4.4, CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.5.3, CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.5.4, CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.6.2 , CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.6.4

Class Sessions (45 minutes): At least 3 class sessions

Additional Resources: 

Want more science resources? Check out our other Science Lesson Plans!

Additional information

Grade Level

4th Grade, 5th Grade, 6th Grade

Subject

Science