These resources were consulted in the development of this website.  Most links represent curricular resources that are freely accessible to be used by teachers in grades 5 through 9.  The list is by no means exhaustive. Please contact me if the link is broken or if you have additional resources you think would be useful additions to this list.

1. American Forest Foundation/Project Learning Tree “Energy & Society Kit”

(A few activities are available for free online or order at http:///ww.plt.org/cms/pages/21_44_19.html )

This curriculum provides formal and informal educators with tools and activities to help students in grades PreK-8 learn about relationships with energy and investigate environmental issues related to energy’s role in society.  The activity guide provides a background section for educators, an outline of how to use the materials, correlations to national standards in science, social studies, and language arts, a collection of six activities, case studies, list of children’s literature and lyrics to songs on the CD.

2. Baylor: The Science of Food and Nutrition

This guide provides teachers with information and activities that allow students to explore a variety of physical and life science concepts related to energy, metabolism and the role of nutrients in the body.  Concepts in the guide relate to recommendations of the NSES about exercise, food, energy and nutrition. Each activity includes background information, procedures for carrying out the activity, extensions and reproducibles for students.

3. Bonneville Power Administration & Oregon Department of Energy: Geothermal Energy

This curriculum unit describes geothermal energy in context of the world’s energy needs.  It addresses renewable and nonrenewable energy sources with an in-depth study of geothermal energy. The activities are interdisciplinary and when possible elicit higher order thinking skills for grades 4 -8.  The unit includes background information, demonstrations, activities and answer keys on topics like Earth’s natural heat and generating electricity with geothermal resources.

4. California Energy Commission: Conserve & Renew

This energy educational activity package is intended for grades 4-6. It addresses the key topics: what is energy, renewable vs. nonrenewable, net energy, energy conservation, recycling, and energy ethics.  Each activity includes information on the lesson’s objective, the intended grouping, time to complete, subjects addressed vocabulary, materials, background information, procedures and reproducibles for student use.

5. Clarkson University GK-12 Curriculum: Energy Systems and Solutions

This curriculum emerged from the Project-Based Learning Partnership Program.  It is targeted at eighth-grade science students and focuses on both basic science fundamentals and engineering problem solving skills that build towards students’ culminating project where thy identify and solve an energy related problem in their own lives. The unit is divided into three main sections. First, the activities help students understand the problem at hand – issues surrounding our energy situation.  The second section builds content knowledge based on NY state and federal science education standards.  In the last section students apply the concepts they have learned in their culminating project. It is intended to be taught over ~25 classroom periods.

6. Woods Institute for the Environment, Stanford University: Climate Change Unit

This unit is designed to take place over about 15 class periods and address issues such as what is happening to Earth’s climate, what evidence do we have the humans are contributing, what are the possible cause, what are greenhouse gases, why should we be concerned, what can be done and who needs to do it. Each lesson plan includes the goals, time expectations, teacher preparation instructions, a list of materials, resources included and the procedure for carrying out the lesson. Seems to be for high school students.

7. Colorado Energy Science Center: Smart Energy Living, Hands-on Activities for Middle Grades

This curriculum includes a teacher guide and a student guide.  The unit is designed to address middle school standards in science, math, reading/writing and social studies. Each section includes nonfiction reading, objectives, teacher background, supplies, and teacher hints and instructions.  Reproducibles are included in the student guide.  Energy use activities include energy at home, home energy checkup, insulation race, head conduction, and light bulbs.  Pre- and post-tests are also included.

8. Energy for Keeps: Electricity from Renewable Energy

This includes five chapters/activities related to renewable energy. The topics include energy in the news, making a model steam turbine, watt’s my line charades, pollution detectives, and a renewable energy action project.  Each chapter provides a planning overview, summary, objectives, materials, teacher notes and instructions for carrying out the activity. The appendix includes some student handouts, an energy glossary and a comprehensive list of additional resources for energy education, related to each chapter.

9. Energy for Missouri

This resource, developed by Missouri Department of Natural Resources, includes fact sheets on all types of energy sources and nine hands-on activities intended for elementary, middle school and high school.  Each activity includes grade level, subject area, duration, setting, skills, key words, correlation to Missouri standards, a summary, objectives, materials, background information, instructions, assessment and extensions.  Activities address issues such as depletion of fossil fuels, energy conservation, building an energy smart home, energy attitudes, insulation, evaluation of recycling, choices in energy systems, energy related to soda, and our sources of energy.

10. Energy Hog: Founded by Energy Outreach Colorado, now owned and operated by the Alliance to Save Energy

This challenge helps students to discover where energy comes from, how we use energy and why it’s so important to save energy.  It includes a glossary and a series of reading, worksheets, Internet explorations and class and homework activities that help students take the lead at home by inspiring their families to make wise energy choices.

11. Energy Information Administration: Energy Activities with Energy Ant

This is a series of activities and games that are intended to go along with the Energy Kid’s Page, www.eia.doe.gov/kids.

12. Energy Smarts Training: Adapted by Oregon Sate University Extension Energy Project

This includes a training manual for teachers, to guide them through energy conservation activities for grades 3-8 to help them monitor and reduce their school’s energy use. This training takes about 3 hours and are intended to train Energy Smarts Team members.  The activities include a Pre- and Post-test, white water rafting simulation, H.T. Rae simulation, cookie mining simulation, school energy consumption, electrical pathways, what’s a watt, what’s a therm, meter reading, and Energy Smarts Team procedures and materials.

13. Solar 4R Schools

This program works with schools to bring renewable energy education materials into schools and classrooms. They create activity guides that are tailored to the elementary, intermediate and secondary grade levels and include lesson plans, project ideas, and student handouts.  Three activities of theirs are available online as free samples.  They primarily focus on solar electric energy as a renewable source of energy.

14. Green Schools Program

This is not a comprehensive curriculum, but a series of lessons and activities developed by teachers as part of the Green Schools Program. Activities typically include objectives, background information, materials, a procedure, and student handouts.  Topics covered include energy efficiency, formation of fossil fuels, carbon footprints and sustainability.

15.  University of Northern Iowa: Energy Education Curriculum Project

The curriculum units developed out of this project are freely available online.  There are three 5th – 6th grade modules, which include lessons in each discipline around the topics of Iowa’s electric energy sources, using electricity, and alternative energy in Iowa.  In addition, there are middle school modules on energy efficiency, energy conversion, energy and transportation, reducing energy consumption and global energy perspectives.  The middle school modules are also divided into those units addressing math, social studies, science and language arts.  Each section includes objectives, a module overview, background information, suggested teaching strategies, directions for carrying out the investigation and extensions.

16. JASON Science: A nonprofit subsidiary of National Geographic

This curriculum, entitled Operation: Infinite Potential, addresses a number of energy-related topics.  Each mission, within the operation, includes mission objectives, a problem to solve, video and online resources, an introduction and briefing article, researcher tools, fast facts and examples, international connection, mission hands-on labs, connections, a field assignment, and journals and photo galleries.  Besides having full color booklets for each mission of the unit, the JASON Mission Center is an online hub for content and resources related to the unit. The missions serve to help students explore and define energy, understand how energy is transferred and transformed, investigate how we meet our energy needs, evaluate the role of alternative energy and create a blueprint for a secure energy future.

17. KidWind Project

The KidWind Project is a team of teachers, engineers and scientists committed to innovative energy education.  The lesson plans address energy notions, seeing the wind, wind farm models, designing wind turbine blades, wind power curves and local wind data.  Each lesson includes background information, objectives, suggested grade level, time and materials required, as well as instructions for carrying out the lesson/activity. In addition, math lessons are included that relate to wind energy and supplement student learning.  Finally, there are also PowerPoint presentations already prepared to introduce students to these important concepts.

18. Missouri Botanical Garden: In the Air Curriculum

The In the Air Curriculum focuses on a specific type of air pollution called airborne toxics and a subset of airborne toxics called Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAPs).  The module begins with a background written for adults on the key information needed to understand this problem.  The two series of modules are written for grades 3-6 and 6-8.  Each module or connecting activity includes correlation to national and Missouri state standards, an overview, goals, objectives, materials, preparation and presentation time, vocabulary, procedures, discussion questions, conclusions and extensions.  Student handouts are also included.

19. National Renewable Energy Laboratory

This organization has lesson plans developed by teachers and researchers on a variety of energy-related topics.  Because different people developed these lessons, each follows a different format.  The topics addressed by this series of lessons include computer-based energy projects, biofuels and cell walls, ethanol production, renewable energy plants, geothermal energy, solar energy and photovoltaics, ocean power, and transportation fuels. In general, most lessons include background information, correlation to national standards, an indication of grade-level appropriateness, a description of technology and project ideas, with suggestions for carrying them out and for buying materials.

20. National Energy Education Development (NEED) Project Curriculum

The NEED classroom activities exist for primary, elementary, intermediate, and secondary grade levels.  In addition, the guides also address a variety of energy topics including, science of energy, sources of energy, solar, water/hydropower, wind, ocean and marine energy, coal, oil and natural gas, hydrogen, electricity, transportation, energy efficiency and conservation.  All NEED curriculum guides include background information, teacher guides, student guides, and student evaluation and assessment.  There is also a poll that can be used as a pre- and post-test.  In addition, each curriculum guide refers to kits that can be rented out or purchased from NEED.  The teacher guides include correlation to national standards, a brief background, important concepts, time, materials and procedures, teacher information and hints for carrying out each activity.  The student guides include nonfiction reading for information, instructions for activities, including the purpose, procedure, data tables and questions to help them draw conclusions.

21. NIH: Science of Energy Balance: Calorie Intake and Physical Activity

This curriculum supplement complements existing life science curricula consistent with NSES. The module serves to introduce students to key concepts of energy balance and provide a context within which nutrition concepts learned at other times can be better understood. The module is set up using inquiry-based activities aligned to the 5E model, where students investigate energy intake and energy output.  The science content addressed includes what is energy?; physical activity, Food as a source of energy, the energy balance equation, factors affecting energy balance and strategies for achieving energy balance. Each lesson includes an overview, major concepts, objectives, teacher background, student handouts, a procedure for the activity, formative assessment opportunities, web connections and discussion questions.

22. NYS Energy Activities: Photovoltaics

This includes a series of 5 lessons that focus on solar energy.  This includes an introduction to photovoltaics, units of measuring energy, manipulating a PV applet, working with mini solar panels, building a community of solar schools, and enrichment activities.  Each activity includes an overview, prior knowledge, time, materials, preparation, procedures, student handouts and an answer key.

23. Solar Education for NY: SchoolPower…Naturally

Each lesson includes a title, learning outcome, lesson overview, grade-level appropriateness, materials, safety and instructions for teaching the lesson.  In addition, student handouts with answer-keys are included and links to state and national standards.  Topics addressed include energy misconceptions, fossil fuels, solar power, oil refinery chemistry, photosynthesis, water cycle, acid rain, and greenhouse gases.  In addition a series of lessons exist to go along with a Solar Kit.  The topics addressed include solar cell inquiry, solar panels, building an ammeter, measuring maximum power, calibrating a radiation meter, solarizing a toy and electrolysis.

24. Stanford Solar Center

The unit called Sun on Earth is intended to supplement grades 5-8 science.  The guide includes a teacher overview (objectives, science concepts, correlation to NSES, materials list), science and science career explorations, answer keys, and student handouts. Students investigate sunlight and plants, greenhouses, evaporation, solar energy and radio waves.

25. Trustworthy Cyber Infrastructure for the Power Grid: TCIP

This series of power and energy lesson guides take students through power and energy in the home, power economics and emissions, and the power grid. The guides interact with a power and energy applet designed to simulate a large scale power system network. Students explore the applet and answer a series of questions after exploring and specifically manipulating the applet.

26. Texas Energy Education

This supplement covers five units: energy, fuels, technology, environment and renewables.  Each unit contains individual sections and you can navigate through each section online. Each section contains background information on relevant topics, vocabulary, lesson objectives, investigations/activities and web resources.  Printer-friendly files for curriculum, including lesson objectives, investigations, activities and appendices are found in the Teacher Resources section.  Each activity includes background information, introduction to the investigation, a space to fill in the problem, space to fill in the hypothesis, materials list, procedure and space to fill in data and write up conclusions.

27. Texas Renewable Energy Lessons: Infinite Power of Texas Units of Study

The units introduce students to concepts such as solar, wind, and biomass energy, energy conservation and alternative vehicle power.  The existing units were created to address three grade level groups: 4 and 5 (elementary); 6,7, and 8 (middle); and 9, 10, 11, 12 (high).  Each unit contains an overview, objectives as they related to Texas standards, suggested timeframe, summary of activities and student data sheets. The general format of activities is a teacher introduction (including an anticipatory set), assessment of current knowledge, vocabulary review and reading passage, homework assignment, pre-lab and lab, Internet research, post-lab, assessment and extension.  Topics covered include renewable energy and sustainability, energy from the sun, biomass, wind power and photovoltaics.

28. Tennessee Valley Authority: TVA Programs for Kids and Teacher Resources

Major topics include electric power production, energy conservation, energy and the environment, renewable energy resources, transportation, new energy technologies, and factsheets. The activities in the sourcebook involve several different types of exercises: pencil and paper activities, outdoor activities, home-based activities, role-playing activities, laboratory and/or experimental activities, construction activities.  The idea is that students have the opportunity to explore subjects using different approaches and the teacher can pick the activities best suited to students’ needs and the environment. Each exercise includes objectives, background information, subjects addressed, time, materials, important terms and a procedure for completing the exercise.

  1. 29.Union of Concerned Scientists: RenewablesReady_fullreportonTeachingGuide.pdf

This guide was written to help teacher introduce students to renewable energy technologies and the political and economic issues surrounding them.  It contains a set of classroom activities with detailed instruction, and expanded list of project suggestions, ideas for student-led education and action campaigns, and resources for further investigation. Each activity is framed with an overview, objective, grade-level, subjects, time, materials, preparation and procedure for carrying out the activity.  The focus of this guide is on the differences between renewable and nonrenewable energy sources and the pros and cons of each.  In addition, the basic scientific and technical principles behind renewables and their applications are explored.

30.  Upper Cape Tech

This set of activities emerged from a vocational school with a focus on renewable energy sources.  The curriculum addresses solar thermal, photovoltaic, biodiesel, and wind energy with a strong emphasis on technology and hands-on applications.  The lessons are related to Massachusetts academic and career/technical education standards.  The goals of the curriculum is to improve student achievement, educate students about renewable energy, train educators in renewable energy, integrate project-based learning and train students for jobs that can’t be outsourced. Most lessons include a performance objective, what is given to the student, what the student will do and how you judge success (assessment and evaluation criteria).  The lessons are intended to address programs in electrical, environmental science, plumbing, heating and air conditioning, and environmental technology.  The link is continually updated and comments and communication with the coordinator are encouraged.

31. US DOE: Wind and Hydropower Technologies Program

Two activity guides: Wind Energy Guide and Hydrogen and Fuel Cells Activity Guide.  The wind energy guide includes teacher information, ideas for sparking children’s and students’ interest, suggestions for activities to undertake in and outside the classroom, and research tools for both teachers and students.  For each grade level group, discussion topics, projects, and activities are outlined.  Finally, a directory of resources is included at the end. The Hydrogen and Fuel Cells Activity Guide is comprised of four sections, introduction, hydrogen, fuel cells and putting all together: the hydrogen economy.  The guide is 106 pages with pre- and post-knowledge inventories and a series of activities to teach students about the hydrogen economy.  The activities include a summary, standard alignment, teacher background, materials, activity steps and student handouts.

32. Watts on Schools

These activities are provided to help students learn about solar energy.  The activities are divided into lower elementary, upper elementary, middle school, and high school appropriate.  Each activity includes a general overview, which includes grade level, general description, learning outcome, subjects, process skills, duration, key vocabulary and curriculum standard alignment.  The general layout of the activity includes a creative title, materials, methods for the teacher to carry out the activity, background information, discussion questions and student handouts. Some activities are games, others include using worksheets to find and manipulate information, while others include carrying out scientific investigations or hands-on activities.

33. Energy Star

Energy star creates and adapts activities to help students learn about their products.  For example, one lesson compares light bulbs and another is to help students become an energy efficiency ambassador.  Each activity includes the subject, grades, background, objectives, lesson plan, and extension/alternate activities.

34. Bay Area Air Quality Management District: Protect Your Climate Curriculum

This complete curriculum includes 16 lessons which address climate change basics, reducing impacts from energy use, reducing impacts from waste and reducing impacts from transportation.  The target grade levels are 4th and 5th, although it can be adapted to be suitable for other grades as well.  The unit culminates in a project, designing a clean air city.  The curriculum designers have tool kits available which have all the necessary items for completing each lesson and begin each major section with background reading to give the teacher enough prior knowledge to teach the lessons.  The lessons are set up such as they include time needed for the lesson, skills and knowledge to be gained, connections to California state standards, materials needed, a brief summary of the lesson, important terms and tips for preparing to teach each lesson.  This lesson overview page is followed by the lesson procedure, which contains guidelines for engaging students, conducting experiments and activities and assessing student knowledge. In addition, each section includes a service learning project to inspire change at home, at school or in the community.

35. U.S. Department of the Interior: Ocean Energy

This curriculum supplement is intended to teach students about the many energy resources in, over, and under the ocean using background information, presentations, and hands-on activities.  The duration is generally about 10 class periods to complete all the activities. The content correlates to the NSES.  The supplement begins with background reading information and includes seven activities to explore oil seeps, drill for oil in the ocean, oil rigs (stationary and floating), explore currents, explore wave energy and explore wind energy.  Each activity contains a list of materials, a procedure, results and questions to deduce a conclusion.

36. School Building Week: School of the Future, Design Competition Curriculum

This curriculum contains middle school math connections to green schools including units on the ideal learning environment (environment vocabulary, geometry in architecture, space conservation and green schools) and designing the floor plan (scale drawings, measurement, design, ratios, proportions, and measuring energy).  This unit attempts to focus on the end product of designing a school, in order to extend and apply math standards. The lessons emphasize mathematics, as well as English, social studies, health and other sciences.  The curriculum is flexible and adaptable and can lead to participation in the School Building Week School of the Future Design Competition. Each lesson includes a title, math standards addressed, approximate time needed, type of activities  (i.e. independent, cooperative learning, pairing, lecture, hands-on activities, whole group instruction, etc.), class starter, objectives, materials, step-by-step procedures, guided/independent practice, assessment, ideas for differentiation and adaptations, closure and additional resources.

37. R.E.A.C.T.: Renewable Energy Activities- Choices for Tomorrow

This teacher’s activity guide for middle level grades 6-8 was designed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory Education Programs and is aligned to the Colorado state science standards.  The concepts developed in this kit include what energy is, how energy is converted, renewable technologies: wind, water, biomass and solar.  The activities include energy content and a hands-on approach to motivating students following the teaching-learning model. The steps of this model include: invite, explore/discover/create, propose explanations and solutions, and take action. A teacher’s background is included to help teachers with basic energy concepts, activities are outlined and student handouts are included.

38. Junior Solar Sprint: Classroom Investigations

This package of investigations is intended to aid the teacher in exploring different components for a model solar car with students.  The investigations give some background on the topic and discuss the different variables that go into each phenomena and each one helps students to optimize their solar cars.  The activities are intended to be as “real engineering world” as possible. Each investigation includes background information, materials and a procedure to complete the investigation and the series of activities culminate in a race of the cars in a controlled environment.

  1. 39.The Keystone Center CSI: Climate Status Investigations

This curriculum website provides over 65 lessons developed to introduce middle and high school teachers and their students to the topic of climate change.  In addition, the lessons are designed to help students think about the problem in news ways and devise potential solutions.  The lessons are set up as investigations of climate change and span four disciplines: math, language arts, science and social studies. All activities are aligned to the National Education Standards and include background information, materials lists, and student assessments.  Lessons and labs also include the use of technology when appropriate.

  1. 40.BLM Campbell Creek Science Center: Get Energized!

Get Energized! was developed by the Bureau of Land Management for a national audience.  It is intended to create an energy literate citizenry in order to achieve a balance to serve the American public and sustain the health of the Earth.  The curriculum includes an online component and an educator’s guide to introduce students to an energy snapshot, powering our planet and quiz them on watt do you know? Topics explored include the energy connections to their own lives, the role of public lands, advantages and disadvantages of different energy sources, the role of technology and the importance of energy conservation.