# Your Renewable Energy World Teacher s Guide

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2 Word Find Activity: The following energy words and phrases are highlighted in green throughout the booklet: Page 3 electrons, atoms, molecules, nucleus, fission, nuclei, fusion Page 4 generator, turbine Page 5 electrical circuit Page 6 uranium Page 7 wind power, solar energy, geothermal energy, hydropower, ocean energy Page 8 solar cells Page 14 biomass, methane gas Page 4: How Electricity Is Made Objective: To explain how electricity is generated at a power plant (by the turning of turbines that generate a flow of electricity), and how renewable energy sources turn turbines. Background/Discussion: The illustration is a simplified diagram of how energy is generated and then transported to buildings. Inside the brown circle is a magnified depiction of the generator, which is housed inside the power plant (the gray building at the top right of the illustration). Within the generator, energy is transferred from the energy source to the turbine blades. The turbine is attached to an axle and a very large magnet. The spinning of the turbine causes the axle and magnet to spin. As the magnet spins, it creates a flow of electricity in the huge coil of wire surrounding it. The mechanical energy of the spinning coil changes to electrical energy in the wire, which is then hooked up to power lines. The electricity then travels along power lines supported by tall towers (top center), and then through substations (blue image at top left), where the strength of the electricity is reduced. From there, it travels along distribution lines (supported by power poles) to homes and other buildings. The illustration does not include a depiction of underground power lines, but in some neighborhoods power lines are not on poles but buried under the ground. Ask students if they have seen any electrical equipment in their neighborhood or town. Explain the importance of these in bringing electricity to their homes and school, and ask the class to name all of the things in their classroom that use electricity. Puzzle Answers: 1. Wind power 2. Hydropower 3. Geothermal 4. Biomass 5. Solar power Page 5: Which Circuits Will Work? Objective: To teach the characteristics of an electrical circuit. Background/Discussion: This lesson supports physical science content standards for electrical circuits. Electricity in circuits can produce light, heat, sound, and magnetic effects. Electrical circuits require a complete loop through which an electrical current can pass. They provide a means of transferring energy when heat, light, sound, and chemical changes are produced. Your Renewable Energy World, Teacher s Guide #73575 Page 2

6 Page 13: Under Pressure Geothermal Objective: To explain how geothermal energy can be used to generate electricity, and to explore the advantages and challenges of this energy resource. Background/Discussion: In geothermal power plants steam, heat, or hot water from geothermal reservoirs provides the force that spins the turbine generators and produces electricity. The used geothermal water is then returned down an injection well into the reservoir to be reheated, to maintain pressure, and to sustain the reservoir. Although it is renewable, geothermal energy has some limitations: people must be careful not to draw steam or hot water out of the earth faster than it can be replenished. Layer It On Activity: Students should draw the core in the center of the illustration, then the mantle, the magma, and finally the crust as the outermost layer. Bonus: Geothermal activity is found in many parts of the world and is used to generate electricity in the western United States, Russia, China, France, Sweden, Hungary, Romania, and Japan. Page 14: Growing Energy Biomass Objective: To explain the various types of biomass energy that can be used for electricity generation and transportation, and to explore the advantages and challenges of this energy resource. Background/Discussion: While wood is the largest biomass resource, biomass also comes from agricultural crop waste, municipal and industrial waste, and energy farms where crops are grown specifically for energy production. Like fossil fuels and nuclear energy, biomass can be burned to heat water into steam, which is pressurized and used to turn a turbine. Biomass can also be converted to methane gas and used for fuel. Methane is created when organic waste decomposes in landfills (through the process of anaerobic bacterial digestion) and can then be siphoned off and used to power turbines that generate electricity. Biomass resources can also be used to produce liquid transportation fuels, such as ethanol and biodiesel. Landfill in a Bag Activity: The process taking place inside the sealed bag is anaerobic digestion, which has methane gas as one of its by-products. This is one form of creating energy from leftover waste. If this bag were at a biomass power plant, the odorous gas inside the bag would be used to heat water into steam to turn a turbine! Page 15: Inventing Our Energy Future Objective: To motivate students to think creatively about what our energy supplies will be in the future. Inventor s Challenge Activity: Encourage students to share their energy ideas with a partner or with the whole class. Bonus: As a synthesizing activity to cover all the forms of renewables resources that have been discussed in the book, ask students to create a large chart describing all the pros and cons for each of the energy sources listed in the booklet. This could be done in groups or together as a class on the board. Back Cover: Energy Saver Quiz Objective: To teach students 10 easy ways to save energy at home, and to encourage students and their families to practice these energy-saving habits together. Your Renewable Energy World, Teacher s Guide #73575 Page 6

7 Background/Discussion: Discuss with students how saving energy helps the environment and can also help families save money. Assign students the quiz for homework and ask them to do it together with a parent or other adult. Ask students to bring the completed quizzes and signed pledges back to class. As a group, predict which energy-saving habits are most common among your class. Then review the results of the quiz. For each habit, tally the A s, S s, and N s and post them on the board in a list or chart. Which habits are most common? Which are least common? Explore with students why some energy-saving behaviors may be easier for their families to adopt than others. Your Renewable Energy World, Teacher s Guide #73575 Page 7

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