In this lesson, students explore solar and wind power—two important renewable energy sources. Unlike the nonrenewable energy sources that humans currently use (fossil fuels, coal and natural gas), solar and wind power can quickly replenish themselves and are usually available in a never-ending supply. Acting as residents of different regions, students weigh the pros and cons of each renewable energy option for a region, and make a recommendation based on their evaluation.
RenewableEnergy_v3_3_31_2015.docx (DOCX - 4.721 MB)
Students learn why there is a need to explore renewable energy sources. They will explore how wind and solar energy work and analyze the pros and cons of each as renewable energy sources. They then act as residents of different regions in the U.S. trying to decide if and where they should locate a wind farm and/or solar farm in a specific area. During the decision-making process, students explore factors that are considered when proposing renewable energy for a region (e.g., avoid disrupting ecologically sensitive areas and important wildlife habitat) and make a recommendation based on their evaluation. The lesson includes the use of wind and solar maps from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory to support students’ investigations.