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All the world is a laboratory to the inquiring mind.
- Martin H. Fischer
Mornings are brisk as students wait for the school bus, catch a ride with a parent or walk down city streets and rural lanes on their way to school. Energy is an important topic in the classroom and the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy has resources to help students research that report or teachers set up lesson plans on topics ranging from hydrogen to wind energy and much more. There is a variety of great information available online—and at students' fingertips—that can point them to useful answers for a variety of energy-related questions. From resources for research papers to step-by-step science project plans, there truly is a wealth of information on efficiency and renewables available on the internet, much of which is categorized by age group to ensure that students are able to view content appropriate to their level of understanding.
But students aren't the only ones who can benefit from online energy resources. Teachers searching for lesson plans or classroom activities on energy-related topics have a treasure trove of web-based information to choose from. So, whether you're a student with an inquiring mind and a burning energy question or an educator teaching a classroom full of inquiring minds, the following websites should help to put you on the right track.
Resources for Students:
- Aimed at a mainly middle and high school audience, the EERE's Energy Education web page provides links to several student resources for reports on energy, including a useful Glossary of Energy Terms and a fascinating collection of photographs related to energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies.
- The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has a variety of renewable energy educational resources aimed at students, mainly in the areas of biomass, geothermal, hydrogen, solar and wind energies.
- Written with a younger audience in mind, the U.S. Department of Energy's Smart Energy Use page helps students and their parents conduct a home energy audit.
- Also great for younger kids, EERE's Kid's Saving Energy site boasts interactive energy games, a fun energy quiz, and information about a variety of renewable energy technologies.
- This History of Solar timeline traces the important moments in the development of solar technologies from the 7th Century B.C. to the modern day.
- Links to additional information on energy, environmental and general science topics can be found at the Alliance to Save Energy's Educational Resources page.
- Sandia National Labs has information for students on their Earth and Space Science educational pages that is fun and interesting.
Resources for Teachers:
- A variety of lesson plans and activities on energy efficiency and renewable energy topics and searchable by grade level are available through the EERE's Get Smart About Energy site.
- Also at EERE, this site contains links to a variety of science projects broken down by grade level from K-12 and suitable for at-home or classroom use.
- The Energy Information Administration's (EIA) Web page on Energy Efficiency and Energy Conservation Education Materials lists many public utilities, organizations and government agencies that provide educational materials to educators around the country, many at no cost.
- The Wind Powering America Program maintains an extensive listing of various educational materials, broken down by younger students and older students, at its Wind Energy Curricula, Tutorials, and Teaching Materials Web page.
- EERE's Hydrogen, Fuel Cells and Infrastructure Technologies Program contains lesson plans and activities, mainly appropriate for older students, on the science and principles behind hydrogen and fuel cells.
- If you're looking for experiments to help your students understand biofuels and biofuel production, there are a variety of project ideas available at this site, available through EERE's Biomass Program (PDF 197 KB). Download Adobe Reader.
- The Alliance to Save Energy provides a variety of multidisciplinary lesson plans on energy topics for elementary, middle and high school age children.
Ready for more? There are even a few sites out there that provide a little something for everyone. The California Energy Commission's Energy Quest site and the Energy Information Administration's Energy Kid's Page are both colorful and interactive websites with a variety of activities sure to be of interest to and elementary and middle school aged children. And an extensive list of lesson plans and classroom activities at each site provide a variety of resources for both teachers and parents alike.