Using Model Generators to Explore Alternative Energy

Where does electricity come from?  For many students, the answer is obvious: “an outlet!”  However, when they are asked to trace the route to the outlet back further, some students will follow the electric lines back to a power plant, and there the trail often goes cold.  When comparing and assessing alternative energies, it can be difficult to get students to move beyond the obvious, largely because they don’t really understand how power is generated.

Lesson 1: Using Model Enerators to Explore Alternative Energy

In this lesson, students experiment with model generators to answer the question, “Where does electricity come from?”  They then apply that knowledge by viewing and reading case studies about innovations in power generation.  The students identify what energy source is turning the generator and what aspect of generation is being improved in each innovation.

Lesson 2: Using Model Turbines to Explore Energy

Students will describe the ideal conditions for turbine rotation and identify key characteristics to consider when placing a turbines. Students will analyze a topographic map and suggest ideal locations for building a hydroelectric power plant.

Author: Pamela Weghorst

Download of a zip file of the lessons and supporting documents.