The Science of Energy – Science NetLinks

The Science of Energy
© 2012

Energy is the ability to do work, where work means moving something, lifting something, warming something, or lighting something. Where does this energy come from? How do people go about collecting it? How is it distributed? There are also many different forms of energy, including: fossil fuels, electricity, biomass, geothermal, hydro, nuclear, solar, and wind. This collection of Science NetLinks resources shines a light on the types of lessons, tools, and interactives available to help students understand energy.

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  • Just Turn It Off

    K-2  |  Hands-On
    In this lesson, students will probe the problem of what happens to a battery-operated flashlight when it is not turned off.
  • The Warmth of the Sun

    K-2  |  Hands-On
    Students will take a closer look at the sun and begin to recognize its critical function in heating and warming the air, land, and water that sustain our lives.
  • Energy Sources and Use

    3-5  |  Hands-On
    In this lesson, students distinguish between renewable and nonrenewable sources of energy while comparing the benefits and drawbacks of each.
  • Power Up!

    3-5  |  Interactive
    In this lesson, students compare and contrast different energy sources and the trade-offs of using them.
  • Sensing Energy

    In this lesson, students will perform simple experiments that will help them to explore unseen energy produced by the sun.
  • When Things Start Heating Up

    3-5  |  Hands-On
    This lesson is intended to give students a general idea of how heat is produced from human-based activities and mechanical and electrical machines.
  • Converting Energy

    In this lesson, students will study energy through the idea of energy transformations and conversions.
  • Energy for You

    In this lesson, students will learn about the sources of the energy that supply their community.
  • Energy Resources and Trade-Offs

    6-8  |  Interactive
    In this lesson, students look at different energy resources, where they come from, what they produce, and the trade-offs of using them.
  • The Transfer of Energy 2: Electrochemistry

    6-8  |  Hands-On
    This lesson is intended to increase students’ understanding of electron transfer and its role in chemical changes.
  • Transforming Energy

    In this lesson, students investigate how electrical energy can be produced from a variety of energy sources and then transformed to almost any other form of energy.
  • Energy: The U.S. in Crisis?

    In this lesson, students research and assess past, present, and future decisions related to energy shortages.
  • Green Roof Design

    In this student-centered learning model, students work collaboratively in small teams to design a heat- and water-conserving “green roof” of plant material for an urban apartment building.
  • Searching for Oil: The Role of Science and Technology

    In this lesson, students explore how geoscientists use technology and computer modeling to find oil and natural gas.
  • Splitting the Atom

    In this lesson students explore the history of the splitting of the atom.
  • Star Power! Discovering the Power of Sunlight

    9-12  |  Hands-On
    In this lesson, students will discover that sunlight and the electromagnetic spectrum are the main tools with which we study objects in the solar system.

Science Updates

  • Fossil Fuel Switch

    6-12  |  Audio
    Learn about a thirty-year plan to replace 70 percent of our fossil fuels, using only current technologies like storable solar power, safer nuclear plants, and methanol from crop waste.
  • Houses and Environment

    6-12  |  Audio
    As number of households is increasing faster than the human population is growing, it puts a strain on our energy resources.
  • Solar Power from Moon

    6-12  |  Audio
    Solar power is clean, abundant, and becoming cheaper and more efficient all the time. Unfortunately, however, the sun isn’t always there when you need it—like when it’s cloudy, or it’s raining, or it’s nighttime. In this Science Update, you’ll hear about an ambitious plan to get around that problem.



  • Energy in a High-Tech World

    Science NetLinks has developed a number of resources that examine the science behind energy and oil refining.

Other Resources

National Energy Action Month
Grade Band: 6-12 
Description: October marks National Energy Action Month and people are encouraged to take action “to achieve greater energy security, a more robust economy, and a healthier environment for our children.”

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