New School Dilemma!

 

Students, teachers, and staff at a nearby school (Justin Elementary School) are in trouble! Their school building is very old and it is falling apart. School often gets cancelled because of issues with the building, like frozen pipes, gas leaks, and floods. This is a huge problem for the students because they can't come to school to learn every day. 

Because of these problems, the city has granted Justin Elementary School $30 million to build a brand new school! While Principal Powers is very excited, she needs help making some decisions. Mrs. Powers does not know what type of energy the school should use. There are many more options today than there were 100 years ago when the old school was built.

Since you and your class just learned about energy and Earth's resources, Mrs. Powers thinks you can help! She even said that once the school is built, you can all come visit to see the school and visit areas like the library, swimming pool, gymnasium, and cafeteria. 

 

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Your task, as scientists of Morgan Elementary School, is to provide a recommendation to the principal of the nearby Justin Elementary school for what type of energy they should use when building their brand new school.

Write a letter to Mrs. Powers sharing your recommendation. Be sure to explain whether you believe the energy should come from a renewable or non-renewable source, and what the source would be. Include lots of facts and information to support your decision.

Additionally, think of an energy-conservation program for the school to participate in to help them conserve energy. Explain how and why the program would work to conserve energy. Again, provide lots of facts and information to support your recommendation.  

To complete this task, you are going to work with an assigned partner. See your teacher if you do not know who your partner is. 

Step 1: Start by reviewing what you know about earth's resources and energy. Check the notes that you have from class and the assignments you have completed. If you need help, see the video in the resources section below. 

Step 2: You and your partner are going to gather information on renewable and non-renewable energy. Each partner will gather information about one of the two types of energy (resources provided below). Take notes about the type of energy you are investigating to share with your partner. Your notes should include:

  • definition of the type of energy 
  • examples and nonexamples
  • reasons why this type of energy may be good
  • reasons why this type of energy may be bad
  • any other information you think may be important to making your decision. 

Step 3: Once you and your partner have gathered enough information, you must share your findings with one another. Together, you must decide which type of energy you think would be best for the new Justin Elementary School. 

Step 4: Once you and your partner have decided between renewable and non-renewable energy for the new school, you must choose a specific source of energy for the school. With your partner, use the resources provided below to investigate the different options you have. Take some notes about each option, gathering similar information as you did for the two broad types (definitions, pros/cons, etc.). Use this information to help you decide what specific source of energy would be best for the new school. Be sure to consider the environment when making this decision. For example, solar energy is not reliable in an area that is usually cloudy and rainy. 

Step 5: Now that you've decided on a type of energy and a specific source, you must consider how the students and staff at the school can conserve energy. In class, you have learned about the importance of conserving energy. For review, you can see the resource provided below. Using the other resources provided for this step as inspiration, brainstorm with your partner. Try to think of ways for the whole school to participate in conserving energy. Narrow down your brainstorm to 3 great ideas for conserving energy.

Step 6: Now it is time to present your ideas. You and your partner must create a presentation for Principal Powers. Your presentation can be a speech, PowerPoint, poster board, or anything else that you think will help you make your argument. 

Start your presentation with explaining the type of energy you chose for Justin Elementary School...

  • First, define the type of energy you chose and provide at least 3 reasons for making your decision.
  • Next, you need to explain the source you chose for the energy. Again, provide at least 3 reasons for your decision. 

Continue your presentation by explaining the energy conservation ideas you have for the students and staff at the new school. 

  • First, explain why it is important to conserve energy (provide 3 reasons).
  • Next, explain 3 ideas for conserving energy at the new school.  

Finally, end your presentation by quickly summarizing your presentation and explaining to Principal Powers why she should follow your recommendation. 

If you an your partner would like, you may split up the tasks for the presentation, with one of you working on the first section and one of you working on the second section. Just be sure that you BOTH understand and agree on all aspects of the presentation. 

Resources: 

Step 1: 

Step 2: 

Renewable energy information: https://www.eia.gov/energyexplained/?page=renewable_home

Non-renewable energy information: https://www.eia.gov/energyexplained/?page=nonrenewable_home

***These sites also contain links to the specific types of energy that fall under each category. These links, along with the resources below, may help you with step 4. 

Step 4: 

Renewable energy: https://phys.org/news/2015-06-renewable-energy.html

Non-renewable energy: https://www.nationalgeographic.org/encyclopedia/non-renewable-energy/

Ohio's energy: https://www.puco.ohio.gov/be-informed/consumer-topics/how-does-ohio-generate-electricity/

Step 5: 

Why conserve energy?: http://legendpower.com/uncategorized/why-conserve-energy/ 

How to conserve energy: http://www.ase.org/resources/energy-saving-tips-schools

https://www.conserve-energy-future.com/151-ways-to-save-energy.php

 

 

The rubric for grading is below. Be sure to check this before presenting and make sure you have met all the criteria. You and your partner may not receive the same grade, depending on how fairly the work load was split, based on the partner evaluation forms. 

Rubric

  Poor (0 pts) Moderate (5 pts) Excellent (10 pts)
Recommendations NO recommendations are provided for EITHER the energy type/source OR energy conservation in the school. NO ideas for conserving energy are provided.  ONE recommendation is provided for EITHER the energy type/source OR energy conservation in the school. ONE OR TWO ideas for conserving energy are provided.  Recommendations are provided for BOTH the energy type/source and energy conservation in the school. THREE ideas for conserving energy are provided. 
Supporting Information The type of energy, the source of energy, and conservation each have NO statements that support the recommendation made. The type of energy, the source of energy, and conservation each have ONE OR TWO statements that support the recommendation made. The type of energy, the source of energy, and conservation each have THREE statements that support the recommendation made. 
Presentation The presentation meets NONE OR FEW of the requirements described in step 6. It is NOT visually appealing and NO students deliver information during the presentation.  The presentation meets SOME, BUT NOT ALL of the requirements described in step 6. It is SOMEWHAT visually appealing and ONE student delivers information during the presentation.  The presentation meets ALL of the requirements described in step 6. It is visually appealing and BOTH students deliver information during the presentation. 
Teamwork Partner evaluation form indicates that the work load was NOT AT ALL SPLIT between you and your partner Partner evaluation form indicates that the work load was SOMEWHAT FAIRLY SPLIT between you and your partner Partner evaluation form indicates that the work load was VERY FAIRLY SPLIT between you and your partner

 

Today you were a scientist and you had a very important job-- helping to decide what type of energy a new school should use. You learned about the different types of energy and their sources. You learned about the benefits and drawbacks of each in order to make a good recommendation for Principal Powers. 

Think about what would happen to the environment if every school was rebuilt and used non-renewable energy. Think about what would happen to the environment if every school was rebuilt and used renewable energy. Which do you think would be better for the environment? 

Taking what you learned from the energy conservation portion of this WebQuest, how do you think you can conserve energy at your school? What about at home? What can we scientists do to let people know how important energy conservation is? 

Think about these questions and what you've learned today. All of this new knowledge may be helpful to you as we continue our unit on the Earth's resources. 

Morgan Kubisch

ESS.3.2.1 - Earth's resources can be used for energy. 

Many of Earth's resources can be used for the energy they contain. Renewable energy is an energy resource, such as wind, water, or solar energy, that is replenished within a short amount of time by natural processes. Nonrenewable energy is an energy resource, such as coal or oil, that is a finite source that cannot be replenished in a short amount of time.