POP: Energy Debate

April 19, 2011 at 5:18 PM Leave a comment

We just finished studying atomic structure so we could pretty much understand radioactivity, risk and how nuclear energy worked. Just in time, as the Japanese disaster is unfurling.

The NEED Project has a useful booklet “Great Energy Debate – Students evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of the major energy sources in an innovative debate format”.


It’s pretty cool and saves a fair amount of research time while teaching students useful information and getting them to distinguish between ‘facts’ and not, and relevant to the argument and not. I had them also do a little more research online for one energy type – summary, pros, cons and 3 reliable sources.  

Then they use this chart in the NEED materials to compare the different types of energy as table groups. Using shiny, colored pebbles as markers, so much more fun that way.

Here’s the instructions sheet I gave them: 8.The Great Energy Debate

And finally, we used the Concept Connexion cards and a chart on the board to consider the pros and cons of each energy type by 4 ‘cost’ categories – Environmental, Health, Economic and Convenience.

You can see from SEVENTH period’s body language, that they are surprisingly engaged. 1st and 2nd period wanted to debate it formally so I put it in the “Kid’s Choice” hopper for the last two weeks of school.

Oil, gas and coal feature heavily in the debate and make a beautiful connection with the Problems with Oil Project and the Carbon Race we are in the middle of. Also to chemical reactions and combustion and the carbon cycle. So not even a waste of time from the standards point of veiw. Good thing as STAR tests are bearing down upon us!

Finally, mean ol’ me made ’em write an op-ed about what the mix of energy they recommend for the near future and in 50 years using evidence and trade-offs. Here’s the assignment and rubric in case you are interested: 8. Energy and Our Future Essay and Rubric

Entry filed under: Critical Thinking, Environmental Education, Inquiry and critical thinking, The Problems with Oil Project. Tags: , , , , .

TAP: Keeping it simple to make it happen. Physical vs Chemical Changes: Pancake Day

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