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Master Lesson List
Fundamentals of Energy
Featured Lesson
Our Town Microgrid Challenge
Climate Change
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Greenhouse Effect
Energy Efficiency
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Conducting a Classroom Energy Audit
Green Jobs
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Exploring Green Jobs
Green Schools
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Ecological Footprint
Video Clips and Games
Connecticut Frameworks Alignment
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CT Legislation and Policy Resources
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Fundamentals of Energy

Fundamentals of Energy includes lessons in the properties of energy, energy sources and electric use. Some lessons also share a focus on Climate Change.
Available Lessons:
Cat-Traption explores different forms of energy and transitions between those forms. The lesson ideas link an online animation with worksheets and activities to help students understand energy forms.
Alternating and Direct Current
This lesson links to an online Physics applet that allows students to simulate a generator's output of alternating or direct current
Introductions to Energy Use
Introductions to Energy Use can be used as an introduction to different kinds of energy units, including energy fuel sources, climate change related to energy use, and energy efficiency studies. The introductions can also be used to illustrate to students the historical perspective of energy use over time in the Unite States.
Discovering Ohm's Law
Using a computer model of a circuit board, the students will explore the relationship of resistance, voltage and current in series and parallel circuits. They will discover Ohm's Law by constructing series circuits with one resistor and putting the resultant resistance, current and voltage into a worksheet.
How Electricity is Generated
This lesson provides two student assignments designed to assist in learning the steps of electric power generation and the energy transformations involved in each of those steps.
Law of Radioactive Decay
This lesson links to an online Physics applet that allows students to simulate the decay of a radioactive isotope.
Compact Fluorescent and LED Cost-Benefit Analysis
The Compact Fluorescent lesson provides teachers and students with the means to connect energy use consequences and climate change causes in a “take home message.” Through examining home energy use, calculating potential savings and pollution caused by the generation of electricity, students can internalize each of these issues and share information with their families.
Putting Energy in Perspective
Putting Energy in Perspective was a part of the larger Introductions to Energy Use lesson.It can be used to illustrate to students the historical perspective of energy use over time in the United States, as well as presenting the possible courses that future energy use may offer.
There's a Thief in my Kitchen
That ceiling light may be stealing money from your family, heating up the room in summer and adding to greenhouse gases. This activity allows students to compare energy used by pairs of incandescent and compact fluorescent light bulbs. Some of the energy used by light bulbs is converted to heat energy, since this is not the intended use; this heat energy is considered waste.
Stabilization Wedges Game
This lesson and game was created to emphasize the need for early action in order to find solutions to the greenhouse gas problem. This game introduces the concept that no single action will be sufficient and only through a combination of many actions will a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide over the next 50 years be avoided. Adapted from: Stabilization Wedges: A Concept and Game
The Carbon Cycle Game
By rolling a die, students will simulate a molecule of carbon's movement throughout various sinks and sources within the carbon cycle
Siting a Power Plant
Siting a Power Plant introduces the decision making process behind locating a power plant and choosing the type of fuel the plant should use. In this activity, students will determine if their town would be suitable for the placement of a new 200 MW electric generating power plant and the factors associated with making this decision.
Your Source of Energy
In the first part of this activity students will explore the role the sun plays in providing much of the Earth’s energy through photosynthesis. Students will make connections between energy from the sun and the energy in the food they eat. They will also make connections between the energy from the sun and other forms of energy they use in their daily lives. The second part of the activity asks students to locate the commercial electric generators in their state. Students will explore an Energy Information Administration data set to better understand electricity generation in the state. These lessons have been adapted from Missouri Department of Natural Resources, Energy for Missouri: Today and Tomorrow.
How does the electricity I use compare to the national average?
The impact electricity has on air emissions is determined by the fuel mix used to generate the electricity. The fuel mix varies according to location and fuel availability. Determin the fuel mix of the electricity you use with an EPA interactive site, and compare that to the fuel mix and air emissions in other parts of the country, and the nation's average.
Nuclear Energy
Nuclear Energy is an important source of energy, not only Connecticut, but the United States. The objective of this lesson is to introduce students to the concept of nuclear energy. Students will be able to describe how nuclear energy is generated through a nuclear chain reaction, be able to identify the process to convert nuclear energy to electricity, identify the physical barriers that protect us from an accidental release of nuclear material from the power plant, and discuss the governmental role of regulating the nuclear energy industry. This lesson is a great complement to the Nuclear Waste Disposal Lesson and the Radioactive Decay Lesson.
Nuclear Waste Disposal
Nuclear Energy is an important source of energy for not only Connecticut, but the United States. The objective of this lesson is to help students understand how and where nuclear waste is stored and plans for the future. At the end of this lesson students will be able to identify the different types and sources of nuclear waste and understand the volume of the waste that exists in the United States. Students will understand how spent nuclear fuel is created and be able to describe the current handling and disposal methods practiced and identify the important safety characteristics of a disposal facility. This lesson is a great complement to the Nuclear Energy in Connecticut Lesson and Radioactive Decay Lesson.
Energy in the 9.3 Standard Unit
This unit plan provides resources and a format for teachers to comprehensively address the 9.3 Connecticut Science Standard: “Various sources of energy are used by humans and all have advantages and disadvantages.” The unit is set up in a layered curriculum that may be used as a whole or in parts. The comprehensive unit provides base knowledge activities at the “C Level”, and growth activities at the “B Level” and “A Level”.
Conducting a Classroom Energy Audit
This lesson is designed to be used as an overview format which teachers can use to help students understand components of energy efficiency within their classrooms and schools. The unit is split into categories including classroom envelope, classroom energy use, heating and cooling, lighting and controls, and energy efficient classroom examples.
Greenhouse Effect
The Greenhouse effect and its link to Climate Change can be an abstract concept for some students. This lesson ties together readings and an experiment that help students apply information to a lab situation. The lesson includes readings from NEED.org, and an inquiry lab measuring the effect of carbon dioxide and temperature change in an enclosed environment.
Nuclear Resources
There are many web-based resources to support classroom lessons in nuclear energy. This supplement includes links to resources shared in our Summer 2011 workshop at Millstone Nuclear Power Plant.
Student Energy Misconceptions
In spite of the First Law of Thermodynamics, a student might tell you “Energy is not conserved---we are running out of it!” What misconceptions about energy do your students bring to the classroom?
Rube Goldberg Challenge
Energy transformations are a hard concept for many students. This lesson can be used to both inspire and challenge your students to demonstrate transformations. Based on the whimsical cartoons by Rube Goldberg in the early 1900's, illustrating complex machines to do simple tasks, this Challenge will allow students to use their knowledge and imaginations.
Personal Wedges Game
This lesson and game was created to empower students to decrease CO2 emissions in their lives now and provide ways they can continue to decrease CO2 emissions over the next 50 years. The game was designed to be used in combination with the Stabilization Wedges Game. This combination allows students to see the contributions of CO2 on a world wide basis and then bring it to a more personal level. As with the Stabilization Wedges, the overarching message is that reduction of CO2 emissions will not be done with a singe action but with a combination of many actions built upon over years. Adapted from: Stabilization Wedges: A Concept and Game http://www.princeton.edu/~cmi/resources/stabwedge.htm
Our Town Microgrid Challenge
Students will develop plans for an energy microgrid for their town, weighing costs, environmental concerns, location, and emergency needs. Students will present their work to their peers, and to town leaders/planners and discuss real-world concerns and actions. This unique unit allow students to create engineering solutions for their own town.