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  • High School

    Energy

Students who demonstrate understanding can:

Performance Expectations

  1. Create a computational model to calculate the change in the energy of one component in a system when the change in energy of the other component(s) and energy flows in and out of the system are known. HS-PS3-1

    Clarification Statement and Assessment Boundary

A Peformance Expectation (PE) is what a student should be able to do to show mastery of a concept. Some PEs include a Clarification Statement and/or an Assessment Boundary. These can be found by clicking the PE for "More Info." By hovering over a PE, its corresponding pieces from the Science and Engineering Practices, Disciplinary Core Ideas, and Crosscutting Concepts will be highlighted.

Science and Engineering Practices

Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking

Mathematical and computational thinking in 9–12 builds on K–8 experiences and progresses to using algebraic thinking and analysis, a range of linear and nonlinear functions including trigonometric functions, exponentials and logarithms, and computational tools for statistical analysis to analyze, represent, and model data. Simple computational simulations are created and used based on mathematical models of basic assumptions.

By clicking on a specific Science and Engineering Practice, Disciplinary Core Idea, or Crosscutting Concept, you can find out more information on it. By hovering over one you can find its corresponding elements in the PEs.

Planning Curriculum

Common Core State Standards Connections

ELA/Literacy

  • SL.11-12.5 - Make strategic use of digital media (e.g., textual, graphical, audio, visual, and interactive elements) in presentations to enhance understanding of findings, reasoning, and evidence and to add interest. (HS-PS3-1)

Mathematics

  • HSN-Q.A.1 - Use units as a way to understand problems and to guide the solution of multi-step problems; choose and interpret units consistently in formulas; choose and interpret the scale and the origin in graphs and data displays. (HS-PS3-1)
  • HSN-Q.A.2 - Define appropriate quantities for the purpose of descriptive modeling. (HS-PS3-1)
  • HSN-Q.A.3 - Choose a level of accuracy appropriate to limitations on measurement when reporting quantities. (HS-PS3-1)
  • MP.2 - Reason abstractly and quantitatively. (HS-PS3-1)
  • MP.4 - Model with mathematics. (HS-PS3-1)

Model Course Mapping

First Time Visitors

Resources & Lesson Plans

  • More resources added each week!
    A team of teacher curators is working to find, review, and vet online resources that support the standards. Check back often, as NSTA continues to add more targeted resources.
  • This lab activity has students making the connection between energy, the conservation of energy, work, and power. The lesson provides enough guidance to help students without directly stating what procedural steps to follow. This allows students to d ...

  • This is a lesson about elastic potential energy and conservation of energy as it relates to springs. The lab is performed with the spring from a push pen. In addition to the lab handouts, this resource also includes teaching tips.  The link ...

  • This resource is a worksheet which presents a situation in which Hot Wheels cars are released from various spots along an inclined plane so that their velocity can be measured at the bottom. In addition, the cars are allowed to crash into a small box ...

  • This resource is an online interactive activity that displays 12 different energy bar charts and requires students to match a written description with the charts. There is a scoring system that allows teachers to monitor student progress. This is an ...

  • This two and a half minute video shows the phenomenon of a bowling ball being swung as a pendulum. A person releases the ball in front of a volunteer’s face and the video shows what happens as the ball swings away and returns. The video ca ...

  • This resource requires students to use Conservation of Energy to determine the height a Hot Wheels car must be released from in order to complete a loop-the-loop. This resource does not teach the Law of Conservation of Energy, but it does require stu ...

  • This is a lab activity involving transformations between the gravitational potential energy, elastic potential energy, and kinetic energy of a system. An air track with a glider and a photo gate timer are needed to perform the lab. The lab is divided ...

  • The resource (beginning on page 15) gives excellent background information that derives the equation for the conservation of energy of a falling object. Using that background as a guide, the resource then has the students perform an experiment with a ...

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  • Students learn how to build simple piezoelectric generators to power LEDs. To do this, they incorporate into a circuit a piezoelectric element that converts movements they make (mechanical energy) into electrical energy, which is stored in a capacito...

  • This simplified animation of a geothermal power plant from the U.S. Department of Energy illustrates commonalities with traditional power-generating stations. While there are many types of geothermal power plants, this animation shows a generic plan...

  • This short video surveys the different current and potential sources of energy - both non-renewable and renewable. It provides some discussion of the pros and cons of the different sources and explains how they are used to produce energy that people...

  • Student teams design and build solar water heating devices that mimic those used in residences to capture energy in the form of solar radiation and convert it to thermal energy. In this activity, students gain a better understanding of the three diff...

  • In this short activity, students or groups are tasked to make concept sketches that track the source of electrical power as far back as they can conceive. The concept sketches reveal students' prior conceptions of the power grid and energy mix, and l...

  • In this activity, students calculate the cost of the energy used to operate a common three-bulb light fixture, and compare the costs and amount of CO2 produced for similar incandescent and compact fluorescent light bulbs.

  • In this 'Energy Education for the 21st Century' design challenge, students construct and evaluate a solar-powered model car. Students utilize the design process and undergo review by their peers to select an optimal gear ratio and components for thei...

  • Students gain experience using a spreadsheet and working with others to decide how to conduct their model 'experiments' with the NASA GEEBITT (Global Equilibrium Energy Balance Interactive Tinker Toy). This activity helps students become more familia...

  • This activity introduces wind energy concepts through a reading passage and by answering assessment questions. The main section of the activity involves constructing and testing a windmill to observe how design and position affect the electrical ener...

  • This activity includes an assessment, analysis, and action tool that can be used by classrooms to promote understanding of how the complex current issues of energy, pollution, supply, and consumption are not just global but also local issues.

  • This engaging video focuses on national and global wind energy potential by specifically highlighting Texas' role as wind energy leader and energy efficiency efforts in Houston, Texas.

  • This interactive diagram from the National Academy of Sciences shows how we rely on a variety of primary energy sources (solar, nuclear, hydro, wind, geothermal, natural gas, coal, biomass, oil) to supply energy to four end-use sectors (residential, ...

  • This video segment highlights how the U.S. military is the single largest user of energy in the nation, but it is also trying to reduce its carbon bootprint. Scenes taped at Fort Irwin and Camp Pendleton show the Army and Marines experimenting with w...

  • In this lab activity students generate their own biomass gases by heating wood pellets or wood splints in a test tube. They collect the resulting gases and use the gas to roast a marshmallow. Students also evaluate which biomass fuel is the best by t...

  • This introductory video describes the basic principles of residential geothermal heat pumps.

  • This video provides a simple introduction to wind turbines and how they generate electricity.

  • This set of flow charts illustrates energy sources and uses in 136 countries around the world. The data from 2007, but is still useful for comparing energy patterns in different countries. This is the first comprehensive package of worldwide, country...

  • This NOAA visualization on YouTube shows the seasonal variations in sea surface temperatures and ice cover from 1985 to 2007. The visualization is based on data collected by NOAA polar-orbiting satellites. El Niño and La Niña are easily identified,...

  • This NASA animation depicts thermohaline circulation in the ocean and how it relates to salinity and water density. It illustrates the sinking of water in the cold, dense ocean near Iceland and Greenland. The surface of the ocean then fades away and ...

  • This animation illustrates how heat energy from deep in Earth can be utilized to generate electricity at a large scale.

  • This map shows how much electrical power is produced from wind in each state from 1999 through 2010. The animation shows a general increase in the amount of wind power produced per state and the number of states producing it.

  • This NASA video reviews the role of the sun in driving the climate system. It uses colorful animations to illustrate Earth's energy balance and how increased greenhouse gases are creating an imbalance in the energy budget, leading to warming. The vid...

  • Sankey (or Spaghetti) diagrams parse out the energy flow by state, based on 2008 data from the Dept. of Energy. These diagrams can help bring a local perspective to energy consumption. The estimates include rejected or lost energy but don't necessari...

  • This Flash animation describes how hybrid-electric vehicles (HEVs) combine the benefits of gasoline engines and electric motors and can be configured to obtain different objectives, such as improved fuel economy, increased power, or additional auxili...

  • This is a series of 10 short videos, hosted by the National Science Foundation, each featuring scientists, research, and green technologies. The overall goal of this series is to encourage people to ask questions and look beyond fossil fuels for inno...

  • This interactive contains four animated slides that introduce the greenhouse effect. An additional animation offers to 'explore more'.

  • This is an interactive table with a comprehensive list of 29 greenhouse gases, their molecular structures, a chart showing a time series of their atmospheric concentrations (at several sampling sites), their global warming potential (GWP) and their ...

  • This video segment is adapted from Building Big, a PBS series hosted by David Macaulay. It explores Hoover Dam's hydroelectric capabilities by explaining how it is able to harness the potential energy stored in the reservoir and convert it to electri...

  • This video segment, adapted from NOVA scienceNOW, addresses how new technology can help monitor and modernize the infrastructure of the U.S. power grid, which is ill-equipped to handle our increasing demand for electricity. Video provides a great ove...

  • This video segment from 'What's Up in the Environment,' shares how an entire home can be constructed using green energy sources (solar and geothermal energy). Video is narrated by young boy whose father is the chief engineer on the project.

  • In this video segment from NOVA's Saved By the Sun hour-long video, students learn about photovoltaics and see how two families are using solar technologies in their homes. The video introduces the ideas of state incentives and net metering benefit...

  • This is a utility-scale, land-based map of the mean annual wind speed 80 meters above the ground. This map can be used to evaluate the potential for wind energy in the US. State maps and more information are linked from the main map.

  • This animation presents the characteristics of wind power as a source of clean energy. The viewer may examine how a wind turbine works by pausing and clicking on its components. They include a gear box, rotor, high-speed shaft, generator, wind vane, ...

  • This set of six interactive slides showcases how a typical photovoltaic cell converts solar energy into electricity. Explore the components of a photovoltaic cell, including the silicon layers, metal backing, antireflective coating, and metal conduct...

  • This video describes how geothermal heat resources in California have been tapped to supply 850 MW of electricity. Images and animations show how the area known as The Geysers has been developed to capture steam, produced from trapped rainwater and ...

  • This is a series of 5 guided-inquiry activities that examine data and models that climate scientists use to attempt to answer the question of Earth's future climate.

  • This activity leads students through a sequence of learning steps that highlight the embedded energy that is necessary to produce various types of food. Students start by thinking through the components of a basic meal and are later asked to review t...

  • In this interactive, students can investigate a typical hydrogen fuel cell prototype car from its fuel cell stacks to its ultracapacitor, a kind of supplementary power source. The limited-production vehicle seen in this feature is a Honda 2005 FC...

  • This video is one of a series of videos from the Switch Energy project. It describes three types of geothermal sources -- rare ones in which high temperatures are naturally concentrated near the surface, deep wells that require fracturing the rock an...

  • This video highlights the benefits of electric vehicles, including improved fuel efficiency, reduced emissions, and lower maintenance costs.

  • This suite of short video clips is part of a series produced by the Switch Energy project. There are several video segments that discuss different perspectives of biofuels as a renewable source of energy.

  • In this short but effective demonstration/experiment, students investigate how thermal expansion of water might affect sea level.

  • This video is essentially an infomercial about electric cars - components, challenges, benefits - narrated by Antonio Neves of the.News and featuring various members of the auto industry.

  • In this activity students learn how Earth’s energy balance is regulating climate. This activity is lesson 4 in the nine-lesson module Visualizing and Understanding the Science of Climate Change.

  • This video addresses the importance of efficiency in providing power to an increasingly large global population.

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    This interactive addresses the question if we can reduce CO2 emissions by 20% of 1990 levels and help avoid dangerous climate change? Users of this interactive can manipulate changes to various sources and uses (supply and demand) of energy with the ...

  • This video describes how Colorado has planned for and uses clean energy resources to reduce its carbon footprint.

  • This animated video outlines Earth's energy. The video presents a progression from identifying the different energy systems to the differences between external and internal energy sources and how that energy is cycled and used.

  • This animation allows students to explore the infrared spectra of greenhouse gases and depict the absorption spectra. Vibrational modes and Earth's energy spectrum can also be overlaid.

  • This lesson explores the chemistry of some of the greenhouse gases that affect Earth's climate. Third in a series of 9 lessons from an online module entitled 'Visualizing and Understanding the Science of Climate Change'.

  • In this activity, students play the role of energy consultants to a CEO, assessing and documenting the feasibility, cost, and environmental impact of installing solar power on 4 company facilities with the same design but in different geographical lo...

  • In this activity, students calculate electricity use by state and determine, using Google Earth, how much land would be required to replace all sources of electricity with solar panels.

Planning Curriculum gives connections to other areas of study for easier curriculum creation.