Energy Resources: The 12 Biggest Breakthroughs in Energy Technology

M.M. Eboch Epic!
Type Category
Instructional Materials
Informative Text
This resource, vetted by NSTA curators, is provided to teachers along with suggested modifications to make it more in line with the vision of the NGSS. While not considered to be "fully aligned," the resources and expert recommendations provide teachers with concrete examples and expert guidance using the EQuIP rubric to adapted existing resources. Read more here.



This nonfiction text, The 12 Biggest Breakthroughs in Energy Transfer, by M. M. Eboch, introduces students to many of our major sources of energy. It tells the stories of how technologies were developed to allow us to access these energy resources. It is available free to teachers at, or it can be purchased in paperback.

Intended Audience

Educator and learner
Educational Level
  • Upper Elementary
Access Restrictions

Free access - The right to view and/or download material without financial, registration, or excessive advertising barriers.

Performance Expectations

4-ESS3-1 Obtain and combine information to describe that energy and fuels are derived from natural resources and their uses affect the environment.

Clarification Statement: Examples of renewable energy resources could include wind energy, water behind dams, and sunlight; non-renewable energy resources are fossil fuels and fissile materials. Examples of environmental effects could include loss of habitat due to dams, loss of habitat due to surface mining, and air pollution from burning of fossil fuels.

Assessment Boundary: none

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this performance expectation, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
This book includes an overview of many energy sources (petroleum, sun, wind, water, nuclear, geothermal) and some discussion of environmental effects of these resources. To more fully address this performance expectation, students should use multiple resources and dig deeper into why we would choose one energy source over another. Information about natural resources is included in the book, but the term is not used. However these concepts could easily be made explicit as the different types of resources are discussed.

Science and Engineering Practices

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this science and engineering practice, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice
The main focus of this resource is how technologies have been developed to provide solutions to our energy needs. Students may also use information in the text to explain the phenomenon of energy transfer. Information may also be obtained from the additional resources that are included in the end matter.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this disciplinary core idea, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
This book focuses on how energy sources have been developed more than their environmental impact. Other resources should be used to more fully address this disciplinary core idea. The links in the end matter include more information about environmental impacts.

Crosscutting Concepts

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this crosscutting concept, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept
There are many ways students may discover the crosscutting concept of cause and effect while reading this book. The most obvious relationships involve the effects of developing new technologies. For example, developing a hollow drill led to increased oil production. The environmental impacts of the technology are not as clear and may require further research, as noted above.

Resource Quality

  • Alignment to the Dimensions of the NGSS: This resource can be used to help students obtain, evaluate, and communicate information about some of the many sources of energy available today. Teacher support and additional resources will be necessary to more fully understand the environmental impacts (cause and effect relationships) of the energy sources. There is strong alignment to CCSS ELA as students will be reading and discussing informational text. There are also many opportunities to make connections to mathematics by discussing place value in relation to the large numbers in the book. For example, “15 million Model T cars were sold.” What would that number look like written out?

  • Instructional Supports: This book introduces students to the technologies developed to harness and transfer energy. It provides background information that may be used as a starting point for further research. It may be helpful to read and discuss the green boxes in the book prior to reading, in order to define key terms such as fossil fuel and renewable energy. There are no specific differentiation supports, but clicking on a word pops open a dictionary definition that reads the word aloud, which is a very helpful support.

  • Monitoring Student Progress: There are a few questions in the book that could be used for formative assessment, such as, “What factors should people think about when considering different power sources?” Student answers to this question could be used to guide further research into various energy sources. Clicking the ??? button in the blue dropdown menu allows students or teachers to create quizzes based on the book that could be used formatively or summatively.

  • Quality of Technological Interactivity: The feature that reads words aloud and gives a definition is very convenient. The interactive quiz feature is also a plus. The Energy Kids Zone link in the end matter is no longer active.