Tell students that Activity 1 (Constructing an Argument) of the lesson What are our Energy Choices? introduces the structure of the scientific argumentation they will be asked to do in the rest of the lesson. Tell students that Activity 1 will give them practice with analyzing a data set and making a good scientific argument from the evidence. Encourage students to review the questions and example best answers provided in Activity 1 before starting on the current activity.

Subjects & Disciplines

Learning Objectives

Students will:

  • create a good scientific argument in the context of energy

Teaching Approach

  • Inquiry-based learning

Teaching Methods

  • Self-directed learning
  • Self-paced learning
  • Writing

Skills Summary

This activity targets the following skills:

  • Critical Thinking Skills
    • Creating

What You’ll Need

Materials You Provide

  • Computers with Internet connection

Required Technology

  • Internet Access: Required

Background Information

Prior Knowledge

  • None

Recommended Prior Activities

  • None



to state as the truth.


dark, solid fossil fuel mined from the earth.


set of physical phenomena associated with the presence and flow of electric charge.


capacity to do work.


data that can be measured, observed, examined, and analyzed to support a conclusion.


power generated by moving water converted to electricity. Also called hydroelectric energy or hydroelectric power.

megawatt hour

equal to 1,000 kilowatt hours (Kwh), or 1,000 kilowatts of electricity used continuously for one hour. One megawatt-hour equals one million (1,000,000) watt-hours or 3,600,000,000 joules.

renewable energy

energy obtained from sources that are virtually inexhaustible and replenish naturally over small time scales relative to the human life span.


This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. DRL-1220756. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.