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Connect! Transform the Future

Teach About Complex Issues in Energy Conservation

Map of Lights at Night.

Image courtesy NASA

Created to complement the themes of the Electropolis 3D film and the Plan It Green: The Big Switch! game, National Geographic designed education materials to bring students in grades 4-12 content about energy sources, energy efficiency, and energy conservation. These free, standards-based, online education resources were developed for formal and informal educators to engage students in science, social studies, and geography concepts related to energy. These resources provide innovative strategies and approaches to teach about complex energy topics in the classroom.

Questions about energy cannot be easily answered, and energy-related decisions require the work of many experts to address economic, political, environmental, and social factors. Be mindful of the complexity of issues around energy topics in both the national and global conversation as you engage students in these topics.

Educating about energy and energy choices is necessary. Students are future decision-makers, and the choices they make will be crucial to solving tomorrow’s energy problems. Arming students with a greater understanding of energy allows them to make wise choices in their lives and communities.


Activities for Grades 4-8

The Right Balance: Mixing Energy Resources

The Right Balance: Mixing Energy Resources  

How can using different combinations of energy resources affect population's use of electricity?

Energy Solutions: Tapping into the Topography of Lake Turkana

Energy Solutions: Tapping into the Topography of Lake Turkana  

How do geographic, environmental, and social factors influence the decisions made around energy challenges?

Non-Renewable Energy Resources

Non-Renewable Energy Resources  

How does the supply of non-renewable resources affect our supply of electricity?

The Role of Water in the Generation of Electricity

The Role of Water in the Generation of Electricity  

What role does water play in the generation of electricity?

Electrical Energy from Source to Destination

Electrical Energy from Source to Destination   

How does energy from a power plant escape before it gets to your home? How does that affect how much energy is available at home?

Hydroelectric and Geothermal: Benefits and Drawbacks

Hydroelectric and Geothermal: Benefits and Drawbacks  

How do hydroelectric and geothermal energy impact the environment? What are the benefits and drawbacks involved in using these energy resources as part of a diversified energy portfolio?

Solar Energy and Diversifying Energy Resources

Solar Energy and Diversifying Energy Resources   

What are the benefits and drawbacks of using solar farms to generate electricity?

Choosing Energy-Efficient Appliances

Choosing Energy-Efficient Appliances  

How is energy efficiency information about appliances communicated to consumers?

Conserving Energy through Grid Modernization

Conserving Energy through Grid Modernization  

What are some ways grid modernization technology increases the efficiency of energy distribution? How do the choices we make as a society affect the conservation of energy?


Activities for Grades 9-12

Affordable Energy for Our Future

Affordable Energy for Our Future  

Will there be enough affordable energy in the United States in the near future? What factors must be considered, and what actions need to be taken?

Using Waste Heat to Generate Electricity

Using Waste Heat to Generate Electricity  

How can waste heat be repurposed to conserve energy and increase efficiency?

Stakeholder Debate: Wind Energy

Stakeholder Debate: Wind Energy  

How do stakeholder interests determine which specific energy resources a community will use?

Energy Sustainability in the Klamath Basin

Energy Sustainability in the Klamath Basin  

How do the needs and wants of different groups affect the complexity of energy decisions?


Encyclopedic Entries


Energy Videos


National Geographic Explorers

Find out what National Geographic explorers are contributing to the global energy conservation.

Ibrahim Togola

Ibrahim Togola  

Engineer and Renewable Energy Advocate

Dr. Thomas Culhane

Dr. Thomas Culhane  

Urban Planner

Dr. Yu-Guo Guo

Dr. Yu-Guo Guo  

Chemist  


Interactives

Plan it Green: Generation Station

Plan it Green: Generation Station  

Play National Geographic Games' online, city-building energy game. As the new mayor of Greenville, you are charged with the task of constructing the greenest and most eco-friendly city in the world!

Plan it Green: The Big Switch Educator Guide

Plan it Green: The Big Switch Educator Guide  

Use this educator guide to engage students in Grades 6-8+ with the Plan It Green: The Big Switch game in a variety of settings, both on and out of the classroom.

You Have the Power

You Have the Power  

Have students use this interactive to make informed energy decisions by exploring the relationships between factors such as geographic location, availability of energy resources, cost, and environmental and community impacts.


Energy Data Layers

Alternative Energy Use

Alternative Energy Use  

Use the MapMaker Interactive to explore alternative energy use by countries across the globe.

Global Carbon Emissions

Global Carbon Emissions  

Use the MapMaker Interactive to explore carbon emissions from countries across the globe.

Electricity Generation from Renewable Energy

Electricity Generation from Renewable Energy  

Use the MapMaker Interactive to find out which countries are getting their electricity from renewable sources of energy and how they are doing it.


Guides

Energy Potential

Energy Potential  

Check out our environmental literacy teacher guide, designed to familiarize teachers of students in Grades 3-8 with both the technical terminology about energy, and the energy efficiency and conservation issues that have become so important in recent years.

Department of Energy

Department of Energy  

The Connect! Transform the Future collection was designed based the US Department of Energy’s Energy Literacy Principles. These principles provide a framework for energy education for learners of all ages. If understood and applied, the principles help individuals and communities make informed energy decisions.


Energy Resource Photo Gallery


A National Collaboration

Center for Science

The Center for Science is a national collaborative network focused on advancing science and technology, starting with the nation's youth. For Connect! Transform the Future, six of its leading science centers have partnered with National Geographic and GE to educate students about energy, engage them in a conversation about the future of energy, and inspire them to be the next generation of scientists and engineers. The Center for Science includes: Center of Science and Industry (OH), Maryland Science Center (MD), Pacific Science Center (WA), Reuben H. Fleet Science Center (CA), Saint Louis Science Center (MO), and The Museum of Science and Industry (IL).

Energy Education Advisory Board for this project

  • Dennis Dimick, Executive Editor, National Geographic Magazine

  • Martin Storksdieck, Ph.D., Director of the Board on Science Education (BOSE), National Research Council (NRC)

  • Matthew Inman, Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellow, Department of Energy

  • Dr. Jennifer Milne, Energy Assessment Analyst, Global Climate and Energy Project, Stanford University

  • Kathleen O’Brien, Ph.D., Manager, Electric Power Systems, GE Global Research


Sponsors
Funded by GEProgram Connect! Transform the FuturePartners Center For Science