This award-winning web page is devoted to the study of energy sources, both renewable and non-renewable. It features multimedia content on nine sources of energy: fossil fuels, solar, wind, geothermal, nuclear, biomass, hydroelectric, tidal, and ocean waves. Each section is supported with video clips, diagrams, schematics, and images of how the energy source is used to deliver power. The author discusses advantages/disadvantages of each energy source and provides links to additional information for extended learning.
3-5: 3C/E1c. The technology available to people greatly influences what their lives are like.
3-5: 3C/E4. Factors such as cost, safety, appearance, environmental impact, and what will happen if the solution fails must be considered in technological design.
3-5: 3C/E5. Technologies often have drawbacks as well as benefits. A technology that helps some people or organisms may hurt others—either deliberately (as weapons can) or inadvertently (as pesticides can).
6-8: 3C/M2. Technology cannot always provide successful solutions to problems or fulfill all human needs.
6-8: 3C/M4. Technology is largely responsible for the great revolutions in agriculture, manufacturing, sanitation and medicine, warfare, transportation, information processing, and communications that have radically changed how people live and work.
6-8: 3C/M5. New technologies increase some risks and decrease others. Some of the same technologies that have improved the length and quality of life for many people have also brought new risks.
6-8: 3C/M6. Rarely are technology issues simple and one-sided. Relevant facts alone, even when known and available, usually do not settle matters. That is because contending groups may have different values and priorities. They may stand to gain or lose in different degrees, or may make very different predictions about what the future consequences of the proposed action will be.
6-8: 3C/M9. In all technologies, there are always trade-offs to be made.
9-12: 3C/H3. In deciding on proposals to introduce new technologies or curtail existing ones, some key questions arise concerning possible alternatives, who benefits and who suffers, financial and social costs, possible risks, resources used (human, material, or energy), and waste disposal.
9-12: 3C/H5. Human inventiveness has brought new risks as well as improvements to human existence.
4. The Physical Setting
4B. The Earth
6-8: 4B/M11a. The wasteful or unnecessary use of natural resources can limit their availability for other purposes. Restoring depleted soil, forests, or fishing grounds can be difficult and costly.
6-8: 4B/M11bc. The benefits of Earth's resources—such as fresh water, air, soil, and trees—can be reduced by deliberately or inadvertently polluting them. The atmosphere, the oceans, and the land have a limited capacity to absorb and recycle waste materials. In addition, some materials take a long time to degrade. Therefore, cleaning up polluted air, water, or soil can be difficult and costly.
9-12: 4B/H4. Greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, such as carbon dioxide and water vapor, are transparent to much of the incoming sunlight but not to the infrared light from the warmed surface of the earth. When greenhouse gases increase, more thermal energy is trapped in the atmosphere, and the temperature of the earth increases the light energy radiated into space until it again equals the light energy absorbed from the sun.
9-12: 4B/H6. The earth's climates have changed in the past, are currently changing, and are expected to change in the future, primarily due to changes in the amount of light reaching places on the earth and the composition of the atmosphere. The burning of fossil fuels in the last century has increased the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, which has contributed to Earth's warming.
9-12: 4B/H8. The earth has many natural resources of great importance to human life. Some are readily renewable, some are renewable only at great cost, and some are not renewable at all.
9-12: 4B/H9. Although the earth has a great capacity to absorb and recycle materials naturally, ecosystems have only a finite capacity to withstand change without experiencing major ecological alterations that may also have adverse effects on human activities.
8. The Designed World
8C. Energy Sources and Use
3-5: 8C/E2. Sunlight is used to run many devices.
3-5: 8C/E4. Some people try to reduce the amount of fuels they use in order to conserve resources, reduce pollution, or save money.
6-8: 8C/M2. Different ways of obtaining, transforming, and distributing energy have different environmental consequences.
6-8: 8C/M5. Energy from the sun (and the wind and water energy derived from it) is available indefinitely. Because the transfer of energy from these resources is weak and variable, systems are needed to collect and concentrate the energy.
6-8: 8C/M10. Some resources are not renewable or renew very slowly. Fuels already accumulated in the earth, for instance, will become more difficult to obtain as the most readily available resources run out. How long the resources will last, however, is difficult to predict. The ultimate limit may be the prohibitive cost of obtaining them.
6-8: 8C/M11. By burning fuels, people are releasing large amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and transforming chemical energy into thermal energy which spreads throughout the environment.
9-12: 8C/H3. Nuclear reactions release energy without the combustion products of burning fuels, but the radioactivity of fuels and their by-products poses other risks.
9-12: 8C/H4. Industrialization brings an increased demand for and use of energy. Such usage contributes to having many more goods and services in the industrially developing nations but also leads to more rapid depletion of the earth's energy resources and to environmental risks associated with some energy resources.
9-12: 8C/H8. Sunlight is the ultimate source of most of the energy we use. The energy in fossil fuels such as oil and coal comes from energy that plants captured from the sun long ago.
Next Generation Science Standards
Disciplinary Core Ideas (K-12)
Natural Resources (ESS3.A)
Resource availability has guided the development of human society. (9-12)
All forms of energy production and other resource extraction have associated economic, social, environmental, and geopolitical costs and risks as well as benefits. New technologies and social regulations can change the balance of these factors. (9-12)
Human Impacts on Earth Systems (ESS3.C)
Typically as human populations and per-capita consumption of natural resources increase, so do the negative impacts on Earth unless the activities and technologies involved are engineered otherwise. (6-8)
The sustainability of human societies and the biodiversity that supports them requires responsible management of natural resources. (9-12)
Scientists and engineers can make major contributions by developing technologies that produce less pollution and waste and that preclude ecosystem degradation. (9-12)
Crosscutting Concepts (K-12)
Energy and Matter (2-12)
Energy may take different forms (e.g. energy in fields, thermal energy, energy of motion). (6-8)
Energy cannot be created or destroyed—it only moves between one place and another place, between objects and/or fields, or between systems. (9-12)
Structure and Function (K-12)
Investigating or designing new systems or structures requires a detailed examination of the properties of different materials, the structures of different components, and connections of components to reveal its function and/or solve a problem. (9-12)
Influence of Engineering, Technology, and Science on Society and the Natural World (K-12)
The uses of technologies and any limitations on their use are driven by individual or societal needs, desires, and values; by the findings of scientific research; and by differences in such factors as climate, natural resources, and economic conditions. Thus technology use varies from region to region and over time. (6-8)
All human activity draws on natural resources and has both short and long-term consequences, positive as well as negative, for the health of people and the natural environment. (6-8)
Modern civilization depends on major technological systems. Engineers continuously modify these technological systems by applying scientific knowledge and engineering design practices to increase benefits while decreasing costs and risks. (9-12)
New technologies can have deep impacts on society and the environment, including some that were not anticipated. Analysis of costs and benefits is a critical aspect of decisions about technology. (9-12)
Science is a Human Endeavor (3-12)
Technological advances have influenced the progress of science and science has influenced advances in technology. (9-12)
Science is a result of human endeavors, imagination, and creativity. (9-12)
Common Core State Reading Standards for Literacy in Science and Technical Subjects 6—12
Craft and Structure (6-12)
RST.9-10.5 Analyze the structure of the relationships among concepts in a text, including relationships among key terms (e.g., force, friction, reaction force, energy).
Integration of Knowledge and Ideas (6-12)
RST.11-12.7 Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., quantitative data, video, multimedia) in order to address a question or solve a problem.
Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity (6-12)
RST.9-10.10 By the end of grade 10, read and comprehend science/technical texts in the grades 9—10 text complexity band independently and proficiently.
%0 Electronic Source %A Darvill, Andy %D September 4, 2011 %T Andy Darvill's Science Site: Energy Resources %V 2015 %N 2 March 2015 %8 September 4, 2011 %9 text/html %U http://www.darvill.clara.net/altenerg/index.htm
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