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published by the National Energy Education Development Project
Available Languages: English, Spanish
This free infobook for Grades 6-8 provides an overview of energy sources, with special focus on the transformations necessary to convert energy into usable fuels for consumption. It takes a look at biomass, fossil fuels, hydropower, geothermal, solar, wind, and nuclear energy in a context of environmental concerns and climate change. Each chapter goes into detail on the discovery and production of each resource, environmental impacts, costs to process and transport, and availability for consumption. High-quality reproducible graphics accompany all segments, providing illustrations of power plants, extraction, mining, electricity generation, and country-by-country fuel usage. The sequence is part of the NEED K-12 curriculum, in which energy forms are extensively studied in the elementary grades to build foundations for understanding the physics behind energy transformations and the Law of Conservation of Energy.

The NEED Project is a national initiative to bring innovative curriculum materials in energy education to teachers and learners from the primary grades through college.
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Classical Mechanics
- Work and Energy
Electricity & Magnetism
- Electromagnetic Induction
= Motors and Generators
= Transformers
- Electromagnetic Radiation
General Physics
- Measurement/Units
Other Sciences
- Environmental Science
- Middle School
- Instructional Material
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- Audio/Visual
= Image/Image Set
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© 2012 National Energy Education Development Project
Greenhouse Effect, alternative fuels, chemical energy, clean energy, coal, energy forms, energy sources, energy textbook, global warming, green energy, hydroelectric generator, kinetic energy, light energy, natural gas, nonrenewable energy, nuclear energy, petroleum, potential energy, propane, renewable energy, thermal energy, turbine, wind turbine
Record Cloner:
Metadata instance created May 14, 2013 by Caroline Hall
Record Updated:
August 17, 2020 by Lyle Barbato
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Next Generation Science Standards

Earth and Human Activity (MS-ESS3)

Students who demonstrate understanding can: (6-8)
  • Construct an argument supported by evidence for how increases in human population and per-capita consumption of natural resources impact Earth's systems. (MS-ESS3-4)

Disciplinary Core Ideas (K-12)

Natural Resources (ESS3.A)
  • Humans depend on Earth's land, ocean, atmosphere, and biosphere for many different resources. Minerals, fresh water, and biosphere resources are limited, and many are not renewable or replaceable over human lifetimes. These resources are distributed unevenly around the planet as a result of past geologic processes. (6-8)
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)
Global Climate Change (ESS3.D)
  • Human activities, such as the release of greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels, are major factors in the current rise in Earth's mean surface temperature (global warming). Reducing the level of climate change and reducing human vulnerability to whatever climate changes do occur depend on the understanding of climate science, engineering capabilities, and other kinds of knowledge, such as understanding of human behavior and on applying that knowledge wisely in decisions and activities. (6-8)

Crosscutting Concepts (K-12)

Cause and Effect (K-12)
  • Cause and effect relationships may be used to predict phenomena in natural systems. (6-8)
Stability and Change (2-12)
  • Stability might be disturbed either by sudden events or gradual changes that accumulate over time. (6-8)
  • Much of science deals with constructing explanations of how things change and how they remain stable. (9-12)
  • Change and rates of change can be quantified and modeled over very short or very long periods of time. Some system changes are irreversible. (9-12)
Influence of Engineering, Technology, and Science on Society and the Natural World (K-12)
  • 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)
Science Addresses Questions About the Natural and Material World (2-12)
  • Scientific knowledge can describe the consequences of actions but does not necessarily prescribe the decisions that society takes. (6-8)

NGSS Science and Engineering Practices (K-12)

Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions (K-12)
  • Constructing explanations and designing solutions in 6–8 builds on K–5 experiences and progresses to include constructing explanations and designing solutions supported by multiple sources of evidence consistent with scientific ideas, principles, and theories. (6-8)
    • Construct an explanation that includes qualitative or quantitative relationships between variables that predict phenomena. (6-8)
    • Apply scientific ideas to construct an explanation for real-world phenomena, examples, or events. (6-8)

NGSS Nature of Science Standards (K-12)

Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions (K-12)
  • Constructing explanations and designing solutions in 6–8 builds on K–5 experiences and progresses to include constructing explanations and designing solutions supported by multiple sources of evidence consistent with scientific ideas, principles, and theories. (6-8)

AAAS Benchmark Alignments (2008 Version)

4. The Physical Setting

4B. The Earth
  • 6-8: 4B/M3. Everything on or anywhere near the earth is pulled toward the earth's center by gravitational force.
  • 6-8: 4B/M7. Water evaporates from the surface of the earth, rises and cools, condenses into rain or snow, and falls again to the surface. The water falling on land collects in rivers and lakes, soil, and porous layers of rock, and much of it flows back into the oceans. The cycling of water in and out of the atmosphere is a significant aspect of the weather patterns on Earth.
  • 6-8: 4B/M10ab. Some material resources are very rare and some exist in great quantities. The ability to obtain and process resources depends on where they are located and the form they are in. As resources are depleted, they may become more difficult to obtain.
4E. Energy Transformations
  • 6-8: 4E/M1. Whenever energy appears in one place, it must have disappeared from another. Whenever energy is lost from somewhere, it must have gone somewhere else. Sometimes when energy appears to be lost, it actually has been transferred to a system that is so large that the effect of the transferred energy is imperceptible.
  • 6-8: 4E/M2. Energy can be transferred from one system to another (or from a system to its environment) in different ways: 1) thermally, when a warmer object is in contact with a cooler one; 2) mechanically, when two objects push or pull on each other over a distance; 3) electrically, when an electrical source such as a battery or generator is connected in a complete circuit to an electrical device; or 4) by electromagnetic waves.
  • 6-8: 4E/M3. Thermal energy is transferred through a material by the collisions of atoms within the material. Over time, the thermal energy tends to spread out through a material and from one material to another if they are in contact. Thermal energy can also be transferred by means of currents in air, water, or other fluids. In addition, some thermal energy in all materials is transformed into light energy and radiated into the environment by electromagnetic waves; that light energy can be transformed back into thermal energy when the electromagnetic waves strike another material. As a result, a material tends to cool down unless some other form of energy is converted to thermal energy in the material.
  • 6-8: 4E/M4. Energy appears in different forms and can be transformed within a system. Motion energy is associated with the speed of an object. Thermal energy is associated with the temperature of an object. Gravitational energy is associated with the height of an object above a reference point. Elastic energy is associated with the stretching or compressing of an elastic object. Chemical energy is associated with the composition of a substance. Electrical energy is associated with an electric current in a circuit. Light energy is associated with the frequency of electromagnetic waves.
  • 6-8: 4E/M6. Light and other electromagnetic waves can warm objects. How much an object's temperature increases depends on how intense the light striking its surface is, how long the light shines on the object, and how much of the light is absorbed.
  • 9-12: 4E/H1. Although the various forms of energy appear very different, each can be measured in a way that makes it possible to keep track of how much of one form is converted into another. Whenever the amount of energy in one place diminishes, the amount in other places or forms increases by the same amount.
4F. Motion
  • 3-5: 4F/E3. Light travels and tends to maintain its direction of motion until it interacts with an object or material. Light can be absorbed, redirected, bounced back, or allowed to pass through.
4G. Forces of Nature
  • 6-8: 4G/M3. Electric currents and magnets can exert a force on each other.
  • 6-8: 4G/M4. Electrical circuits require a complete loop through which an electrical current can pass.
  • 6-8: 4G/M5. A charged object can be charged in one of two ways, which we call either positively charged or negatively charged. Two objects that are charged in the same manner exert a force of repulsion on each other, while oppositely charged objects exert a force of attraction on each other.

7. Human Society

7G. Global Interdependence
  • 6-8: 7G/M5. The global environment is affected by national and international policies and practices relating to energy use, waste disposal, ecological management, manufacturing, and population.

8. The Designed World

8C. Energy Sources and Use
  • 6-8: 8C/M3. In many instances, manufacturing and other technological activities are performed at a site close to an energy resource. Some forms of energy are transported easily, others are not.
  • 6-8: 8C/M4. Electrical energy can be generated from a variety of energy resources and can be transformed into almost any other form of energy. Electric circuits are used to distribute energy quickly and conveniently to distant locations.
  • 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/M6. Industry, transportation, urban development, agriculture, and most other human activities are closely tied to the amount and kind of energy available. People in different parts of the world have different amounts and kinds of energy resources to use and use them for different purposes.
  • 6-8: 8C/M8. People have invented ingenious ways of deliberately bringing about energy transformations that are useful to them.
  • 6-8: 8C/M9. Energy resources are more useful if they are concentrated and easy to transport.
  • 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.

Common Core State Standards for Mathematics Alignments

Ratios and Proportional Relationships (6-7)

Understand ratio concepts and use ratio reasoning to solve problems. (6)
  • 6.RP.3.b Solve unit rate problems including those involving unit pricing and constant speed.
  • 6.RP.3.c Find a percent of a quantity as a rate per 100 (e.g., 30% of a quantity means 30/100 times the quantity); solve problems involving finding the whole, given a part and the percent.
  • 6.RP.3.d Use ratio reasoning to convert measurement units; manipulate and transform units appropriately when multiplying or dividing quantities.

Expressions and Equations (6-8)

Reason about and solve one-variable equations and inequalities. (6)
  • 6.EE.6 Use variables to represent numbers and write expressions when solving a real-world or mathematical problem; understand that a variable can represent an unknown number, or, depending on the purpose at hand, any number in a specified set.
Represent and analyze quantitative relationships between dependent and independent variables. (6)
  • 6.EE.9 Use variables to represent two quantities in a real-world problem that change in relationship to one another; write an equation to express one quantity, thought of as the dependent variable, in terms of the other quantity, thought of as the independent variable. Analyze the relationship between the dependent and independent variables using graphs and tables, and relate these to the equation.

Common Core State Reading Standards for Literacy in Science and Technical Subjects 6—12

Key Ideas and Details (6-12)
  • RST.6-8.2 Determine the central ideas or conclusions of a text; provide an accurate summary of the text distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.
Craft and Structure (6-12)
  • RST.6-8.4 Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context relevant to grades 6—8 texts and topics.
Integration of Knowledge and Ideas (6-12)
  • RST.6-8.7 Integrate quantitative or technical information expressed in words in a text with a version of that information expressed visually (e.g., in a flowchart, diagram, model, graph, or table).
Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity (6-12)
  • RST.6-8.10 By the end of grade 8, read and comprehend science/technical texts in the grades 6—8 text complexity band independently and proficiently.
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NEED Project: Intermediate Energy Infobook:

Covers the Same Topic (Different Course Level) As NEED Project: Primary Science of Energy Infobook

This free Infobook, also published by the NEED Project, was written for use in Grades 2-5.

relation by Caroline Hall

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