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Going Green!

A WebQuest for 8th Grade Physical Science

Designed by

Scott Beiter
sbeiter@rcsd.k12.ny.us

solar plant    wind turbine    geothrmal plantbiomass plant
 

Introduction | Task | Process | Evaluation | Conclusion | Credits

Lesson Plan | Table of Contents




Introduction

     Electricity generated by fossil fuels such as coal and natural gas produce carbon dioxide and other pollutants.  Carbon Dioxide has been recognized as a leading cause of global warming.  The city council of Joulesville has decided to go green and get all of it's electricity from a renewable energy source.  The city's aging 400MW coal plant will be shut down and newer, greener energy sources used.  In order to do this they have enlisted your team to provide input to the council about which source of electricity the city should invest in:  wind, solar, biomass, hydroelectric, or geothermal.  The city is of course interested in getting the most power with the least amount of cost.

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The Task

The main question you will find an answer for is:

  • You are a member of an independent team researching renewable energy sources that will help meet the city's energy needs and reduce global warming. Your team will examine the potential as well as the concerns for developing these energy sources.
  • Your team will combine their research to discuss what they have discovered and make a recommendation as a slide show presentation to the city council using google documents.
  • Your final energy source(s) must produce an amount equal to or greater than the 400MW coal plant it is replacing and be cost effective.

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The Process


Summary

1.  You will be assigned to a team of researchers.

2.  Being well informed is essential.  You will next review some background material to prepare you for your topic investigation.

3.  Each of you now needs to prepare for your team discussion by gaining knowledge in your individual topic.  Its vital that your city choose the best energy option to save taxpayer money and the environment at the same time.  Find out as much as you can about your energy source to determine if its a good fit for the city.

4.  You will meet and discuss with your team what you've discovered.  After your discussion with your team a decision needs to be made as to what energy source(s) you'll be recommending.

5.  Next, you're group will be using Google Documents to develop a slideshow presentation to persuade the city council to follow your recommendation.

6.  Finally, you will need to present your findings to the city council.


1.  Team Assignments

  You have been assigned to a research team that will be making an important decision influencing the energy policy of your city.  Each one of you need to be knowledgeable about a specific form of energy production.  You'll begin with a review of how electricity is produced and the importance of being "green".  You will then continue on to research your individual renewable energy source.


2.  Background Research

    Your team needs to complete research to make an informed decision on what to present to the city council.  Use your research template to guide you on what information needs to be collected.  But remember, anything that sounds important probably is!  Begin by refreshing you knowledge on electricity production and being "green".

How does a Generator Work to Make Electricity?
http://science.howstuffworks.com/electricity2.htm

What is a fossil fuel and how does it produce electricity?
http://www.tvakids.com/electricity/fossil.htm

How Does Carbon Dioxide Lead to Global Warming?
http://www.npr.org/news/specials/climate/video/

What Does it Mean to be Green? (Investing in a green future.)
http://www.investopedia.com/articles/basics/07/green-investing.asp

How can a city thrive on green energy?
Play the game Electrocity!


3.  Energy Research

Geothermal
    The Basics
    Video
    Learn More
    Advanced
    More Info and Costs

Solar
    The Basics
    Video
   Learn More
    Advanced

Wind
    The Basics
    Video
    Learn More
    Advanced

Biomass
    The Basics
    Video
    Learn More
    Advanced

Hydroelectric
    The Basics
    Video
    Learn More
    Advanced


4.  Team Discussion

    Each one of you needs to present what you've found to the rest of your team.  Share with your team the following:

Why should or should not your energy source be considered? 
What are the advantages and disadvantages of using your energy source?
What are a few make or break arguments concerning your energy source?
What are the costs finanically associated with your energy source?

5.  Presentation Development

    Once your team as settled on an energy source you must submit your findings to the city council in the form of a slideshow presentation and written synopsis.  The city council has strict guidelines and limited time for presenters.

    1)  Minimum of 5 slides and a maximum of 10.
    2)  10 minutes of presentation time.
    3)  Written summary must also be submitted.

    Your slideshow will be developed using Google Documents.  You need to log into Google Documents together and work on the presentation collaboratively.  (There should be evidence that each of you worked on the project together.)

6.  Presentation to the City Council

   
Remember to be brief and to the point when addressing the City Council.  Their time is valuable.  You need to be convinced of your choice of energy source(s) and in turn convince the City Council.  Your argument needs to be persuasive.  Write down what you are going to say ahead of time on notecards.  Be sure each of you help in the presentation.  Here are the roles for each team member:

    1)  Speaker - this person stands in front of the council and presents the argument.
    2)  Technologist - makes sure the presentation is ready to be presented on the computer and everything works.  May also advance the slides.
    3)  Writes - writes the notecards used with the slides during the presentation.
    4)  Summary writer - Summarizes what the main arguments are on paper to submit to the City Council so they don't have to take too many
         notes themselves during the presentation.

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Evaluation

You will be evaluated by the teacher, yourself, and your group based on the rubric below.

Objectives

1 point

2 points

3 points

4 points

Topic Research

Research is mostly incomplete.

Incomplete and/or inaccurate.

Complete, but lacking detail.

Complete and accurate.  Identifies advantages, disadvantages, and how electricity is produced from source.

Computer Participation

Required constant reminders to stay on task and complete project.

Needed reminders to stay on task and/or required much assistance.

Required some help in the computer lab.  Remained mostly on task.

Required minimal help and assistance while in the computer lab.

Google Participation

Did not participate in the discussion or slideshow development.

Did not contribute much to the discussions and the slideshow.

Did not contribute much to either discussions or slideshow.

Contributed to discussions and development of the slideshow.

Slide Show

Is confusing and disorganized.

Slightly disorganized and unattractive, but has good information.

Organized and attractive.  Presents conclusions well.

Does a great job presenting group's conclusions, is attractive +organized.

Presentation

Confusing and not persuasive.  Gaps in understanding of topic evident.

Argument was not very persuasive and provided minimal information.

Good argument that was easy to follow and could be heard.

Great loud and clear verbal argument that complimented the slide show.

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Conclusion

Congratulations on completing the WebQuest and working together to understand the difficulties facing cities and communities developing alternative energy policies.  The project you have completed required you to consider various options when deciding the best green energy source for the city.  Problems similar to this occur throughout the world as more countries decide to tackle the threat of global warming.

Consider these questions now that you've completed this project.

Where does your city/community get most of its electricity from?

How much of your state's electricity comes from renewable sources?

Is there any effort in the city or state to increase the amount of electricity coming from renewable sources?

What can YOU do to  promote  renewable energy?

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Credits & References


Pictures
Wind Turbine Picture
www.thefreedictionary.com

Solar Plant http://rds.yahoo.com/_ylt=A0WTbx8_pQ9ICysAAt.jzbkF/SIG=12i5eeiqp/EXP=1209071295/**http%3A//www.eere.energy.gov/states/news_detail.cfm/news_id=8607

GeoThermal Plant Picture http://rds.yahoo.com/_ylt=A0WTb_3vpQ9IDxYBCZGjzbkF/SIG=12b7bqogj/EXP=1209071471/**http%3A//www.energywhiz.com/9-12/gallery/site02/info.html

Biomass Picture http://rds.yahoo.com/_ylt=A0WTb_icpg9Iy1kAV9mjzbkF/SIG=134v0d2sh/EXP=1209071644/**http%3A//www.ids-environment.com/environment/us/News/885/pressrelease_content.html

Background

http://science.howstuffworks.com/electricity2.htm

http://www.tvakids.com/electricity/fossil.htm

http://www.npr.org/news/specials/climate/video/
http://www.investopedia.com/articles/basics/07/green-investing.asp
http://www.electrocity.co.nz/

Energy Research

http://www.eia.doe.gov/kids/energyfacts/index.html
http://www.eia.doe.gov/

http://www.tvakids.com/electricity/hydro.htm
http://geothermal.marin.org/index.html
http://www1.eere.energy.gov/
http://www.geo-energy.org/aboutGE/powerPlantCost.asp
http://www.solarenergy.org/resources/youngkids.html
http://www.alliantenergykids.com/stellent2/groups/public/documents/pub/phk_ee_re_001502.hcsp
http://www.awea.org/faq/index.html
http://www.nrel.gov/learning/re_biomass.html
http://www.eere.energy.gov/consumer/your_home/electricity/index.cfm/mytopic=10450
http://www.tvakids.com/electricity/hydro.htm


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Last updated on May 5, 2008. Based on a template from The WebQuest Page