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WebQuest:

How Can We Become Less Dependent on Non-Renewable Energy Sources?

A WebQuest for middle school students (Science)

Designed by:
Mrs. Jacqueline Gutierrez

scienceclasswebsite@yahoo.com
http://www.geocities.com/scienceclasswebsite

Windmill

Introduction | Task | Process | Evaluation | Conclusion | Credits | Teacher Page

Introduction

The United States is currently dependent on non-renewable energy sources. Energy is the ability to do work. We utilize stored potential energy, often in the form of chemical potential energy, to heat our homes and to run our cars. However, the oil and natural gas that we use is obtained from fossil fuels that are being used much more quickly than they are being replaced. They are produced by the combination of natural decay of plants and animals and underground pressure on this decaying material, and are therefore non-renewable. At the rate that we are going, we will use up all the fossil fuel one day.

In the U.S. alone, during the year 1999, 882.8 million tonnes of oil were used (25.5% share of world total usage), 37.706 quadrillion BTU. That comes to 18490 thousand barrels daily. During the same year, in the U.S. we used 617 billion cubic meters of natural gas (22.096 quadrillion Btu) and 543.3 million tonnes coal (21.698 quadrillion Btu, 25.5% of world total usage). (1)

However, in the same year in the U.S., we used only 0.327 quadrillion Btu Geothermal Energy, only 0.076 quadrillion Btu of Solar Energy, and only 0.038 quadrillion Btu of Wind Energy. (1)

Solar Panel


Introduction | Task | Process | Evaluation | Conclusion | Credits | Teacher Page
The Task

Imagine that the school you attend would like to do its part to help the environment and decrease its use of fossil fuels. It is your job to come up with realistic renewable energy alternatives that the school could use to help protect the environment. Create a PowerPoint presentation to present your recommendations to the Principal. You have to design a ten minute presentation to let the Principal know what alternative forms of energy are available. Include the following:

  • energy related problem to be solved;
  • defend why alternative forms of energy are desirable;
  • product to be used or designed---Why did you select a certain type of energy?;
  • include your personal feelings about alternative energy use;
  • create a summary page
  • Lake


Introduction | Task | Process | Evaluation | Conclusion | Credits | Teacher Page

The Process

You will work in teams of two. To accomplish the task, look at the online resources listed below. Make a summary table using Microsoft Word that lists each type of alternative energy, its benefits, its risks, estimated costs, and how our school can use each one (or why it can't be used). To create your summary table, add to the linked template.
(MS Word Template or HTML version of Template)
Use this summary table as a guide when you create your PowerPoint presentation. Remember that the presentation should be used to promote the best type(s) of alternative energy that can be used by your school, so only mention the type(s) of alternative energy that you recommend to your school, and do not mention the types of energy that your school would not be useable by your school.
  1. First you'll be assigned to a team of 2 students.
  2. Once you've decided who will search the websites to gather information and who will fill in the summary table, you may begin to gather information about various forms of alternative energy from the websites listed below.
  3. What are the environmental reasons for choosing alternative energy over fossil fuels? List these environmental reasons on the template worksheet.
  4. How many different types of alternative energy were you able to find? Include the benefits, risks, estimated costs, and how each can or shouldn't be used by your school.
  5. Decide which form(s) of alternative energy would be most beneficial to your school.
  6. Create a 10-minute presentation in PowerPoint (minimum of 15 slides) to explain the benefits of using alternative energy vs. regular electricity and oil heat and how your recommended form(s) of energy can benefit the school and the environment. The first slide after the title slide should be a summary page.

 

Websites and Resources to Use:

U.S. Department of Energy-Wind and Hydropower Technologies Program Home Page

Sustainable Mobility Learning Lab

Global Warming Greenhouse Effect

US EPA Celebrates Earth Day

Fuel Cells 2000

Dr. E's Energy Lab

Solar Energy Facts

NFCRC: Fuel Cells Explained: Challenges

Cost Digest, Product 3, Fuel Cells

The True Cost of Electricity from Wind Power

Geothermal Cost

Hydroelectric Generators

 

Trees


Introduction | Task | Process | Evaluation | Conclusion | Credits | Teacher Page

Evaluation

Your performance will be evaluated based on the two rubrics below. Both grades will be averaged together. Each team member will receive his or own grade, based on group work, ideas, the presentation, and effort.

Students will receive between 1-4 points for each objective achieved based on the rubrics below.

PowerPoint Rubric:
14
-16 Points = Excellent; 11-14 = Good; 5-11 = Needs Improvement

Information Gathering and Technology Use Rubric:
14
-16 Points = Excellent; 11-14 = Good; 5-11 = Needs Improvement

 

Rubric for PowerPoint Presentation

  1 2 3 4 Score
Participation No one took responsibility for the presentation. One member of the group lead the entire presentation. Both members of the group presented only part of the material. All students participated equally in the presentation and presented all the material.  
Presentation clarity No organization, clarity, or opinions. Presentation was not well organized - thoughts and opinions are unclear. Presentations was somewhat clear. Some ideas and opinions need to be refined. Presentation was clear and to the point. Ideas and opinions are well prepared.  
Time length of presentation Between 0 and 4 minutes or more than 20 minutes. Between 3 and 6 minutes or 13 and 17 minutes Between 6 and 9 minutes or 11 and 13 minutes Between 9 and 11 minutes  
Students will be able to use PowerPoint to illustrate why a certain type or types of alternative energy could benefit the school using examples and visual aids.  

No visual aides such as photographs and/or animations were used in the presentation.

The presentation did not encourage alternative energy use.

The visual aids such as photographs and/or animations were briefly referred to in the presentation and needed more work.

The presentation slightly encouraged alternative energy use.

Appropriate visual aides such as photographs and/or animations were used in the presentation.

The presentation somewhat encouraged alternative energy use.

Organized and appropriate visual aides such as photographs and/or animations incorporated into the presentation.

The presentation strongly encouraged alternative energy use.

 

Rubric for Information Gathering and Technology Use

Beginning

1

Developing

2

Accomplished

3

Exemplary

4

Score

 

Students will show an understanding of why alternative energy is desirable.

 

Students will not be able to describe the advantages of alternative energy.
Students will describe the advantages of alternative energy in one to two sentences.
Students will describe the advantages of alternative energy in three sentences.
Students will describe the advantages of alternative energy is four or more sentences.

 

Students will be able to describe various forms of alternative energy and why they may or may not apply to their school.

 

 

Many descriptions are incorrect and there is no apparent evidence of critical thinking
Some descriptions are incorrect and there is very little evidence critical thinking has occurred. At least two sentences have been written.
Most descriptions are correct. Some critical thinking has occurred. At least three sentences have been written .
The descriptions are correct. Critical thinking skills are evident. There are at least four well-written sentences.

 

Students will interpret and synthesize information from nonprint media as demonstrated by being able to go through the website and to complete the worksheet.

 

Students will not know how to interpret synthesize information from nonprint media. 
Students will interpret and synthesize some of the information from nonprint media.
Students will interpret and synthesize most of the information from nonprint media.
Students will interpret and synthesize all the information from nonprint media as demonstrated by being able to go through the website and to complete the worksheet.

 

Students will work cooperatively using technology as evidenced by completion of the activities.
Students will not move along and will get stuck, constantly asking for help.  They will not be able to work cooperatively in their assigned groups of two.
Students will ask for occasional help before moving on to the next task.  They will have trouble sharing the computer terminal. 
Students will seldom ask for occasional help before moving on to the next task.  They will have very little trouble sharing the computer terminal. 
Students will move from step to step on their own and at their own pace. Students will work cooperatively using technology as evidenced by completion of the activities.


Introduction | Task | Process | Evaluation | Conclusion | Credits | Teacher Page

Conclusion

Congratulations! You have given the Principal several good ideas about how to use alternative energy to help save the environment, reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, and save money! You are doing your part to help protect our environment and to ensure that we will have useable energy for years to come!


Introduction | Task | Process | Evaluation | Conclusion | Credits | Teacher Page

Credits & References

1) Energy Action - EA Stats, Fuel Consumption Stats, http://www.nef1.org/ea/eastats.html


Last updated on April 29, 2007 . Based on a template from The WebQuest Page

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