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Day 8: Students discuss pros/cons of renewable energy


Language Arts, Science, Social Studies  


7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12  

Title – Do Something about… the Environment 10-Day Unit
Day 8: Renewable Energy – How Do You See It?
By – Jordyn Wells/Do Something, Inc./
Primary Subject – Science
Secondary Subjects – Social Studies, Language Arts
Grade Level – 7-12

Unit Information:

      The following lesson is the eighth lesson of a 10-day

      Environment Curricula from Do Something, Inc.

      Other lessons in this unit are as follows:

Day 1: Introduction

      Introduction to global warming, energy conservation and how rising temperatures affect us locally

Day 2: Its Getting Hot In Here! – The Science of Global Warming

      Students learn about greenhouse gases and the power of language

Day 3: The Consequences of Global Warming

      Students learn about the potential consequences of global warming

Day 4: If the shoe fits… Learning about Ecological Footprints

      Students examine their own energy consumption and conservation

Day 5: How Green Is Your School

      Students learn how schools can participate in energy conservation

Day 6: Energy Hog – Who’s using up all the energy?

      Students compare U.S. energy use to that of other countries

Day 7: Renewable Energy Sources

      Students explore different types of renewable energy sources

Day 8: Renewable Energy – How Do You See It? (See the lesson below)

      Students discuss the pros/cons of renewable energy

Day 9: The Politics of Energy Conservation

      Students debate the pros/cons of government involvement in energy conservation

Day 10: Presentation Day

    Students present their energy conservation project

Lesson 8: How do you see it?


  • To engage students in a discussion about the pros and cons of renewable energy


  • Geography Standard 1414: Understands how human actions modify the physical environment
  • Geography Standard 18: Understands global development and environmental issues
  • Language Arts Standard 8: Uses listening and speaking strategies for different purpose
  • Life Skills Thinking and Reasoning Standard 5: Applies basic trouble-shooting and problem-solving techniques
  • Life Skills Thinking and Reasoning Standard 1: Understands and applies the basic principles of presenting an argument


      1. Heat it up:

        Describe the following scenario to students:
        Imagine this scenario. The year is 2080 and the world’s fossil fuel supply has been nearly exhausted. Most people don’t have cars anymore because of high gas prices. Since the cost of heating and cooling homes is so expensive, most people live for long periods of times in extreme temperatures. Many businesses have shut down because of the high cost of transporting goods and electricity. What needs to be done now to prevent this from happening?

      2. Provide Background:

        Have each student review their notes on alternative energy. Discuss questions before beginning the activity.

      3. Synthesize:

        Create groups of 3-4 students. Students should work together to decide how much to rely on the various type of energies. They should think about the pros and cons of each that were discussed the day before and then assign a percentage to a certain type of energy source. At the end, they will be asked to explain their choices.
        Give each student a role in their group:

          a. Environmentalist (

Mr. Brad Conserve


            This person wants to use a 100% renewable energy. He believes in conservation and reducing fossil fuels. He does not worry about the cost of creating plants to harness alternative energies.

          b. Oil company (

Ms. Olive Oil


            Wants to satisfy stock holders and continue to provide revenue for her company. Cares about her company more now than in the future. Will never agree to abandoning use of oil.

          c. Family guy/gal (

Joe Regular/ Ms. Jane Plain


            Working person who cares about what this whole endeavor will cost him/her. This person’s main concern is providing for his/her family now, not what will happen some years in the future.

          d. Moderator: This person will help moderate and lead the discussion. They can decide how the final distribution will be made.

      4. Have students do a quick “write from the perspective of their character” about what to do about this problem. Then have the groups discuss the various alternative energies.
    5. Take Action:

      Have students continue working on their take action projects.

E-Mail Do Something, Inc. !

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