In this research unit students will build upon their basic knowledge of alternative energy resources. They will analyze advantages and disadvantages, share newly learned information with their peers, and develop more informed opinions about which type(s) of alternative energy may be most the most viable, in addition to fossil fuels, for meeting the energy needs of our state. Students will discuss their findings with one another, draw conclusions, and prepare their recommendations for a wider audience of their choosing (e.g., an alternative energy company, the office of their U.S. Senator or Representative, the U.S. Dept. of Energy, or other pertinent individual/group— such as another grade level celebrating Earth Day).
Sample Questions about Individual Alternative Energy Resources:
What is this energy resource (e.g., biofuel, wind power, etc.)? How is it formed?
What are the advantages/disadvantages of using this type of energy resource?
Where is this energy resource used in the United States/world? Why is it being used in those areas? Could it be used in other places in the United States? Why? Why not?
Is it used in Texas? To what extent? If it’s not being used here, could it be? Why? Why not?
Sample Questions about all Resources (Comparison):
Which alternative energy resources have the most advantages? Why?
Which alternative energy resources have the most disadvantages? Why?
Which alternative energy resources are most/least promising for Texas? Why?
Which alternative energy resources would you recommend that alternative energy-related businesses, your Senator/Representative, or the USDE consider supporting in Texas?
Which alternative energy resources that are viable in Texas would you be interested in teaching other students about (e.g., fourth graders)?
ELAR TEKS/Student Expectations:
5.23 (A) brainstorm, consult with others, decide upon a topic, and formulate open-ended questions to address the major research topic
5.23 (B) generate a research plan for gathering relevant information about the major research question
5.24 (A) follow the research plan to collect data from a range of print and electronic resources (e.g., reference texts, periodicals, web pages, online sources) and data from experts
5.24 (B) differentiate between primary and secondary sources
5.24 (C) record data, utilizing available technology (e.g., word processors) in order to see the relationships between ideas and convert graphic/visual data ( e.g., charts, diagrams, timelines into written notes)
5.24 (D) Identify the source of notes (e.g., author, title, page number) and record bibliographic information concerning those sources according to standard format
5.24 (E) differentiate between paraphrasing and plagiarism and identify the importance of citing valid and reliable sources
5.25 (A) refine the major research question, if necessary, guided by the answers to a secondary set of questions
5.25 (B) evaluate the relevance, validity, and reliability of sources for the research
5.26 (A) compiles important information from multiple sources
5.26 (B) develops a topic sentence, summarizes findings, and uses evidence to support conclusions
5.26 (C) presents the findings in a consistent format
5.26 (D) uses quotations to support ideas and an appropriate form of documentation to acknowledge sources (e.g., bibliography, works cited)
Science TEKS/Student Expectations:
5.7C: The student is expected to identify alternative energy resources, such as wind, solar, hydroelectric, geothermal, and biofuels.
Social Studies TEKS/Student expectations:
5.9B: The student is expected to analyze the positive and negative consequences of human modification of the environment in the United States, [past and] present.
5.6A: The student is expected to apply geographic tools, including [grid systems,] legends, symbols, scales, and compass roses, to [construct and] interpret maps.