Green Science Discussion Starters


Educational Innovations Newsletter - Discussion StartersWind power… solar power… hydropower… power from biomass… There’s so much to say about these renewable energy sources and their growing importance in our lives.  Time spent teaching young minds about green science is invaluable—we are helping them to understand and participate in their own futures as inhabitants of our planet!

Even the smallest scientists will understand that the sun and wind can be made to “do work” and produce energy.  This topic is so much fun to explore, we hope you’ll share your own favorite discussion starters with us in the comments below!

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Green Science in the News


Educational Innovations Newsletter - In the NewsHardly a day goes by without some important announcement from the global scientific community regarding green science.  It may be related to climate change, water pollution, greenhouse gasses…  A common theme is that the inhabitants of Earth must get serious about finding and utilizing new energy sources before it’s too late.

Looking at current events is a great way to help your students recognize how crucial science is in their daily lives, now and in the future.  We’ve compiled a selection of newsworthy articles that you can use in class to prompt discussions about biofuels as well as energy from the wind, sun and water.

Enjoy!  If you find an article you’d like us to share, please let us know in the comments below.

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EI TV – Green Science!


Educational Innovations Newsletter - EI TVRev Up Your Students with Green Science Videos!

We think green science topics like renewable sources of energy are much easier to understand when students can watch a video.  Animations are especially useful to explain concepts like geothermal energy or—for that matter—biofuels made from…ummm… excrement.

If you come across a video you’d like us to add here, please leave us a comment below!

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Energy Sources in a Classroom


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Energy Sources in a Classroom – Scavenger Hunt

by: Roy Bentley

I had the opportunity to attend the NSTA Convention that was held last month in Boston. It was a great show with amazing displays, topics and speakers. And of course, we had the PowerWheel there demonstrating how easy it is to teach about energy.energy sources in a classroom

One of the points that came up during the show that struck me as worth exploring further was when we asked the teachers we were working with was “what sources of energy do we have in the classroom” The teachers at the show answered the lights, the power outlets, the sunshine through the windows and possibly the forced air from the heating/cooling system. No one referred to the faucet. When the teachers were asked if they had ever had the electricity fail in the school they all answered yes. When asked if they had ever experienced a water failure in the school they all answered no. It was concluded that the most reliable source of energy in the room was the faucet/(gravity).

Here is a simple classroom or home activity to help students realize how many energy sources are around them all the time! Read the rest of this entry »


Should We Build a Dam?


Brandon DeBritzby Brandon DeBritz

A Junior High STEM Exploration into Hydroelectric Energy with the use of the PowerWheel

When we talk about electricity and where it comes from in the Pacific Northwest, hydroelectric energy production is a key source and natural opportunity for teaching.  Part of the curriculum used in the South Kitsap School District in Port Orchard, WA is SEPUP ‘Weathering and Erosion’.  Students explore the Earth processes of weathering, erosion, and deposition all the while considering where to expand residential development in an expanding fictional town along the northwest coast.  This year, students at Cedar Heights Junior High were presented with a new factor to consider for this situation, ’should we build a dam on the town’s river to provide energy for the expanding electrical needs of the city?’ This new situation opened the door for a STEM unit, ‘The Energy of Moving Water’ from the National Energy Education Development (NEED) Project (free teacher and student curriculum guides are available from their website  www.need.org).  From this platform, students were engaged in activities and research to explore: what electricity is and how it is created, the designs of a hydroelectric dam and how they work, as well as many of the environmental, economic, social, and political issues around the construction and use of dams. Through a school partnership with RB Industries and the PowerWheel, students explored the fundamental elements of creating electricity through the transfer of moving water.  Picture #1     Read the rest of this entry »