Tile for Energy (3)

Most of us don’t realize the intricate infrastructure that brings us the electricity that powers so much of day-to-day life in the contemporary world. How is energy produced? How sustainable are our current methods? What is the potential for the future?

How to Use this Video

Find the video below, as well as some of the important science senses it features relating to scientific progress, and the intersections between science and society.

Have thoughts about the video? What resources or activities have you used to teach this topic in your class? We’d love to know – share your voice by sending us a message below 🙂


Science Senses Featured in this Video

Number sense

Having a sense of scale

Knowledge sense

Making progress in science

Acknowledging the intersection of science and society

Activities & Lesson Plans

This video is great for hitting number sense skills like scale and unit conversion. Assign your students a specific source of energy and have them identify where the energy comes from (breaking chemical bonds, electron movement, etc.) and how much energy can be generated per specific unit (burning a gall of oil versus the same amount of helium in a fusion reactor). If you do this topic after a food or agriculture unit, you can have students do a problem set where they compare the energy in food using Calories (which are actually kilocalories) versus another  source of energy.

You can also make this lesson all about data visualization. These Sankey diagrams from Lawrence Livermore National Lab are great for discussions of how to communicate a great deal of information graphically. Have students analyze these and then make their own.


Muller RA. 2008. Ch 5: Key Energy Surprises from Physics for Future Presidents. New York: W. W. Norton. Pgs. 65-76.

Muller RA. 2012. Ch IV: What is Energy? from Energy for Future Presidents. New York: W. W. Norton. Pgs. 281-290.

OpenStax. 2015. Section 5.1: Energy basics from OpenStax: Chemistry.

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