Renewables and Nonrenewables, Oh My!

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RENEWABLES and Nonrenewables, Oh My! Activities Inside: • Forms and Sources of Energy • Getting the Oil Out

• Mining Challenge • Wind Can Do Work • Solar Oven Challenge

Grade Levels:





Subject Areas: Science


Language Arts

Social Studies

Teacher Information &Background Throughout human history, energy use has been key to advances in society. The first energy sources used were solar, hydropower, and biomass (wood), but they did not have high enough energy densities necessary to propel technological development. At the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, coal and petroleum were beginning to be exploited for their high energy density, wide availability, and relative ease of recovery. Today, nonrenewable energy sources account for about 90 percent of the energy consumed in the United States. We use coal primarily to generate electricity, petroleum for our transportation needs, and natural gas for heating homes, industrial processes, and generating electricity. Uranium is the most recent addition to our nonrenewable supply, being used to generate electricity and power Naval vessels. In the last 50 years, more attention has been directed toward renewable resources in an effort to make our energy use cleaner and sustainable. Wind is the fastest-growing contributor to energy consumption in terms of percentage increases, while technological advances are providing materials that can double as building materials and solar panels. The activities contained in this sampler are designed to expose students to some of the challenges and concepts involved in using energy resources, renewable and nonrenewable. Forms and Sources of Energy helps shed light on how renewable energy sources fit into our overall energy consumption as a nation and is taken from NEED’s Science of Energy unit. Getting the Oil Out models the challenges of successfully extracting petroleum from the ground and is found in NEED’s oil and natural gas suite of guides. Mining Challenge provides a fun, engaging economic and environmental model of the challenge of bringing coal out of the ground while disturbing the land as little as possible. Mining Challenge is a key component of our coal unit. Wind Can Do Work shows students how wind energy can be used to do useful work and has been pulled from NEED’s wind units. Solar Oven Challenge is a STEM activity your students will enjoy and has been excerpted from Energy from the Sun. Visit to download these activities within their guides. Each guide contains student text, a teacher guide, and additional activities about the formation, exploration, production, and utilization of these energy sources.


Renewables and Nonrenewables, Oh My!

MATERIALS The table below contains a list of materials needed to complete the activities in this suite. Many of the materials can be found in a common lab setting, or easily procured from a grocery, craft, or home improvement store. Refer to the activity instructions for more specifics about each item. Contact NEED if you have any questions or difficulty locating a certain item.



Forms and Sources of Energy

No additional materials needed

Getting the Oil Out

Chocolate syrup (or thick breakfast syrup) Dark-colored beverage of low viscosity (such as iced tea, soda, or chocolate milk) Drinking straws (standard and wide) Masking tape

Mining Challenge

Wooden toothpicks Plastic toothpicks Large paper clips Napkins or paper towels Play money Chocolate chip cookies

Wind Can Do Work and Power Up! Challenge

Binder clips Drinking straws Fan(s) Hole punches Large foam cups (approximately 14 cm tall) Markers Masking tape Paper clips Rulers

Scissors Small straws (must fit inside drinking straws) Straight pins String or thread Stopwatch or timer Construction and craft tools Additional recycled materials, as needed

Solar Oven Challenge

Aluminum foil Black construction paper Food to cook Markers Masking tape Oven thermometer Paper plates

Plastic wrap Rulers Scissors Small pizza boxes Wooden skewers Additional solar oven materials

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Paper towels Plastic cups Rulers Scissors



&Background This activity can be found within the following NEED guides at Elementary Science of Energy Intermediate Science of Energy

People are often surprised how much or how little of our energy comes from certain renewable and nonrenewable sources. This activity will allow students to become familiar with the terms “renewable” and “nonrenewable,” and quantify how much of our energy use comes from sources of each category. Forms and Sources of Energy often creates interesting discussion and questions from students as they become exposed to the vocabulary and statistics, and is a great introduction to the subsequent activities in the suite.

Secondary Science of Energy Energy Flows


Energy of Moving Water

Students will be able to describe how energy is stored in the major energy sources. Students will be able to describe quantitatively how energy use in the U.S. is distributed among renewable and nonrenewable resources.

Saving Energy at Home and School

 Time One class period

Extensions For more information on energy sources, energy consumption, and energy conservation, check out NEED’s Energy Infobooks and Energy Infobook Activities. Both are available for free download at elementary, intermediate, and secondary levels at Interactive versions are also available! Download Energy Games and Icebreakers from and lead students through the activity Electric Connections to show how energy sources are used in differing amounts to generate electricity.

 Materials What is Solar Energy? master Harnessing Wind Energy master How Coal Was Formed master Burning Fossil Fuels to Generate Electricity master Forms and Sources of Energy worksheet

2Preparation Make enough copies of the worksheet so each student has a copy. Prepare copies of the masters for projection and discussion.

Procedure 1. Give a brief description of the ten major sources of energy and explain the terms renewable and nonrenewable. Use NEED’s Intermediate Energy Infobook as a reference, if necessary. Infobooks can be downloaded from 2. Project the What is Solar Energy? master. Discuss with students how energy is released, not created, in the sun’s core. Explain that the released energy can be absorbed and re-released over and over again by atoms in the sun for thousands of years, and that once the energy leaves the sun’s surface it takes just 8 minutes to reach the Earth’s surface. Describe that this process involves nuclear fusion, which produces radiant (solar) energy, as well as how solar energy is used for warmth and to generate electricity. 3. Project the Harnessing Wind Energy master. Discuss with students how the wind is formed and how a wind turbine can generate energy in the form of electricity. Ask students to estimate how much of our energy they think comes from wind. 4. Project the How Coal Was Formed master and Burning Fossil Fuels to Generate Electricity master. Discuss the differences between a wind turbine and a thermal energy plant for generating electricity. 5. Distribute the Forms and Sources of Energy worksheet to students. 6. Have students complete the worksheet independently, in small groups, or as a whole class, depending on the capabilities of your students. 7. Discuss the answers to the activity.


Renewables and Nonrenewables, Oh My!

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1.800.875.5029 Helium

Hydrogen Energy

4. We can also use solar energy to generate electricity with specialized equipment.

3. Some of the sun’s energy is absorbed by the water, soil, rocks, and other objects on earth, and they get warm. This way, solar energy is used to heat our environment.

2. The energy released by nuclear fusion travels through space in waves.

1. In the sun’s core, small atoms are fused to make larger ones. This releases tremendous amounts of energy.




What is Solar Energy?





Harnessing Wind Energy How Wind is Formed





1. The sun shines on land and water. 2. Land heats up faster than water. 3. Warm air over the land rises. 4. Cool air over the water moves in.








1. Wind turns the blades of the turbine. 2. The blades spin a shaft inside the nacelle. 3. Inside the generator, the shaft spins coils of copper wire inside a ring of magnets. This creates an electric field, producing electricity. 4. Electricity is sent to a switchyard, where a transformer increases the voltage, allowing it to travel through the electric grid.


Renewables and Nonrenewables, Oh My!

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Millions to hundreds of millions of years ago, dead plant matter fell into swampy water and over time, a thick layer of dead plants lay decaying at the bottom of the swamps. Over time, the surface and climate of the Earth changed, and more water and dirt washed in, halting the decay process, forming peat. The weight of the top layers of water and dirt packed down the lower layers of plant matter. Under heat and pressure, this plant matter underwent chemical and physical changes pushing out oxygen and leaving rich hydrocarbon deposits. What once had been plants gradually turned into coal. Coal can be found deep underground (as shown in this graphic), or it can be found near the surface.

How Coal Was Formed


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6. Electricity is sent to a switchyard, where a transformer increases the voltage, allowing it to travel through the electric grid.

5. Inside the generator, the shaft spins coils of copper wire inside a ring of magnets. This creates an electric field, producing electricity.






4. The high pressure steam turns a turbine, which spins a shaft.

3. The steam travels at high pressure through a steam line.

2. Water is piped into the boiler and heated, turning it into steam.








1. A fossil fuel is fed into a boiler, where it is burned to release thermal energy.







Burning Fossil Fuels to Make Electricity

Burning Fossil Fuels to Generate Electricity


Renewables and Nonrenewables, Oh My!

Forms and Sources of Energy In the United States we use a variety of resources to meet our energy needs. Use the information below to analyze how each energy source is stored and delivered.



Determine how energy is stored or delivered in each of the sources of energy listed below. If, for example, the source of energy must be burned, the energy is stored as chemical energy.



Petroleum _______________________

Biomass _______________________

Coal _______________________

Hydropower _______________________

Natural Gas


Wind _______________________

Uranium _______________________

Solar _______________________

Propane _______________________

Geothermal _______________________

Look at the U.S. Energy Consumption by Source graphic below and calculate the percentage of the nation’s energy use that each form of energy provides.

What percentage of the nation’s energy is provided by each form of energy?

U.S. Energy Consumption by Source, 2017 NONRENEWABLE











Chemical _____


Uses: transportation, manufacturing

Nuclear _____ Motion



Radiant _____

Uses: heating, manufacturing, electricity

Thermal _____ What percentage of the nation’s energy is provided

Uses: electricity, manufacturing

Uses: heating, electricity, transportation Uses: electricity

Uses: electricity

by nonrenewables? ______





by renewables?





Uses: electricity


Uses: heating, manufacturing

Uses: heating, electricity

Uses: heating, electricity

*Total does not add to 100% due to independent rounding. Data: Energy Information Administration ©2019 The NEED Project

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&Background Versions of this activity can be found within the following NEED guides at or Wonders of Oil and Natural Gas Exploring Oil and Natural Gas Fossil Fuels to Products

 Time One class period

The location of a petroleum or natural gas deposit and the conditions under the surface can cause natural pressure that push crude oil and/or natural gas to the surface. Some wells do not have enough natural pressure to produce the resources, bringing them to the surface. Students will explore how depth, pressure, viscosity, and well diameter are all related to the challenges engineers face trying to “produce” materials, or bring them to the surface.

Objectives Students will be able to describe the relationship between well depth and effort to recover resources. Students will be able to describe the relationship between well diameter and effort to recover resources.

 Materials PER GROUP

8-10 Standard drinking straws 8-10 Wider-width drinking straws (such as for smoothies) 12 oz. Dark, low-viscosity beverage, such as iced tea, soda, or chocolate milk 4 oz. Chocolate syrup or thick breakfast syrup 2 Plastic cups Masking tape Ruler Scissors Paper towels

 Materials PER STUDENT Getting the Oil Out worksheet

2Preparation Gather all materials. Make a copy of the worksheet for each student. Keep paper towels on hand for spills. It’s easy to spill a full cup of beverage with the straw assembly.

Procedure 1. Explain to students that oil and natural gas formation took place similarly to that of coal, except that the fossil plant and animal organisms existed mostly in underwater ocean environments, before dinosaurs lived. The heat and pressure process over time created oil and natural gas. 2. Distribute the activity. Discuss with students that it may be necessary to have a partner stabilize the container of beverage, as it may easily tip. Explain the concept of viscosity if students are unfamiliar with the physical property. 3. Have a place for students to dispose of their beverage when the activity is complete. 4. Discuss student results and encourage them to think about and identify the challenges of deep well drilling based on their results. 5. Have students discuss how viscosity or other variables might impact their results. Allow them to experiment with liquids of varying viscosities, if time allows.


Renewables and Nonrenewables, Oh My!

GETTING THE OIL OUT &Background Artificial lifting systems, or pumping units, are used to help pull the oil out of the reservoir rock and pump it up the well. A down hole pump in the well is connected to the pumping unit by steel rods, which are screwed together. The pump is activated from the up and down movement of the pumping unit on the surface. As the pump plunges down, fluid from the rock formation flows into the pump chamber. On the upstroke, the fluid in the chamber is forced up the tubing to the surface.

? Questions  Will it be easier to bring up liquid with a long tubing system, or a short tubing system? Will it be easier or harder to bring up a thick liquid as compared to a thinner liquid? Will it be easier to bring up liquid with a narrow tubing system, or a wide tubing system?

 Hypothesis Draft a hypothesis to answer the questions using an “If...then...because...” format.

 Materials FOR EACH STUDENT OR PAIR 8-10 Standard drinking straws 8-10 Wider-width drinking straws (such as for smoothies) 12 oz. Dark, low-viscosity beverage, such as iced tea, soda, or chocolate milk 4 oz. Chocolate syrup or thick breakfast syrup 2 Plastic cups Masking tape Ruler Scissors Paper towels

Procedure PART 1 – TUBING LENGTH 1. Using the scissors, cut a 1 cm slit at one end of each standard width straw. 2. Join the straws end to end to form one long tube. Place the slit end of the straw into the inside of the adjoining straw. 3. Place masking tape over each connected end to secure the joint and create an air tight seal. 4. Place the low-viscosity beverage cup on the floor. One member of the group stands up and inserts the extended straw “tubing” into the beverage, trying to bring the liquid to the top of the “tubing” using his/her suction. 5. Now, decrease the number of straws used for the “tubing” by cutting off one straw. The same student tries to bring the liquid to the top. What do you notice? 6. Retain remaining beverage and cup for use in Part 3.

PART 2 – LIQUID THICKNESS 1. Repeat Part 1, this time using the thick liquid (chocolate syrup or thick breakfast syrup) in a different cup. The same student should try to draw the thick liquid up through the straws. 2. Cut off one straw at a time. Try to bring the liquid to the top of the tubing. Continue this process until successful.

PART 3 – TUBING WIDTH 1. Repeat Part 1, this time using wider straws and the remaining low-viscosity liquid (milk, tea, or soda). The same student should again draw the liquid up the tubing to compare the effort required.

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Conclusions 1. Which length of straw required the most effort to bring the liquid to the top? Which length of straw required the least effort to bring the liquid to the top? Explain why. 2. How difficult was it to bring a thick liquid up through the straw? Explain why. 3. How did changing the width of the straws change the effort required to bring the thin liquid to the top? Explain why.

Extensions Study the diagram of the artificial lift system. Use the diagram to estimate how the system works to retrieve oil. Record your thoughts in your notebook. Using the Oil and Natural Gas book by the Society of Petroleum Engineers, or internet sources, research how a horsehead pump actually works. Visit the book online at






Renewables and Nonrenewables, Oh My!


&Background Coal is the leading source of energy for electricity production. Coal mining has been going on for many years in the U.S. The mining industry is fairly regulated to minimize safety hazards and land use concerns during and after mining. This activity opens students up to some of the physical challenges associated with mining and reclaiming land, as well as the economic challenges associated with running a productive facility.

Versions of this activity can be found within the following NEED guides at or : All About Coal Understanding Coal

Objective Students will be able to describe the process and challenges of mining.

 Materials

Exploring Coal This Mine of Mine

 Time

1 Box of wooden toothpicks 1 Box of plastic toothpicks 20-30 Large paper clips Napkins or paper towels Play money* Chocolate chip cookies** Mining Challenge worksheet

45-90 minutes

NOTES: *Each team of students will need $105 in play money in varied increments. Extra cash will be needed for the banker. **A variety of textures of chocolate chip cookies helps to make this activity more authentic. Using a mixture of soft/chewy, hard, large chunk, etc., cookies is suggested. If desired, have enough cookies on-hand to complete the activity and extra on-hand for eating. Be sure the cookies used will be safe for students with allergies.

2Preparation Split the class into teams of 3-5 students. Separate the play money for each team so that each group has varied denominations adding up to $105. Select 3 students or helpers to serve as the banker, equipment salesman, and realtor. Set up work stations or areas where teams can purchase materials and do their mining.

Procedure 1. Pass out the student worksheets for the activity. Discuss the process of coal mining and reclamation, as needed. 2. Preview the rules of the activity and the steps each group will need to follow. Depending on the level of your students, you may choose to have a sample page completed ahead of time to project so students can work through the process and see the calculations they will make. 3. Help teams pick their jobs or roles and determine how many mine sites and tools they want to purchase. Depending on the time available and level of your students, you may recommend that each team only purchase one mine site. If students purchase more mine sites, they will also need extra grid space. If allowing teams to purchase more than one mine (cookie), you may also consider giving teams more than the prescribed amount of play money. ©2019 The NEED Project

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4. Hand out cookies as students visit the realtor to purchase their mines. Instruct the teams that these cookies are just for mining and that they should not be eaten until AFTER the activity. Make sure each team maps out their mine on their grid. 5. Direct the teams to begin mining. Keep time for the 1-minute shifts and moderate as teams are determining their earnings and/or buying supplies. Give the signal for when teams should start each shift. Make sure teams are mining only the number of shifts they have selected to mine. You may choose to pre-determine the number of shifts each team will have to do their mining. 6. As teams finish their shifts, remind them to begin the reclamation process. Assist mineral engineers in assessesing fines to their teams. 7. Direct the teams to help their accountant tally up their final balances. 8. Discuss the profits and losses each team faced. Ask students why they might have had losses despite mining plenty of coal. What challenges did they face during mining? What challenges did they face during reclamation? 9. Allow students to eat cookies, if appropriate.

General Rules of the Challenge: 1. Each team tries to mine the most coal (chocolate chips) from their mine (cookie). 2. Each team member has a job and must keep that job throughout the game. 3. Cookies must be mined with only the tools purchased – NO hands! 4. Teams must mine in 1-minute shifts. No mining should take place between the timed shifts. 5. After each team finishes their shift allotment, they must reclaim the land using their original outline map. 6. Teams should tally up their total costs and earnings to determine net profit/loss.

Jobs: Banker: Handles all money, gives each team their initial investment. Makes change, collects payroll, and pays out after each shift. Equipment Salesman: Sells teams their tools before mining and during shifts. Realtor: Sells teams their mine, hands out cookies. Mineral Engineer: Purchases mine land from realtor. Determines which tools will be used and purchased. Outlines/maps out their mine land on the grid. Oversees reclamation. Accountant: Tracks the expenditures and income of the team. Completes the worksheet table and calculates the final balance. Determines how much coal is mined in each shift. Goes to the banker to seek pay. Miners: Responsible for mining the coal and reclaiming the land.

Finances: Each team receives $105 as an initial investment. Each mine site (cookie) costs $20. Tools have varying costs: wooden toothpick $1, plastic toothpick $2, and paper clip $3. Each team must pay EACH miner $15 for each minute-long shift they work. Money will be deposited in the bank until “pay day“. This can be paid up-front to the bank or after each round. For every ton (square) of coal, teams earn $5 (square must be at least half-full). After reclamation, any land outside the original outline of the mine will be assessed a $1 fine for each square.


Renewables and Nonrenewables, Oh My!

Mining Challenge Objective You will work in teams. Each team will become a mining company. Your company wants to mine as much coal (chocolate chips) from your mine (cookie) as possible. Each team will be given a starting investment of $105.00 to purchase land, equipment, and pay their miners. There will be a class banker, equipment salesman, and realtor who sells the land to be mined. A list of costs includes:

Each mine will cost $20.00 to purchase

Wooden tools will cost $1.00 each to purchase

Plastic tools will cost $2.00 each to purchase

Metal tools will cost $3.00 each to purchase

Each miner must be paid $15.00 for each shift

Each ton (square) of coal mined is worth $5.00

Land outside the original mine after reclamation will cost $1.00 (per square)

Procedure 1. Each team member will assume a role in the company. Read the job descriptions below and write each team member’s name on the line next to the job he/she has picked. The mineral engineer (1 team member) is responsible for purchasing the land to be mined and determining which tools the team will purchase. He/she will also survey the boundaries of the mine, outlining the land boundaries on the grid. When the mining shift ends, he/ she will oversee reclamation of the land. Mineral engineer_______________________________________________ The accountant (1 team member) is responsible for tracking the expenses and income of the company. Accountant_______________________________________________ The miners (1-3 team members) are responsible for ‘mining’ the coal and reclaiming the land. Miner 1 _______________________________________________

Miner 2 _______________________________________________ Miner 3 _______________________________________________ 2. Decide how many mines ($20.00 each) your company wants to purchase and what mining supplies you wish to purchase. 3. Determine how many 1-minute shifts your team will use to complete the mining. 4. Mine your land (cookie) during the timed shifts. Remember, you may ONLY use the tools purchased to do your mining – NO HANDS! Try to recover as much coal (chocolate chips) as possible during each shift. At the end of each minute shift, place your coal in the grid to be counted. Each ton will earn you a payout. A square must be at least half-full to count as a ton. Tally up labor costs to pay the miners and take this money to the bank for safe keeping. Your accountant will keep track of your funds earned and paid.

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5. Once your team has mined for the number of shifts you selected, you must reclaim your land. Try to piece your cookie together so that the land is as good as, or better than, it was before. 6. The mineral engineer will determine if any land is outside the original mine and fine your team $1.00 for any land leftover outside of the original mine outline. 7. Help your accountant total up your expenses and earnings and complete the final balance.

ď‚?Data Name of your company:______________________ EXPENSES Mine Site Wooden Toothpick Plastic Toothpick Paper Clip Labor Costs Reclamation

Beginning Balance: $_________________


UNIT PRICE $20.00 $1.00 $2.00 $3.00 $15.00 per shift $1.00 per square




ď‚?Area of Mine Site Outline your mine (cookie) on the grid below.

Put mined coal (chips) here.

Income from coal: ________________ $5 per ton (square must be at least half-full to be counted as a ton)


Renewables and Nonrenewables, Oh My!

Final Balance Step 1 Step 2 Beginning balance


Current balance


Minus expenses


Plus income from coal


Current balance


Ending balance


Did your company make a profit or suffer a loss?

(+ or -)

What was your profit/loss amount?

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Wind Can Do Work TEACHER INFORMATION &Background Versions of this activity can be found within the following NEED guides at or : Wonders of Wind Energy From the Wind Exploring Wind

 Time One class period; plus additional time needed for the Power Up! Challenge (see page 21)

In the last decade, wind energy installations have increased the most, as a percentage, out of all other sources used to generate electric power. Using wind to generate electricity is cost-effective, clean, and can be installed almost anywhere wind speeds are sufficient to make it economically feasible. However, because wind speeds are not 100 percent consistent, and because the size of wind turbines prohibits them from being installed in urban areas, wind energy cannot completely replace other more reliable sources of electricity like uranium and coal. Regardless, wind energy will continue to grow as an important part of our country’s overall electricity generation picture. This activity does not generate electricity, but does demonstrate to students how the movement of the air can be put to use. If your students master this activity relatively easily, move them forward to the Power Up! Challenge.

 Objective Students will be able to explain how wind can do work.


 Materials FOR THE CLASS

1 Straight pin 1 Drinking straw 1 Small straw Large foam cup Binder clip Ruler Hole punch Marker 50 cm String or thread Paper clips Masking tape Scissors 4-Blade Windmill Template Wind Can Do Work worksheet


2 Preparation Make copies for the worksheets so each student has a copy of the instructions, and each student or group has a template to work with. If supplies and time allow, assemble a model turbine for your students to see. Gather supplies for the activity. You may want to sort supplies into baskets or boxes such that one basket has all the supplies needed to build one turbine. Instead, you might want to have stations where each supply is available. Choose the option best suited for your class.

Procedure 1. Discuss the information presented in the Background section above, as is age-appropriate for your students. Explain to them how wind is used to generate electricity. If you haven’t already done so, you might want to show students the Harnessing Wind Energy master in this activity suite. 2. Preview the activity for your students. Show them the model you built, if appropriate.


3. Guide your students through the activity. If students will be moving on to the Power Up! Challenge, remind them to note the amount of time required to lift their maximum number of paper clips and the height to which the clips were lifted (in centimeters). Renewables and Nonrenewables, Oh My!

4-Blade Windmill Template Procedure 1. Cut out the square. 2. Cut on the dotted, diagonal lines. 3. Punch out the four black holes along the sides (being careful to not rip the edges) and the one in the center. 4. Follow the directions on the Wind Can Do Work worksheet to complete the windmill.

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Wind Can Do Work ? Question  What is the maximum load that can be lifted all of the way to the top of the windmill shaft?

 Materials 4-Blade Windmill Template 1 Drinking straw 1 Small straw Masking tape 50 cm String or thread Paper clips Large foam cup

1 Straight pin Binder clip Fan Ruler Hole punch Marker Scissors

Procedure 1. Turn the cup upside down. 2. Cut the drinking straw so that you have an 8 cm length. Share the other portion with another student or group, or discard it. Tape this straw horizontally to the bottom of the cup (which is now the top) so that there is an equal amount of straw on both ends. Set this aside. 3. Prepare the windmill blades using the 4-Blade Windmill Template. 4. Measure 1.0 cm from the end of the small straw and make a mark. Insert a pin through the small straw at this mark. This is the front of the straw. 5. Slide the small straw through the windmill blades until the back of the blades rest against the pin. Gently slide each blade over the end of the straw. Secure the blades to the straw using tape. 6. Insert the small straw into the larger straw on the cup. 7. Tape the string to the end of the small straw. Tie the other end of the string to a paper clip. Make sure you have 30 cm of string from the straw to the top of the paper clip. 8. On the very end of the small straw near where the string is attached, fasten a binder clip in place for balance and to keep the string winding around the straw. 9. Slide the small straw forward to bring the binder clip next to the larger straw. Place a second straight pin through the small straw at the other end of the larger straw. This will keep the blades away from the cup while still allowing them to move and spin. 10. Place your windmill in front of the fan and observe. Record observations in your science notebooks. 11. Investigate: Keep adding paper clips one at a time to determine the maximum load that can be lifted all of the way to the top. Record your data.

 Conclusion Draw a diagram of the system. Label the energy transformations that occurred in order for work to take place.

 Extensions How could you change the design of your windmill to produce more work from the system? What variables can you change in this investigation? Create a new investigation changing one variable at a time.


Renewables and Nonrenewables, Oh My!

Wind Can Do Work Power Up! Challenge TEACHER INFORMATION

&Background Energy is required to do work – which is defined as applying a force over a certain distance. However, what really comes into play in terms of electricity use as well as in practical terms, is power. How quickly work is done, or the rate at which work is done and energy used, is power. In Wind Can Do Work, students demonstrated that wind can be used to do work. But how well did their model turbines do that work? Can they improve the power of their machines? There are two ways they can improve the power of their model turbines. The first is to lift the same number of paperclips, but to do it faster. The second is to lift more paper clips in the same amount of time. Both will increase the power of their models. This activity will build on the previous wind activity in this suite. Direct students to observe their models at work and identify any potential areas that could be improved to increase the power. Encourage them to think about how they could modify those parts, and to use recycled or reclaimed materials from the classroom or that they bring in from home. Expect a wide variety of design ideas, a lot of trial-and-error, a certain amount of mess, and your students to potentially become obsessed with perfecting their turbines. Students may want to work outside of class time, so be prepared to handle that request and decide how you will accommodate additional time.

 Objective Students will be able to redesign their model wind turbines to increase their power.

 Time Two or three class periods beyond the initial Wind Can Do Work activity

 Materials Wind turbine models from Wind Can Do Work Stopwatches or student timers Construction and craft tools Paper clips Additional materials such as poster board, corrugated cardboard, dowels, tape, glue, old CD’s, etc., that students can use to improve the power of their model turbines Wind Can Do Work Power Up! Challenge worksheet

2 Preparation Gather potential materials for your students to use to modify their turbines, and any additional tools and supplies they might need, such as utility knives, scissors, glue guns, pliers, etc. Print one copy of the student activity page for each student. Decide if you want students to work individually or in small groups, and assign to groups if appropriate. Record the mass of one paper clip being used for the activity so students can calculate the weight of all paper clips being lifted.

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Procedure 1. Introduce (or re-introduce) the concepts of work and power. Explain how they are applicable in the wind turbine model. 2. Lead students through calculating the work done and power used by their model turbines. 3. Allow students time to observe their turbines to determine which area(s) of construction they want to modify to increase the power of their machines. 4. Review scientific methodology with students, and reiterate that changing one aspect at a time will give them the best idea of how their machines work and how they can increase the power. 5. Remind students that testing and redesign are a normal part of any design challenge, and they shouldn’t give up after one modification if it does not produce the desired effect. 6. Allow ample time for students to go through several modification and test cycles and reach their power goals. 7. When students have reached their goals, or the allotted time is up, regroup the students to discuss their modifications and results.

Extensions Have your students develop a consensus design based on all the ideas and results the individuals or small groups got. Have them build the design and test it. Move your students to larger, sturdier materials and determine the power of those turbines. Attach a small motor to the students’ turbines and use a digital multimeter to determine the electric power output of their designs. This activity lends itself nicely to relating rotational motion to linear motion and provides an opportunity to explore rotational speed, torque, and rotational momentum if you so desire.


Renewables and Nonrenewables, Oh My!

Wind Can Do Work Power Up! Challenge &Background You’ve seen that wind can do work. How much work did your turbine do? To calculate the amount of work, consider the formula, work = force × distance, or W=F×d. Work is measured in Joules, force in Newtons, and distance in meters. In this case, the force exerted was the weight of the paper clips, found by multiplying the mass of the paper clips in kilograms by the acceleration due to gravity, or g. How many paper clips did your turbine lift?


What is the mass of one paper clip? _______ g Mass of all the paper clips your turbine lifted _______ g Mass of all the paper clips your turbine lifted in SI (base) units _______ kg Weight of all the paper clips your turbine lifted (use g = 9.8 m/s2) Distance the paper clips were lifted by the turbine

_______ N

_______ cm

Distance the paper clips were lifted in SI (base) units _______ m Work done by your turbine to lift the paper clips

_______ J

In order to calculate the power of your turbine, you will need to know how long it took to lift those paper clips. If you didn’t record the time already, take the time to do it now. _______ s Power is the rate at which work is done, or power = work ÷ time. Thus, the amount of time it takes to do the work is just as important as the work itself when calculating power. It doesn’t do much good to move 2 tons 50 meters if it takes 2 months to do so. Power is measured in Watts, work is measured in Joules, and time is measured in seconds. The work done by your turbine to lift the paper clips was

_______ J

The time required by your turbine to do the work was _______ s The power of your turbine was

_______ W

How can you increase the power of your wind turbine? There are two main areas of focus: 1. You can ______________ the amount of time required to lift the same number of paper clips. 2. You can ______________ the number of paper clips your turbine can lift in the same amount of time.

? Question  What modifications can be made to your Wind Can Do Work model turbine to make it more powerful?

 Hypothesis Draft a hypothesis to answer the question using an “If...then...because...” format.

 Materials FOR EACH STUDENT OR PAIR Model wind turbines from Wind Can Do Work activity Stopwatch or student timer Paper clips Recycled or reclaimed materials for improving your turbine, such as cardboard, clean plastic bottles, scrap craft wood, etc. Construction and craft tools such as utility knives, scissors, glue, tape, pliers, etc.

©2019 The NEED Project

8408 Kao Circle, Manassas, VA 20110



Procedure 1. Decide which approach you will use to increase the power of your turbine. Will you change the time it takes to lift the paper clips, or will you change how many paper clips the turbine can lift at once? 2. Set a goal. Would you like to double the power? Triple it? Increase it by an additional 50 percent? Write your goal below. I would like to increase the power of the turbine by ___________________. 3. Observe your turbine to see where improvements can be made. Make a sketch and note on the sketch the area(s) on which you would like to focus. 4. Approach the Power Up! Challenge systematically. Modify one part or group of parts at a time, test, note the power change, and modify again if necessary. Then move on to the next area of focus until you reach your power increase goal. 5. Document your results on paper, in photos, or in video, and report your findings to the rest of the class at the end of the challenge.

Rules for Improving Turbines 1. The speed of the air moving your turbine must remain constant. You may not increase or decrease the speed of the fan motor. 2. You may not use any portion of a pre-assembled model wind turbine, engineering building set, plastic building brick set, or something similar. All parts added to your turbine must be hand-made by you or your group. 3. All work being done must be by the turbine. You may not add any mechanical advantage that does work, such as a motor, lever, spring, etc., nor may you combine two turbines to work in combination.

ďƒšConclusions 1. How did you decide to increase the power of your turbine? Why did you choose this focus? 2. Describe an obstacle you encountered in trying to increase the power of your turbine. What did you do to overcome it? 3. If you had more time, what would you do next to improve your turbine?


Renewables and Nonrenewables, Oh My!

Solar Oven Challenge TEACHER INFORMATION  Objectives Students will be able to design and test a solar oven. Students will be able to describe the transformation of radiant energy to thermal energy.

 Materials Small pizza boxes Plastic wrap Aluminum foil Wooden skewers Markers Scissors Rulers

Versions of this activity can be found within the following NEED guides at or : Wonders of Sun

Masking tape Paper plates* Black construction paper Food to cook Oven thermometers Additional materials to redesign ovens Solar Oven Challenge worksheet

Energy From the Sun

 Time 90 minutes, plus time for cooking

NOTE: Dark-colored paper plates work best, if available.

2 Preparation Make one standard solar oven using the directions. This solar oven will be used as the “standard” oven. Select items to cook in the solar ovens. Popular choices include cookies, s’mores, English Muffin pizzas, and nachos. You can also steam carrots if you put them in a plastic bag inside the oven. Be aware of food allergies in your classroom. Gather the prescribed materials and any additional materials students may need.

Procedure 1. Show your students the standard solar oven you have made using the general instructions on the Solar Oven Challenge worksheet. Describe its construction. Discuss as a class all of the different variables that could be changed that might affect the oven’s ability to cook food. Suggested variables to share with students as needed: Color of construction paper Number of reflective panels Side of aluminum foil—shiny side/dull side Use of plastic wrap Seal/unseal air leaks Cover outside of box in different materials 2. In their science notebooks, or using the worksheet, students should individually brainstorm possible oven designs. Put students into groups. As a group they must discuss their designs and decide on one design to construct as a team. 3. Give students the materials they need to build their solar ovens. 4. Before cooking the food you have chosen, discuss with the class how they will know whether or not their solar ovens were effective. 5. Re-visit the worksheet. Ask students to answer the conclusion questions. Review the following concepts with the class: radiant energy can be reflected or absorbed when it hits objects; absorbed radiant energy can be transformed into thermal energy for cooking; black objects tend to absorb radiant energy; and shiny objects tend to reflect radiant energy. ©2019 The NEED Project

8408 Kao Circle, Manassas, VA 20110



Solar Oven Challenge ? Question  How does the design of a solar oven affect the transformation of radiant energy to thermal energy?

 Hypothesis In your science notebook, write your hypothesis in an “If…then…because…” format.

 Materials Used in Teacher Sample 1 Small pizza box Plastic wrap Aluminum foil 1 Wooden skewer (12”-18”) Marker Scissors Ruler

Masking tape 1 Paper plate* Black construction paper Oven thermometer Food to cook Various materials provided by your teacher *NOTE: Dark-colored paper plates work best, if available.

Procedure 1. Read over the general solar oven directions below and look at the materials provided by your teacher. 2. List all of the possible variables you could change in your solar oven design. 3. In your science notebook, or using the next page, sketch possible designs. Discuss with your group all of your different ideas. Choose one solar oven design to build. 4. Gather the materials you need. 5. Build your solar oven and test its efficiency using the oven thermometer. 6. Make any needed design changes that will enable your solar oven to cook food efficiently.

General Directions to Build a Solar Oven 1. On the top of the pizza box, use your marker to draw a square with edges spaced 1” from all sides of the box. 2. Use scissors to cut along the sides and front edge of the lid, leaving the fourth side along the box’s hinge uncut. 3. Tape aluminum foil to the inside surface of the new flap you just cut, shiny side visible. This is to reflect sunlight into the box. Smooth out any wrinkles that might occur. 4. Tape plastic wrap to the original box flap so that it covers the hole you cut into the flap. Seal all four of the edges with tape. 5. Tape black construction paper to the bottom inside of the box. This will help absorb the incoming sunlight. 6. Cover any air leaks around the box edges with tape, making sure that the box can still be opened to place food inside or remove it later. 7. Go outside in the sunlight and place the solar oven on a level, flat surface. 8. Place food items on a paper plate and place it inside the oven. Put the oven thermometer inside the oven where you will be able to see it without moving the oven. 9. Tape one end of a wooden skewer to the reflector lid, attach the other end to the box to adjust reflector. 10. Let the food cook and periodically check the reflector angle to make sure sunlight is getting inside the oven.

 Conclusions 1. What factors contributed to the successful cooking of the food? 2. What effect did changing the variable(s) have on converting radiant energy to thermal energy? How could you improve your design? 3. What are the practical applications where solar ovens could be used?


Renewables and Nonrenewables, Oh My!

A solar oven needs to let radiant energy in, convert that radiant energy to thermal energy, and keep the thermal energy inside to cook the food. Use this page to brainstorm solar oven design possibilities.

Step One: Sketch

Step Two: Compare

Brainstorm possible solar oven designs. Label the materials you will use and explain why.

Share your design with the other members of your group. What is similar? What is different?

Step Three: Final Design Choose one design that your group will use. Sketch the design here. Label the materials you will use and explain why you think this is the best design.

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