It’s Electrifying! Problem-Based Learning Unit

An Exploration in Water-Based Alternative Energy

By Shelagh A. Gallagher, Ph.D., Dana L. Plowden

NAGC Curriculum Award-Winner!

It’s Electrifying! presents the problem of whether Virginia Beach, Virginia, will accept alternative energy supplies and which source of energy would be most beneficial with the least environmental impact: wave energy, tidal energy, or offshore wind farms. Students are placed in the role of engineers whose job is to select new, innovative options for energy production. However, they must consider a variety of social and environmental impacts that could affect their recommendation.

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problem based learning unit (pbl curriculum)
problem based learning unit (pbl curriculum)

Description

National Association for Gifted Children Curriculum Award-Winner!

It’s Electrifying!┬ápresents the problem of whether Virginia Beach, Virginia, will accept alternative energy supplies and which source of energy would be most beneficial with the least environmental impact: wave energy, tidal energy, or offshore wind farms. In this unit, students are placed in the role of engineers whose job is to select new, innovative options for energy production. The science and technology focus is on how wind, water, and gravitational pull are converted into electricity. After studying the options, the students consider the social and environmental impacts, along with opinions and input from local government officials, environmentalists, local protesters, and business suppliers. Ultimately they must make a recommendation as to which form of energy would be best for the area, and they must make a convincing proposal for it.

This unit offers students an opportunity to explore clean energy technologies and to understand that the issues involved in implementing them are complex and multifaceted. The unit is especially relevant to the current conversation on energy production in the United States and around the world.

Details

Curriculum
Problem-Based Learning
Ages
11, 12, 13, 14, 15, Teachers & Schools
Grades
6, 7, 8, 9, 10
Subjects
Science, Problem-Based Learning, Problem-Solving
Downloadable Materials
Yes