Energy Literacy: Essential Principles and Fundamental Concepts for Energy Education

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Vsauce is a cool YouTube Channel that answers interesting questions through the lens of science.

There aren't any energy related videos yet but there is a ton of science in each. One favorite is What Color is a Mirror?

MinutePhysics is a YouTube channel that presents short explanations on cool physics and other sweet science:

And in Spanish – MinutoDeFisica:

MinuteEarth is a YouTube channel that presents short explanations on science and stories about our awesome planet:

And in Spanish – MinutoDeLaTierra:

The Cooperative Extension System provides featured articles and activities related to Home Energy. The extension website also has Farm Energy and Wood Energy resources.

WxTV is a national weatherization training show that uses a blend of expert advice, how-to techniques, innovation, and reality TV to create entertainment-based learning. Episodes range 12-15 minutes in length and are filmed around the country by WxTV film crews and often by weatherization crews themselves, in the field, showcasing their know-how. WxTV brings together differing techniques from hot, cold, humid, and arid environments, opening a dialogue for crews to debate the best way to accomplish weatherization tasks under varying conditions. But it’s not just weatherization on WxTV’s radar; the show has expanded to cover all aspects of energy-efficient living. In just a year and a half, the show has gained a sizable following within the weatherization, renovation, and energy-efficiency industries.
Exploring Energy Efficiency & Alternatives (E3A): E3A was developed as a partnership with Montana and Wyoming Cooperative Extension systems as a foundation for non-biased, research-based information on home and agricultural energy efficiency and conservation strategies and small renewable energy technologies. E3A provides ready-to-use downloadable fact sheets, links to resources, and resources to help farm and home consumers explore small renewable energy systems For educators, E3A is a self-guided, self-contained grab-and-go-toolkit of resources for a wide range of audience applications - K-12, volunteer, train-the trainer and higher education energy education. , The E3A toolkit includes lesson plans, evaluation tools, teaching demonstration kits, fact sheets, presentation materials and other resources.. The E3A program is being adopted by a number of other states as a foundation for their statewide energy curriculum and a national training was offered to facilitate this adoption of the program .

We Day is fuelled by the desire for change, and the hope that the world can be a better place. We Day is the movement of our time, inspiring a generation to act. It is a free full-day educational event inclusive of many great causes in our local, national and global community + a stadium full of elementary and secondary students who have committed to a minimum of one local and one global action + a stage with the greatest heroes of our time along with young change-makers + the launch of the year long We Act program providing campaigns, coordinator support, educational resources, and everything to turn inspiration into activation.

Envirolution is dedicated to developing and scaling dynamic K-12 education, job training, leadership academy, and community outreach programs centered around green industries and green energy. With a focus on service learning, our programs not only provide career development for students, but also enable our participants to give back to their communities. Envirolution™ seeks to promote global change by championing local efforts that empower citizens to do positive, meaningful work and to make a good living while giving back to their own social and environmental communities.

Tennessee Energy Hog: Learning about energy is fun when you include Energy Hogs! The Energy Hog Challenge is a set of classroom activities that guide children through lessons about different sources of energy, how we use energy at home, and how to bust energy hogs to save energy.

Students will:

  • Learn good energy-saving habits

  • Bring their lessons home to help their families save money by reducing home energy bills

  • Protect natural resources for future generations.
New Science: Sustainable Energy from UL is helping to advance new sustainable sources and technologies, making energy cleaner, more reliable and more efficient. This site provides information about energy generation, distribution, management and usage as relates to sustainable energy. It includes a journal with articles on measuring offshore wind power, advancing the smart grid and the safety of smart appliances. It also includes links to other multimedia like an infographic, video, photo gallery, and other documents. UL is a global independent safety science company offering expertise across five key strategic businesses: Product Safety, Environment, Life & Health, Verification Services and Knowledge Services.
Connect! Transform the Future from National Geographic: The Center For Science (a national network of leading science centers) has teamed with GE, National Geographic, and local energy companies to produce CONNECT! Transform the Future. The program launches with Plan It Green, a cool online game that allows players to design and create their own energy-efficient city of the future. Plus, there will be a short 3D film, teacher workshops, interactive educational materials and exhibits, and programs at local science centers.
The Great Energy Challenge from National Geographic (funded by Shell): Like food, air, and water, energy is essential to human existence. The hopes of billions for a better life depend on plentiful and accessible sources of energy. But with the world’s population fast approaching seven billion, how do we meet the growing demand for energy in a responsible, equitable, and sustainable way? It’s a question we must ask ourselves as a society and as individuals.

The Daily Energy News is a great archive of recent energy news articles.
Energy Quest is the energy education website for the California Energy Commission. Energy is an integral part of our daily lives. Teaching an "energy ethic" to conserve finite resources is essential to our energy future, which is currently dependent on fossil fuels. We also must rely on our youth to help us create new ways to harness the elemental forces of our planet and the universe. They are tomorrow's scientists and inventors. They will discover new means of energy production and innovative ways to use less energy. We hope Energy Quest will answer their questions and spur creativity and imagination.

Con Edison energetically invites teachers and students to use their electrifying new website, ConEd Kids, designed especially for grades 5-8. ConEd Kids motivates kids to explore the world of energy all around them with Con Edison’s research on energy, games, links, biographies, factoids, dictionary, energy’s history, news, and the latest facts on the environment.

The Green Education Foundation is a non-profit organization that provides curriculum and resources to K-12 students and teachers worldwide with the goal of challenging youth to think holistically and critically about global environmental, social, and economic concerns and solutions. They have K-12 Lesson Clearinghouse as well as a variety of challenges which students can participate in related to environmental education.
Discovery Education’s TurfMutt: Foster an appreciation of the environment and an interest in the green space in your community with these classroom resources designed for students in grades K-5, recently updated with NEW lesson plans and activities for K-2! With TurfMutt as your guide, your class will get outside, investigate the benefits of landscaping and recycling, plus understand the importance of the lawns, flowers, bushes and trees that surround us every day.
The Foundation for Water & Energy Education is committed to providing balanced information regarding the use of water as a renewable energy resource in the Northwest.

The National Science Teachers Association has Science Objects which are energy focused. Science Objects are two hour on-line interactive inquiry-based content modules that help teachers better understand the science content they teach. These Science Objects are currently available for free!

Energy: Different Kinds of Energy

Energy: Energy Transformations

Energy: Thermal Energy, Heat, and Temperature

Energy: Useful and Not So Useful Energy
Straight Up Science is an ongoing conversation with the men and women who shape our understanding of the world. Their pursuit of evidence and knowledge is the foundation of innovation and the source of countless discoveries that have changed our lives. We’ve always thought their work was fascinating and we’re excited to give them a place to share it with the world.

Specific to energy

Carbon Reduction:

Clean Energy: provides the latest news and information related to renewable energy. From blogs to videos and webcasts, this site has lots of resources though they do not have any specific lesson plans or education links.
GOOD is a collaboration of individuals, businesses, and nonprofits pushing the world forward. They publish a magazine and GOOD Issue 022: The Energy Issue covers a variety of energy related topics.

PhET site with lots of great simulations for physics, chemistry, biology, earth science and more. Some of the energy related simulations listed below.

Energy Skate Park – Learn about conservation of energy with a skater dude! Build tracks, ramps and jumps for the skater and view the kinetic energy, potential energy and friction as he moves. You can also take the skater to different planets or even space!

The Ramp – Explore forces, energy and work as you push household objects up and down a ramp. Lower and raise the ramp to see how the angle of inclination affects the parallel forces acting on the file cabinet. Graphs show forces, energy and work.

Masses & Springs - A realistic mass and spring laboratory. Hang masses from springs and adjust the spring stiffness and damping. You can even slow time. Transport the lab to different planets. A chart shows the kinetic, potential, and thermal energy for each spring.

Band Structure - Explore the origin of energy bands in crystals of atoms. The structure of these bands determines how materials conduct electricity.

John Travoltage - Make sparks fly with John Travoltage. Wiggle Johnnie's foot and he picks up charges from the carpet. Bring his hand close to the door knob and get rid of the excess charge.

Faraday’s Electromagnetic Lab - Play with a bar magnet and coils to learn about Faraday's law. Move a bar magnet near one or two coils to make a light bulb glow. View the magnetic field lines. A meter shows the direction and magnitude of the current. View the magnetic field lines or use a meter to show the direction and magnitude of the current. You can also play with electromagnets, generators and transformers!

Photoelectric Effect – See how light knocks electrons off a metal target, and recreate the experiment that spawned the field of quantum mechanics. (This is the principle for which Einstein won the Nobel Prize in Physics!)

Energy Forms and Changes - Explore how heating and cooling iron, brick, and water adds or removes energy. See how energy is transferred between objects. Build your own system, with energy sources, changers, and users. Track and visualize how energy flows and changes through your system.

Reversible Reactions - Watch a reaction proceed over time. How does total energy affect a reaction rate? Vary temperature, barrier height, and potential energies. Record concentrations and time in order to extract rate coefficients. Do temperature dependent studies to extract Arrhenius parameters. This simulation is best used with teacher guidance because it presents an analogy of chemical reactions.

Conductivity - Experiment with conductivity in metals, plastics and photoconductors. See why metals conduct and plastics don't, and why some materials conduct only when you shine a flashlight on them.

Eating & Exercise - How many calories are in your favorite foods? How much exercise would you have to do to burn off these calories? What is the relationship between calories and weight? Explore these issues by choosing diet and exercise and keeping an eye on your weight.

Semiconductors - Dope the semiconductor to create a diode. Watch the electrons change position and energy.

Collision Lab - Use an air hockey table to investigate simple collisions in 1D and more complex collisions in 2D. Experiment with the number of discs, masses, and initial conditions. Vary the elasticity and see how the total momentum and kinetic energy changes during collisions.
The Concord Consortium is a nonprofit educational research and development organization bringing the promise of technology into a reality for education in science, math and engineering. Energy related work listed below.

Activity Finder to search for high-quality, free activities:

Build and Test a Model Solar House – virtually construct and test the energy efficiency and solar heat gain of a cardboard model house. Also allows students to print out pattern to build a real physical model of what they have designed.

Electric Current – explore the relationships between voltage, current, and resistance that make up Ohm’s Law using molecular models of circuits.

Greenhouse Gases – use a computer model to explore how the earth’s atmosphere affects the energy balance between incoming and outgoing radiation.

Radiant Energy Flow – How does energy flow in and out of our atmosphere? Explore how solar and infrared radiation enters and exits the atmosphere with an interactive model. Control the amounts of carbon dioxide and clouds present in the model and learn how these factors can influence global temperature. Record results using snapshots of the model in the virtual lab notebook where you can annotate your observations.

Heat and Light from Electricity – Discover how electricity can be converted into other forms of energy such as light and heat. Connect resistors and holiday light bulbs to simple circuits and monitor the temperature over time. Investigate the differences in temperature between the circuit with the resistor and the circuit using the bulb.

Atoms and Conservation of Energy – In this activity, students will explore how the Law of Conservation of Energy (the First Law of Thermodynamics) applies to atoms, as well as the implications of heating or cooling a system. This activity focuses on potential energy and kinetic energy as well as energy conservation. The goal is to apply what is learned to both our human scale world and the world of atoms and molecules.

High-Adventure Science investigations on Modeling Earth’s Climate (Activities include: Climates of the Past, Present and Future; Interactions Within the Earth’s Atmosphere; Sources, Sinks, and Feedback; Feedbacks of Ice and Clouds; Using Models to Make Predictions) and Will there be enough fresh water? (Activities include: How Much Water?; How Does Groundwater Move?; Can We Keep Water Flowing?; How Can We Use Water Sustainably?)
The Habitable Planet: Energy Lab Simulator in this lab, the challenge is to try to meet the world's projected energy demand by choosing from the available energy sources, while keeping atmospheric CO2 under control and avoiding the particular limits and pitfalls associated with each energy source. Lessons on Managing Resources and Energy Efficiency are detailed.
My Energy Gateway is a site focused on planning an education and career in energy. Find information on degrees and certifications in energy. Get tuition and information on scholarships, internships, college rankings, career options and industry resources.

Whales to Windmills: Inventions Inspired by the Sea is a Tedx talk that details inventions connected to creatures from the sea. It has an energy and carbon emission connection.
Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC) has an education page with resources for K-12, EnergyWhiz website ( for students that provides activities and access to data from PV-powered schools, continuing education courses and much more.
The United States Energy Association (USEA) ( is the U.S. Member Committee of the World Energy Council (WEC). USEA is an association of public and private energy-related organizations, corporations, and government agencies. USEA represents the broad interests of the U.S. energy sector by increasing the understanding of energy issues, both domestically and internationally.

USEA supports the mission of the World Energy Council, "to promote the sustainable supply and use of energy for the greatest benefit of all."

Environmental and Energy Studies Institute (EESI) ( advances innovative policy solutions that set us on a cleaner, more secure and sustainable energy path. EESI is governed by a diverse Board of Directors made up of environmental, business, academic, and former political leaders. EESI maintains its strong relationship with Congress and serves as a trusted source of credible, non-partisan information on energy and environment solutions via three main strategies: policymaker education, coalition building and policy development.
Focus the Nation ( is the country’s leading clean energy youth empowerment organization. They work with college students through their programs to help them embrace the challenges, excitement and realities of moving their communities toward clean energy solutions.
U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools ( recognition award honors schools that are exemplary in reducing environmental impact and costs; improving the health and wellness of students and staff; and providing effective environmental and sustainability education, which incorporates STEM, civic skills and green career pathways. They have a Green Strides webinar series through which they highlight resources and information.
STEMconnector ( has more than 5000 STEM stakeholders’ profiles. Its purpose is to map the STEM Education activity of organizations and all states. Organizational profiles are under major categories: business, government, associations, diversity and women and education.

STEMdaily’s aim is to provide hot relevant news to a broad audience of stakeholders involved in STEM education. The electronic daily news provides summaries of 20 stories from across 14 different categories with links to the original content in an easy-to-read format. Sign up at and submit a story to
The Center for Green Schools ( at the U.S. Green Building Council was established to drive the transformation of all schools into sustainable and healthy places to live, learn, work and play. They believe everyone, from the kindergartner entering the classroom to the Ph.D. student performing research in a lab, should have the ability to learn in green buildings. The Center works directly with teachers, students, administrators, elected officials and communities to create programs, resources and partnerships that transform all schools into healthy learning environments. They provide lots of resources for students and teachers about how to make your school green.
Frack You! ( is a one-hour film that’s a comedy – yes a comedy - about fracking. Our nation is currently struggling with one of the most compelling issues we’ve ever faced. Important decisions need to be made about how to handle issues related to the natural gas shale deposits located in the United States. A huge barrier to decision-making is that the natural gas is extracted by fracking, a controversial method that has so highly polarized our community that meaningful debate has broken down – although there are lots of signs in lawns. FRACK YOU! acts as an icebreaker, presenting both sides of the issues in a way that generates laughter and provides a common ground for people to start a dialogue about fracking. It frames a controversial issue around personal narratives, humanizing an abstract debate, without taking sides. (Seriously, it doesn’t.) They have been engaging stakeholders through screenings of the film followed by targeted conversations.
Marcellus Center for Outreach and Research at Penn State ( is an education and research initiative on unconventional gas plays. They serve state agencies, elected and appointed officials, communities, landowners, industry, environmental groups and other stakeholders. They have a live theater program to engage the public through live performances focused on Marcellus Shale issues. They also have a Community Science Volunteers program and some short courses. Program focuses on need to engage participants in understanding the development of scientific knowledge and build understanding and awareness of peer review – how it works, what it means – and scientific consensus.

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