50 Year Energy Plan - Unit Plan

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Bradford Hill
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Estimated Activity Length:
0 sec
Learning Goal(s):
  1. Explore causes and effects of climate change as related to energy production.

  2. Develop a working understanding of varying stakeholder perspectives on the causes and effects of climate change.

  3. Through hands-on exploration, build a working speaker that can connect to a cellphone.

  4. Use DIY speakers as a model to observe the process of producing electrical currents with a simple generator.

  5. Design, build and refine a wind turbine to efficiently convert mechanical energy into electrical energy.

  6. Design, build and refine a system that is the most effective at converting the sunlight into electrical energy.

  7. Students develop models to study the relationship between the Earth’s atmospheric composition and the Earth’s surface temperatures using simple diagrams.

  8. Students reflect on the impact of energy sources and power production on the environment.

  9. Students utilize their knowledge of how energy generation processes impacts the environment to inform how and why they develop a 50-year Energy Plan for their local community. 


Throughout this creative, hands-on Unit, students are challenged to scale up every Disciplinary Core Idea and Science & Engineering Practice they’ve learned - from simple electricity generation, to building their own stereo speakers and DIY electric guitars in order to think independently and develop a 50-Year Energy Plan for their local community. To complete this final challenge, students incorporate concepts and findings they explored throughout the unit: electromagnetism, motors and generators, amps and electric guitars, optimizing solar energy production, wind turbine design, climate change, as well as human impacts on the environment when generating energy. This unit is only part of a series of units housed on PatternsPhysics.org, the web-based home for a collaborative group of Oregon physics teachers working to develop rigorous, phenomena driven units aligned to Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). 

Science Kit Material(s) Used

1.5-Volt 500mA Solar Module
Advanced Wind Turbine Kit
Vernier LabQuest 2
Vernier Voltage Probe

Other Material(s) Used

• 3 light bulbs (1.5 V) • 1 Bar Magnet • 2 Food Coloring – (Blue and Yellow or any two primary colors to mix) • 2 Magnetic compasses (to react to electromagnets)• 2 Spools Enameled Wire – 1lbs 24 AWG (for building speakers) • 1 Easy to work with 20 AWG