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Author

MIT Environmental Solutions Initiative

Grades

9th, 10th, 11th, 12th

Subjects

Science, Earth and Space Sciences

Resource Types

  • Podcasts, 11 minutes, 50 seconds
  • Lesson Plans
  • Activity - Classroom
  • Worksheets

Regional Focus

Global, North America, United States

Format

PDF

Wind, Solar, and Climate Change

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Synopsis
  • This resource describes the benefits and challenges of wind and solar power, the basics of wind and solar, and how both have become much more energy efficient, reliable, and cost-competitive. 
  • An educator guide is included with discussion questions, class activities, and student readings. 
Teaching Tips

Positives

  • The materials included make it easy for educators to adapt this resource for use in many subject areas.
  • The maps of where solar and wind are the most plentiful in the United States could be great for students learning geography.

Additional Prerequisites

  • The podcast uses some vocabulary terms such as kinetic energy, electric grid, and transmission infrastructure.

Differentiation

  • Try having students conduct the energy storage research project as an extension activity. 
  • Check out the "dive deeper" tab of the podcast for more resources related to wind and solar technologies.
  • The graphs could be used in math and science classes for lessons about dependent and independent variables.
  • Other resources that could support this resource include this e-book about renewables and this lesson plan about renewable energy sources.
Scientist Notes
This resource includes a podcast in which an MIT expert is interviewed and presents an overview of wind and solar renewable technologies, and the ways in which costs are calculated. This resource covers a wide range of topics, including energy storage, consumer demand, and specific solar and wind technologies. A transcript and educator's guide, along with additional resource links, are provided. This resource is recommended for teaching.
Standards

This resource addresses the listed standards. To fully meet standards, search for more related resources.

  • Science
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • HS-ESS3-2. Evaluate competing design solutions for developing, managing, and utilizing energy and mineral resources based on cost-benefit ratios.
      • HS-ESS3-4. Evaluate or refine a technological solution that reduces impacts of human activities on natural systems.
    • ETS1: Engineering Design
      • HS-ETS1-3. Evaluate a solution to a complex real-world problem based on prioritized criteria and trade-offs that account for a range of constraints, including cost, safety, reliability, and aesthetics, as well as possible social, cultural, and environmental impacts.
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