K-12 Resources

Energy is literally everywhere! It's all around us and even inside of us. Our whole universe is made from energy. There are many different types of energy – from light and heat energy to gravity, chemical energy, and electrical energy. (https://www.solarschools.net/knowledge-bank/energy

As important as energy is, it can be especially difficult to explain to younger students, which is why we have gathered a few of our favorite (free) resources for explaining energy concepts to K-12 students. This list will be updated, so come back often!

  • Websites

  • Videos

    • Energy 101 Videos

      This collection of videos from the U.S. Department of Energy covers many topics related to energy, all in five minutes or less!

    • ​Energy Efficiency: Our Best Source of Clean Energy

      From PolicyEd, this short video talks about the start of the movement towards energy efficiency and how important energy efficiency is in reducing the overall consumption of energy.

    • ​Energy Transformations

      This video from TurtleDiary talks about the different forms of energy and how energy is transformed into different types in the world around us.

    • ​Fossil Fuels 101

      ​From the group Student Energy, this video covers the origin of fossil fuels and how they are turned into energy and various products for our consumption.

    • ​Hydropower 101

      From the group Student Energy, this video covers the history and future of hydropower, touching on the means of energy storage and energy conversion.

    • ​Nuclear Energy: Is Fission the Future?

      Created by the California Academy of Sciences, this video talks about the pros and cons of nuclear energy and the role it will play in the future of energy.

    • ​Solar Power

      ​This video from NOVA labs covers the challenges and the future of solar power.

    • ​Wind Power

      ​This video from NOVA labs covers the history and future of wind power.

  • Lesson Plans

    • Choosing Energy-Efficient Appliances

      ​Utilizing computational math, students will calculate the energy consumption of devices and compare different products based on energy efficiency in this lesson plan from National Geographic.

      • Age group: 6-8th grade
      • Category: ​Energy Consumption, Energy Efficiency
      • Subject: Math
    • Design a Pipeline

      ​From Consumers Electric, this lesson plan explores the concept of natural gas and how this resource reaches our homes. The lesson also challenges students to design and draw their own pipeline on the provided template.

      • Age group: Elementary
      • Category: Oil & Gas
    • Energy Efficiency (HS)

      This Discovery Education lesson plan includes amble background information and a science experiment to measure the energy transferred from different types of lightbulbs to heated water.

      • Age group: Middle School
      • Category: Energy Efficiency
      • Subject: ​ Science
    • Energy Efficiency (MS)

      This Discovery Education lesson plan includes amble background information and a science experiment to measure the energy transferred from different types of lightbulbs to heated water.

      • Age group: High School
      • Category: Energy Efficiency
      • Subject: ​ Science
    • Energy from the Sun

      This lesson plan/worksheet from the U.S. Energy Information Administration has students compare the temperatures of thermometers placed in the sun with different colored reflectors.

      • Age group: Elementary School
      • Category: Solar Power
      • Subject: Science
    • Energy Use in the Americas

      ​This National Geographic resource guides students to calculate and compare energy consumption in countries in the Americas, analyzing the data graphically as well as plotting it on a world map.

      • Age group: 9-12th grade
      • Category: Energy Consumption
      • Subject: ​ Geography
    • Engineer a Dam

      This IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) lesson plan gives background to the history of dams and has students construct and test their own.

      • Age group: ​Middle school, high school
      • Category: Hydro Power
      • Subject: ​ Engineering
    • Flashlights and Batteries

      ​ This IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) lesson plan has students explore a flashlight and its simple circuit that provides power.

      • Age group: Elementary school
      • Category: ​ General Energy
      • Subject: ​ Science
    • Measuring the Wind

      This IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) lesson plan gives background to how scientists measure the wind in order to determine locations for wind farms and has students construct their own anemometer.

      • Age group: ​Middle school, high school
      • Category: Wind Energy
      • Subject: ​ Engineering
    • Oil Spill Solutions

      ​This IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) lesson plan gives background to oil spills and the various solutions that address these disasters. Also included is detailed instructions for an experiment for students to design, build, and test a system to contain an simulated oil spill.

      • Age group: High School
      • Category: Oil & Gas
      • Subject: ​ Engineering
    • Renewable Energy Living Lab

      This CLEAN (Climate Literacy & Energy Awareness Network) lesson plan has students analyze state data through a mapping tool developed by NREL (National Renewable Energy Laboratory) to determine the best locations for different forms of renewable energy.

      • Age group: 6-8th grade
      • Category: Renewable Energy
    • Solar Energy and Diversifying Energy Resources

      ​This lesson plan from National Geographic has students read, analyze, and craft a position statement on a case study on the potential installation of a solar field on farming land.

      • Age group: 6-8th grade
      • Category: Solar Power
      • Subject: ​ Language Arts
    • Solar Power

      This IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) lesson plan gives background to solar energy and includes an experiment that uses solar cells to understand the power generation of this form of renewable energy.

      • Age group: Middle School
      • Category: Solar Power
      • Subject: ​ Science
    • Wasting Energy at Home

      This lesson plan details the many ways to conserve energy around the home and includes a worksheet and matching game to better help students learn about conservation.

      • Age group: Elementary school
      • Category: Energy Conservation
    • What Are Our Energy Choices?

      ​This 6-part lesson plan from National Geographic uses an online interactive website to help students compare the cost and benefits of different sources of energy, diving deep into natural gas and including a final lesson on energy efficiency.

      • Age group: 7-12th grade
      • Category: General Energy, Oil & Gas
    • Working with Watermills

      This IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) lesson plan gives background to the history of watermills and has students construct and test their own.

      • Age group: ​Middle school, high school
      • Category: Hydro Power
      • Subject: ​ Engineering
  • Additional Resources

    • Energy in the Round

      This interactive card game from the U.S. Energy Information Administration covers general energy concepts, from energy sources to forms of energy.

      • Age group: Middle School
      • Category: ​General Energy, Game
    • Plan it Green

      ​This National Geographic educational game has users select the correct order of components to build a variety of power plants. (Adobe Flash Player required)

      • Age group: 3-5th grade
      • Category: Energy Generation, Game