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Energy, Society, and the Environment

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_tabs interval=”0″][vc_tab title=”Overview” tab_id=”1404930227-1-6082a1-29f0″][vc_column_text]Much debate continually occurs related to the best ways to meet the energy needs of cities, countries, and the world. In early November the United States and China agreed to a deal to curb greenhouse gas emissions in the coming years. This deal is creating quite a debate in the United States related to governmental regulations of carbon emissions and environmentalists concerned with increasing greenhouse gas in the atmosphere (Mauldin & Harder, 2014). Currently, coal accounts for about 80% of the electricity production in China. Additionally, many states in the U.S. have economies strongly dependent on coal and fossil fuel production. Both sides have much to gain and much to lose based upon decisions made in the near term and long term.

“China accounts for about 30 percent of global emissions and releases double the amount of greenhouse gases than the United States, the world’s second-biggest emitter. U.S. government estimates show China doubling its emissions by 2040 without major changes. China produces more solar panels and wind turbines than any other country and has built dozens of dams inside and outside the country to produce hydropower. According to a National Energy Administration plan, China will boost hydropower to 290 gigawatts next year, marking 6 percent annual growth since 2010. Wind power will hit 100 gigawatts, marking 26 percent annual growth, and solar power will reach 21 gigawatts at 90 percent annual growth” (Chang, 2014).

According to a special report published by the International Energy Agency, the world will need about $48 trillion dollars to meet its energy needs in the year 2035. “Of the investment in energy supply, $23 trillion is in fossil fuel extraction, transport and oil refining; almost $10 trillion is in power generation, of which low-carbon technologies – renewables ($6 trillion) and nuclear ($1 trillion) – make up the lion’s share; and a further $7 trillion in transmission and distribution. More than half of the energy-supply investment is needed just to keep production at today’s levels, that is, to compensate for declining oil and gas fields and to replace power plants and other equipment that reach the end of their productive life. The $8 trillion of investment in energy efficiency is concentrated in the main consuming markets, the European Union, North America and China: 90% is spent in the transport and buildings sectors”(International Energy Agency, 2014).

Defined STEM provides a number of performance tasks, literacy tasks, and video resources to help students learn about energy development. They will be the decision makers in the coming years and the decisions they make will impact society and the environment for decades to come.[/vc_column_text][/vc_tab][vc_tab title=”References” tab_id=”1404930227-2-6682a1-29f0″][vc_column_text]

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Most modern societies use fossil fuels to create energy. Fossil fuels are nonrenewable, and are therefore going to run out one day. In addition, they release harmful chemicals into the air causing pollution. Scientists are creating ways to use renewable resources, such as solar power. One community is encouraging its citizens to use renewable energy by inviting scientists to educate the citizens of the community. You are one of the scientists who will explain how solar power works, the benefits and downfalls of using it, and give ideas for how the community can begin incorporating it into their daily activities.

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Modern societies use a tremendous amount of energy each day. Many countries are looking for alternative forms of energy that can help make them less reliant on fossil fuels and the countries that supply these fuels. Some are also looking for forms of energy that are more environmentally friendly than fossil fuels. You can help these countries by educating government officials on the many benefits of geothermal energy and how it can be utilized. It will also be important to educate citizens on the potential impact of geothermal energy.

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As concerns grow about the environment and human interactions, it is becoming increasingly important to utilize energy efficient and sustainable practices whenever possible. Your class will want to research ways in which your school can become more energy efficient. You will also want to think about sustainable practices that could be used in your classroom and throughout the school. You will need to think about your school building and the people who work, learn, and spend a great deal of time in it. Once you have identified potential issues and solutions, your team will want to determine the value of making the changes.

[/vc_column_text][vc_button2 title=”Enter Task” color=”blue” size=”sm” link=”url:http%3A%2F%2Fdlrn.us%3F2s1af|title:Energy%20Management%20Consultant|target:%20_blank” style=”rounded”][/vc_accordion_tab][/vc_accordion][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_accordion title=”Literacy Tasks/Constructed Responses” active_tab=”false” collapsible=”yes”][vc_accordion_tab title=”Geothermal Energy Potential Gr. 3-4″][vc_column_text]

Three different countries are spending a lot of money on a new energy source. Iceland, Kenya, and India are using something called geothermal energy. The word geothermal comes from the Greek words geo (earth) and therme (heat). Geothermal energy comes from under the surface of the Earth.

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A local school building is considering the addition of solar power to help meet the building’s energy needs. As part of a team of energy consultants, you will need to help the school board understand all aspects of solar energy. They will need to understand how the location of the school can effect the amount of energy that can be harnessed through the photovoltaic cells. The members of the board are excited to learn how this process of energy transfer works. They will also want to know how many photovoltaic cells they will need to make a difference in the energy supply for this building.

[/vc_column_text][vc_button2 title=”Enter Task” color=”blue” size=”sm” link=”url:http%3A%2F%2Fdlrn.us%3Fxjkyk|title:Solar%20Power%3A%20Photovoltaic%20Cells|target:%20_blank” style=”rounded”][/vc_accordion_tab][vc_accordion_tab title=”Community Advocate: Fracking Gr. 7″][vc_column_text]

Fracking is the process of drilling and injecting fluid at high pressure, usually water, into the ground. The pressure fractures shale rocks to release natural gas. This process allows for the removal of natural gas at higher rates than other processes. The process is economical and allows for extraction of gas that was previously inaccessible. The process does have many opponents who are worried about the environmental and human risks associated with the process.

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Fracking is the process of drilling and injecting fluid at high pressure, usually water, into the ground. The pressure fractures shale rocks to release natural gas. This process allows for the removal of natural gas at higher rates than other processes. The process is economical and allows for extraction of gas that was previously inaccessible. The process does have many opponents who are worried about the environmental and human risks associated with the process.

[/vc_column_text][vc_button2 title=”Enter Task” color=”blue” size=”sm” link=”url:http%3A%2F%2Fdlrn.us%3Filnhn|title:Community%20Advocate%3A%20Fracking|target:%20_blank” style=”rounded”][/vc_accordion_tab][vc_accordion_tab title=”Wind Farmer Grade 8″][vc_column_text]

The decision of where a wind farm is located involves several steps. No site is perfect. You will research the topography and weather of each potential site. You should consider land use and impact on the environment. You can create designs to showcase wind technology. Once a location meets your scientific needs, the impact on the community should be addressed, including cost and aesthetics. A successful presentation at a community meeting involving concerned citizens is necessary to accomplish the goal of creating your plant.

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After researching informational texts and articles explaining the process of fracking, write a technical report detailing the process and the potential energy and economic benefits of this process. This report will be shared with community leaders in areas with geological features that could support fracking.

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After researching informational texts and articles discussing both sides of the fracking debate, write a position paper supporting or rejecting the idea that fracking is a safe and valuable process for energy development. This paper will be shared with community leaders in geographic areas considering fracking in their region. Support your discussion with evidence from your research. What implications can be drawn from the potential findings?

[/vc_column_text][vc_button2 title=”Enter Task” color=”blue” size=”sm” link=”url:http%3A%2F%2Fdlrn.us%3Fn5da4|title:Do%20The%20Benefits%20The%20Fracking…|target:%20_blank” style=”rounded”][/vc_accordion_tab][vc_accordion_tab title=”Informative: Wind Energy”][vc_column_text]

Students will need to consider the value of wind power as an alternative form of energy, and decide if it has the potential to provide enough energy to a community to make it worth the investment. How do wind turbines work in terms of converting wind to energy? What are the most critical parts of a wind turbine and why? How much energy does a typical large wind turbine produce? Where are the best locations for the placement of a wind turbine(s)? How does the energy get from the turbine to the community? What concerns for the environment do wind mills present? Do wind turbines offer energy cost savings for consumers?

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Wind farms are generally considered to be a good environmental form of energy production. Certain concerns have been raised by groups within communities and within countries related to the potential negative impact that wind turbines may have on the environment. As wind farm projects continue to grow both onshore an offshore, these concerns need to be considered. Students will need to consider the potential environmental implications of energy producing wind farms. What are some concerns that community members in Nova Scotia have raised regarding a potential off shore wind farm in their area? How do wind farms potentially impact Sweden?s golden eagles? How does wind power impact the environment in New Zealand compared with hydropower and the burning of fossil fuels? How can wind turbine noise affect certain people near the wind turbine? What were some concerns that people in Oregon had related to the state boosting wind energy projects? What are some guidelines that Maine and other states are setting in regard to the noise that wind turbines produce? What impact does a wind farm in the North Sea have on fauna in the area? Students will research the various articles and informational texts to learn about the perceptions of potential environmental impacts associated with wind turbines. Additionally, considerations should be given to how these wind farms provide energy for communities and societies.

[/vc_column_text][vc_button2 title=”Enter Task” color=”blue” size=”sm” link=”url:http%3A%2F%2Fdlrn.us%3F5lazj|title:Windmills%20And%20The%20Environment|target:%20_blank” style=”rounded”][/vc_accordion_tab][/vc_accordion][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_text_separator title=”High School” title_align=”separator_align_center” color=”green”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_accordion title=”Performance Tasks” active_tab=”false” collapsible=”yes”][vc_accordion_tab title=”Earth Scientist Gr. 9″][vc_column_text]

Communities and society need a tremendous amount of energy in order for people to live their lives and run the machines that are necessary for a country to function. Many countries, including those in the Caribbean, are looking for alternative forms of energy that can help make them less reliant on fossil fuels and the countries that supply these fuels. This Caribbean country is also looking for forms of energy that are more environmentally friendly than fossil fuels. You will need to educate the government on the many benefits of geothermal energy and how it can be utilized in this country. It will also be important to educate the citizens of the country on the potential impact of geothermal energy.

[/vc_column_text][vc_button2 title=”Enter Task” color=”blue” size=”sm” link=”url:http%3A%2F%2Fdlrn.us%3Fhdrxh|title:Earth%20Scientist|target:%20_blank” style=”rounded”][/vc_accordion_tab][vc_accordion_tab title=”Hydroelectric Engineer: The Xayaburi Dam Project and the People of Laos Gr. 11″][vc_column_text]

The Mekong River is located in Southeast Asia and runs more than 2700 miles through China, Burma, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam. The river is a major trade route between China, Thailand, and Southeast Asia. Aquatic biodiversity is extremely high within the river promoting a wide range of fishing as a source of food and income.

[/vc_column_text][vc_button2 title=”Enter Task” color=”blue” size=”sm” link=”url:http%3A%2F%2Fdlrn.us%3Fvj35p|title:Hydroelectric%20Engineer|target:%20_blank” style=”rounded”][/vc_accordion_tab][vc_accordion_tab title=”Nuclear Energy Scientist Gr. 11″][vc_column_text]

The tsunami that occurred in Japan severely damaged the Fukushima nuclear power plant and has renewed public interest in nuclear energy. Many countries view nuclear energy as vital to meeting their needs for electricity output. Proponents suggest that nuclear power is critical as it is a clean energy. Opponents argue that nuclear waste and nuclear accidents contaminate the environment.

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Fossil fuels are the primary source of energy around the world. These fuels will eventually disappear and society will need to find alternative fuels to provide energy for all aspects of society. Additionally, fossil fuels are thought to contribute negatively to the environment. As a result, cleaner energies are being sought that can provide energy and minimally impact the environment. The process of using algae to make biofuels is an alternative energy source under consideration.

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As energy companies look to replace fossil fuels, alternative energy sources are being considered. These sources will need to create a great deal of energy to meet man’s energy needs and fully replace fossil fuels. The belief is that these fuels can help slowly reduce reliance on fossil fuels.

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More than 70% of electricity is generated from fossil fuels. As society continues to consume large amounts of electricity, fossil fuels may eventually run out. It is critical that society finds renewable energy sources that are more environmentally friendly and that can help sustain society?s electricity usage. Solar power is one such alternative energy source. On a large scale, solar power can be used to generate electricity for communities. On a small scale, it can be used to power individual or small groups of appliances within a home. Your task is to create an appliance that can use solar power as its energy source. This is a new idea in many places, and you will need to convince management and marketing that it is a worthwhile investment in resources.

[/vc_column_text][vc_button2 title=”Enter Task” color=”blue” size=”sm” link=”url:http%3A%2F%2Fdlrn.us%3F1d3cb|title:Industrial%20Engineer%2FInventor|target:%20_blank” style=”rounded”][/vc_accordion_tab][vc_accordion_tab title=”Wind Energy Specialist Gr. 9″][vc_column_text]

As an energy specialist, you have the opportunity to present information on the environmental benefits, as well as financial benefits, of wind energy. You will be presenting your research regarding this form of alternative energy to communities and electric companies. Your goal is to have the electric companies agree to add wind energy to their electric grid as part of the electrical services that they offer to regional communities.

[/vc_column_text][vc_button2 title=”Enter Task” color=”blue” size=”sm” link=”url:http%3A%2F%2Fdlrn.us%3Fvqor4|title:Wind%20Energy%20Specialist|target:%20_blank” style=”rounded”][/vc_accordion_tab][/vc_accordion][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_accordion title=”Literacy Tasks/Constructed Responses” active_tab=”false” collapsible=”yes”][vc_accordion_tab title=”Argumentative: Is Geothermal Energy An Environmentally Friendly, Viable Energy Alternative? “][vc_column_text]

Geothermal energy is energy that comes from within the Earth. Today, more and more people and countries are looking at geothermal energy to heat homes and cities. Also, it is being used to create electricity. Many people believe it is an excellent ”green” energy producer. Still others see environmental issues and do not believe it is a viable energy solution. Students will need to consider the potential environmental and economic implications of geothermal energy. Why does Iceland use geothermal energy? What is the ”Blue Lagoon”? How can geothermal energy production cause earthquakes? Why does geothermal energy rely on certain aspects of geography to be viable, and does the United States have such areas? What are some concerns brought forth by people in Japan regarding geothermal energy being developed in Japan? Why is Japan considering geothermal energy? What are some advantages of geothermal energy? What are some environmental concerns related to geothermal energy? What value does Dominica see in geothermal energy? Students will research the various articles and informational texts to learn about the economics and potential environmental impacts associated with geothermal energy. Additionally, considerations should be given to how geothermal energy is affected by geography.

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Students will need to consider the potential benefits of geothermal energy. Why is Australia a good location for geothermal energy? How can geothermal energy benefit remote locations in India? How does geothermal energy work? What geologic characteristics are necessary to produce geothermal energy? What are some current uses for geothermal energy in Iceland? How can geothermal energy help the people of Kenya?

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After researching informational texts and articles concerning hydroelectric dams, write a technical report detailing how the hydroelectric dams produce electricity. Also, include why this is a valuable process for the generation of electricity for countries and communities. This report will be shared with national governments interested in supporting this form of electricity generation. Support your discussion with evidence from your research. What implications can be drawn from the potential findings?

[/vc_column_text][vc_button2 title=”Enter Task” color=”blue” size=”sm” link=”url:http%3A%2F%2Fdlrn.us%3Fuzmcd|title:Hydroelectric%20Dams|target:%20_blank” style=”rounded”][/vc_accordion_tab][vc_accordion_tab title=”Argumentative: The Economic And Environmental Implications Of Dam Construction On The Mekong River”][vc_column_text]

After researching informational texts and articles discussing the benefits and concerns associated with the dam project on the Mekong River in Laos, write a position paper that either supports or rejects dam construction based upon the economic and environmental implications. This paper will be shared with government leaders in the region. Support your discussion with evidence from your research. What implications can be drawn from the potential findings?

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After researching informational texts and articles discussing the potential use of microalgae as a source of biofuels, write a technical report detailing how the properties of algae can be used to create a clean energy source. This report will be shared with entrepreneurs around the country looking to create clean energy. Support your discussion with evidence from your research. What implications can be drawn from the potential findings?

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Students will need to consider the possibility of algae being a source of biofuel. How did the redesign of the bioreactor improve energy yield? How do the economics of biofuels compare with fossil fuels and why? How can genetically altered algae affect the environment? How does water impact the algae biofuel industry? What is OMEGA and how could it impact the biofuel industry?

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Students will need to consider the importance of nuclear energy around the world. What are some of the advantages of nuclear energy? Why is the country of Slovakia concerned with nuclear power? What are the benefits of nuclear energy for the countries in southeast Asia? Despite the nuclear accident at Fukushima, why is Japan moving forward with nuclear energy development? How does nuclear energy benefit the United States economically and environmentally? How do many believe nuclear energy impacts global warming?

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Students will need to consider the potential environmental implications of energy producing wind farms. What are some concerns that community members in Nova Scotia have raised regarding a potential offshore wind farm in their area? How do wind farms potentially impact Sweden’s golden eagles? How does wind power impact the environment in New Zealand as compared to hydropower and the burning of fossil fuels? How can wind turbine noise affect certain people near the wind turbine? What were some concerns that people in Oregon had related to their state boosting wind energy projects? What are some guidelines that Maine and other states are setting related to the noise that wind turbines produce? What impact does a wind farm in the North Sea have on fauna in the area?

[/vc_column_text][vc_button2 title=”Enter Task” color=”blue” size=”sm” link=”url:http%3A%2F%2Fdlrn.us%3F5lazj|title:Windmills%20And%20The%20Environment|target:%20_blank” style=”rounded”][/vc_accordion_tab][vc_accordion_tab title=”Informative: Wind Energy”][vc_column_text]

Students will need to consider the value of wind power as an alternative form of energy, and decide if it has the potential to provide enough energy to a community to make it worth the investment. How do wind turbines work in terms of converting wind to energy? What are the most critical parts of a wind turbine and why? How much energy does a typical large wind turbine produce? Where are the best locations for the placement of wind turbines? How does the energy travel from the turbine to the community? What concerns for the environment do windmills present? Do wind turbines offer energy cost savings for consumers?

[/vc_column_text][vc_button2 title=”Enter Task” color=”blue” size=”sm” link=”url:http%3A%2F%2Fdlrn.us%3Fqj47l|title:Wind%20Energy|target:%20_blank” style=”rounded”][/vc_accordion_tab][vc_accordion_tab title=”Informative: How should the United States meet its energy needs for the next 20 years?”][vc_column_text]

Students will need to consider the economic and environmental variables associated with fossil fuels, nuclear power and alternative forms of energy, such as solar power. Based upon these considerations, a decision will need to be made as to how the United States should budget and plan for its energy needs during the next twenty years. Is solar power a viable energy resource? What are the environmental factors that need to be considered in the determination of how the United States should focus its energy development in the next twenty years? How best can society use the environment’s natural resources to provide energy? How does nuclear energy compare to solar energy in terms of economics, environmental issues, and safety?

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After researching informational texts and articles explaining the how solar energy can be gathered and used by society write a technical report detailing how solar power is gathered and how it could benefit a community and the environment. Support your discussion with evidence from your research. What implications can you draw for the potential findings Students will need to consider the value of solar power as an alternative form of energy, and decide if it has the potential to provide enough energy to a community to make it worth the investment. Is solar power a viable energy resource? What are the environmental factors that need to be considered in the development and implementation of harnessing solar energy? What are solar technologies and how do they work? How is science and technology making solar power affordable for individuals and communities?

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