Power for One and All

I am always searching for good real world project ideas to incorporate into my science curriculum. One of the units I taught last year was electricity, and part of that unit involved teaching about the sources for generation of electricity. I wanted to create an assignment where the students had to analyze a city’s needs in order to determine the best renewable or non-renewable source to generate electricity. It was for grade 6, and so I did not want the city descriptions to be too complex. I began writing my ideas, and as I was researching I came across a website that had already done exactly what I wanted. The project is called “The Energy Sources Project”, and you can find the link to it here. Click on the project descriptions to read about five cities and their various needs.

I put my students into groups of 3-4 students and presented them with the city scenarios. I had put each scenario into a separate Google Drive folder and then shared the folder with all group members. On the original website there are specific questions provided for the students to answer, but I modified them for my own needs. The questions on the site gave environmental and economic questions, but I needed to adapt them to meet the requirements of the International Baccalaureate rubrics that we use at our school. In the Real World rubric the students need to discuss either environmental, political, social, cultural, moral, or ethical factors and so I wanted to expand the question set to allow for this. I left off moral and ethical questions as I thought they might be more difficult for this assignment, and they are not required to choose those factors. I gave guiding questions as this was the first unit in grade 6 and students were just beginning to use this rubric, and thus needed a place to start their research. Below you can see how I modified the assignment.



As members of the Harrisburg/Wallen/Oxford/Mayberry/Jasper Power Company, you must develop a plan to present to city members at the upcoming town meeting.  Read your assigned scenario, and then together with your group members decide which type of energy source would be best for the town. Things to consider when planning your presentation include:

Power Plant Selection

-What are possible energy sources that your power plant could utilize?

-Which is the best energy source for your power plant to utilize and why?

-How does the selected energy source work? How will it generate the power needed to provide electricity to your residents?

– What will be the location of the power plant within the city?



-Is your energy source renewable or nonrenewable?

-How will the power plant and its location affect the environment positively and/or negatively?

– Are there waste products produced? How will these affect the environment?

– Are there any benefits to using this form of energy?  Any risks?

-Are there other environmental issues to be considered?



-How much would it cost to construct a power plant that would supply enough energy for the city of your size?

-How is the city going to pay for the power plant (tax options, grants, etc.)?

-What other costs might be involved with the creation and upkeep of the power plant?

-Are there other cost issues to be considered?



-What government officials need to be consulted about the chosen energy source/power plant and its location?

-What government officials might be involved with ensuring the power plant is operating in a safe manner?

-Are there other political issues to be considered?



-How might the power plant and its location affect the residents of the city and their daily life?

-How might the power plant and its location affect visitors to the city?

-Are there any potential health issues related to the power plant and its operation?

-Are there any education issues for the residents related to the power plant and its operation?

-Are there other social or cultural issues to be considered?

Posted by Ilana Cyna in General Science, Grade 6 Science, 0 comments