Lesson – Renewable Energy


Science – SC.5.P.10.2
Investigate and explain that energy has the ability to cause motion or create change. 

Mathematics – MAFS.5.NBT.2.7
Add, subtract, multiply, and divide decimals to hundredths, using concrete models or drawings and strategies based on place value, properties of operations, and/or the relationship between addition and subtraction; relate the strategy to a written method and explain the reasoning used.

Big Idea(s)

Energy has the ability to cause motion to an object or mass.  It exists in different forms.  Energy can take the shape of many forms such as 

electrical, mechanical, chemical, thermal, or nuclear, and can be transformed from one to another. The sun can provide solar energy. Additionally, the force of water and air can help create renewable energy sources. 

Renewable Energy:

  • Geothermal Energy
  • Hydroelectric Energy
  • Solar Energy
  • Wind Energy

Essential Questions

  • How can force and motion be used to generate renewable energy?
  • What are some forms of renewable energy?


Renewable Energy Non-renewable Energy • Fossil Fuels • Biomass Clean Energy Turbine • Generator • Hydroelectric Energy • Geothermal Energy Solar Energy Wind Energy • Electromagnetic Waves

Background Information

Renewable energy is made from resources that come from nature and can replenish itself, like wind, water and sunshine. Renewable energy is also referred to as clean energy because it is considered to emit zero emissions and does not pollute our environment. Although these are wonderful alternative forms of energy, we cannot rely on them solely because they would not provide enough constant power for everyone. 

How do they work?

  • Wind Energy – wind turbine blades use the moving air to power an electric generator that supplies an electric current.
  • Biomass Energy – produces energy and heat by burning crops like corn.
  • Solar Energy – works by using photovoltaic cells to absorb sunlight that can then be converted. 
  • Hydroelectric Energy – leverages water to generate electricity using a turbine.
  • Geothermal Energy – energy produced by underground steam and hot water reservoirs.

Guiding Questions

  • Is there more than one source of energy?
  • What are some sources of energy? 
  • What is meant by a renewable energy source? 
  • What are some examples of renewable energy?
  • What is meant by a nonrenewable energy source? 
  • What are some examples of nonrenewable energy? 
  • Discuss major differences between nonrenewable and renewable/alternative energy sources. 
  • Do you know of any places where renewable/alternative energy sources are regularly being used? 
  • What are the benefits of using renewable energy?
  • Why don’t we use renewable energy all of the time?

Math Mania

In 1997 wind power generated only 0.1% of the world’s electricity, this increased to 1.5% in 2008 and 2.5% in 2010.   It is estimated that wind power could be supplying up to 19% of the world’s electricity by 2030.  How many percentage points will it have to increase from 2010 to 2030, to reach 19% by the year 2030?   

The answer is:


Instructional Sequence

Fun Facts

Did you know…

  • That just 1 wind turbine can generate enough electricity to power 1,400 homes?
  • According to OVO Energy, renewable energy creates 5 times more jobs than fossil fuels.
  • That solar power isn’t just a daytime deal – power from the sun’s rays can be stored in salt and used at night too. A power plant in Spain soaks up sun by day and pumps out 7 hours of power to the surrounding area by night.

Inquiry Type

Teacher Resources