The Lesson Plan - Alternative and Renewable Energy


Science – SC.6.E.7.5
Explain how energy provided by the sun influences global patterns of atmospheric movement and the temperature differences between air, water and land.

Mathematics – MAFS.6.RP.1.2
Understand the concept of a unit rate a/b associated with a ratio a:b with b ≠ 0, and use rate language in the context of a ratio relationship.

Language Arts – LAFS.6.RL.1.2
Determine a theme or central idea of a text and how it is conveyed through particular details provide a summary of the text distinct from personal opinions or judgments.

Big Idea(s)

Discuss the value of alternative and renewable energy sources.

Essential Questions

  • Will earth be able to rely solely on renewable energy usage in the future?
  • Which energy will eventually run out and why?


Alternative Energy • Renewable Energy • Geothermal • Biomass • Solar Energy • Wind Energy • Natural Gas • Fuel Cells • Hydropower

Background Information

Alternative and Renewable energy works to reduce carbon emissions. The way carbon emissions are reduced from each of these energy sources varies greatly. Renewable energy comes from a source that is naturally occurring and replenishes naturally. Examples of renewable energy include solar, wind, geothermal, biomass and hydropower. Renewable energy is always available and can be infinite in supply.

Is renewable energy enough to power our future?

In 2018, the United States alone consumed almost 11% of all the renewable energy produced.


pie chart of the U.S. primary energy consumption by energy source


Nonrenewable energy accounts for the majority of energy currently being used but this will have to change or energy as we know it will disappear.

U.S. Energy Facts Explained

Guiding Questions

  • What are the differences between alternative energy and renewable energy?
  • Is one source of energy better than another?
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of both alternative energy and renewable energy?

Essential Question

Gasoline is the number one energy product produced by the refining of petroleum. The United States consumes about 19.0 million barrels of petroleum per day. 

graphic of petroleum products made from a barrel of crude oil


If producing gasoline consumes 8.0 million barrels of the petroleum, what fraction of petroleum is refined into gasoline?

The correct response is: 8/19

Instructional Sequence

Fun Facts

Did you know…

  • That just one wind turbine can generate enough electricity to power 1400 homes?
  • As of 2017, China, builds two wind turbines every hour?
  • Romans were the very first to use geothermal energy to heat their homes, with warm air moving under floors and inside walls?
  • Enough sunlight falls on the earth’s surface every hour to meet world energy demand for an entire year?

Inquiry Type

  • Controlled Inquiry
  • Guided Inquiry (Class/Group Activity)

Teacher Resources

Video: How The Sun Heats The Earth

how the sun heats the earth