Teacher's Guide

Time Line

Learning Targets: 

  • I can identify nature's main natural resources and how they are used within our community. 
  • I can research natural resources and determine ways that usage can be reduced. 
  • I can communicate ways of conserving energy to the class community. 


Timeline (This unit will take approximately 2 weeks to complete, below is a outline of the main instructional segments): 

Day One: Introduce topic and discuss/brainstorm personal and home usage of natural resources. Break into groups of 3-4 members and assign them their roles. 

Day Two: Allow groups work time to identify what they know about sources of energy and the conservation of energy. This could include, but is not limited to:

1. Name some alternative energy sources.

2. Identify some renewable energies.
                3. List some problems/difficulties that people suggest regarding using these non fossil fuel sources of energy:

4. What are some positives about using renewable energy sources?

Day Three: Students will identify what they need to learn about sources of energy and ways to conserve it. This could include, but is not limited to:
            1. List the alternative energy sources they missed in Step 1.
           2. Identify the alternative energy sources that are especially well suited to their community.
           3. Select one form of alternative energy to research.

Day Four: Students will make special notes on how your community might be able to use that form of energy. What are the challenges for this form of alternative energy? Have any solutions been offered?

Day Five-Six: Create a print or digital project to explain their choices and support their selection. How will they help the situation?
Highlight the pros and cons of your choices.

Day Six-Seven: Present group projects to the class. As a class, discuss your findings. It would be helpful to chart your findings. How many support each alternative energy.

Day Eight: Vote on the best plan to represent the class and decide on an action plan to conserve energy in your homes, school or community. List the reasons for its selection. How will it be a challenge in your community to do it?

Day Nine-Ten: Prepare a final statement for the town council.


Wisconsin Model Academic Standards included in this unit are:

A.8.1 Identify environmental issue questions that can be investigated using resources and equipment available.

A.8.2 Collect information from a variety of resources, conduct experiments, and develop possible solutions to their investigations.

A.8.3 Use techniques such as modeling and simulating to organize information gathered in their investigations.

F.8.9 Explain how some of the changes on the earth are contributing to changes in the balance of life and affecting the survival or population growth of certain species.

F.8.10 Project how current trends in human resource use and population growth will influence the natural environment, and show how current policies affect those trends.

E.8.6 Describe through investigations the use of the earth's resources by humans in both past and current cultures, particularly how changes in the resources used for the past 100 years are the basis for efforts to conserve and recycle renewable and non-renewable resources.

H.8.2 Present a scientific solution to a problem involving the earth and space, life and environmental, or physical sciences and participate in a consensus-building discussion to arrive at a group decision.

H.8.3 Understand the consequences of decisions affecting personal health and safety.

Other objectives covered through this unit include:

Many 21st century skills including environmental literacy, critcal thinking and problem solving, creativity and innovation, and communication and collaboration.

AASL Library Media Standards:

1-Inquire, think critically, and gain knowlege.

1.1.1 Follow an inquiry-based process in seeking knowledge in curricular subjects, and make the real-world connection for using this process in their own life. 

1.1.2 Use prior and background knowledge as context for new learning. 

1.1.3 Develop and refine a range of questions to frame the search for new understanding.

1.1.4 Find, evaluate, and select appropriate sources to answer questions. 

1.1.5 Evalutate information found in selected sources on the basis of accuracy, validity, appropriateness for needs, importance, and social and cultural context. 

1.1.6 Read, view, and listen for information presented in any format (e.g., textual, visual, media, digital) in order to make inferences and gather meaning. 

1.1.7 Make sense of information gathered by identifying misconceptions, main and supporting ideas, conflicting information, and point of view or bias. 

1.1.8 Demonstrate mastery of technology tools for accessing information and pursuing inquiry. 

1.1.9 Collaborate with others to broaded and deepen understanding. 

1.2.3 Demonstrate creativity by  using multiple resources and formats. 

1.2.4 Maintain a critical stance by questioning the validity and accuracy of all information. 

1.3.1 Respect copyright/intellectual property rights of creators and producers. 

1.3.2 Seek divergent perspectives during information gathering and assessment.

1.3.4 Contribute to the exchange of ideas within the learning community. 

1.3.5 Use information technology responsibility. 

1.4.2 Use interaction with and feedback from teachers and peers to guide own inquiry process. 

2-Draw conclusions, make informed decisions, apply knowledge to new situations, and create new knowledge. 

2.1.1 Continue an inquiry-based research process by applying critical-thinking skills (analysis, synthesis, evaluation, organization) to inforamtion and knowledge in order to construct new understandings, draw conclusions, and create new knowledge. 

2.1.2 Organize knowledge so that it is useful. 

2.1.3 Use strategies to draw conclusions from information and apply knowledge to curricular areas, real-world situations, and further investigations. 

2.1.4 Use technology and other information tools to analyze and organize information. 

2.1.5 Collaborate with other to exchange ideas, develop new understandings, make decisions, and solve problems. 

2.1.6 Use the writing process, meida and visual literacy, and technology skills to create products that express new understandings. 

2.2.3 Employ a critical stance in drawing conclusions by demonstrating that the pattern of evidence leads to a decision or conclusion. 

2.2.4 Demonstrate personal productivity by completing products to express learning. 

2.3.1 Connect understanding to real world. 

2.3.3 Use valid information and reasoned conclusions to make ethical decisions. 

3- Share knowledge and participate ethically and productively as members of a democartic society. 

3.1.1 Conclude an inquiry-based research process by sharing new understandings and reflecting on the learning. 

3.1.2 Participate and collaborate as members of a social and intellectual network of learners. 

3.1.3 Use writing and speaking skills to communicate new understandings effectively. 

3.1.4 Use technology and other information tools to organize and display knowledge and understanding in ways that others can view, use, and assess. 

3.1.5 Connect learning to community issues. 

3.1.6 Use information and technology ethically and responsibly. 

3.2.1 Demonstrate leadership and confidence by presenting ideas to others in both formal and informal situations. 

3.2.3 Demonstrate teamwork by working productively with others. 

3.3.2 Respect the differing interests and experiences of others and seek a variety of viewpoints. 

4- Pursue personal and aesthetic growth. 

4.1.8 Use creative and artistic formats to express personal learning. 

4.3.1 Participate in the social exchange of ideas, both electronically and in person. 


Logisitics/Potential Issues

When working with groups and collaborative efforts, there can be issues among members. The below resources could assist with these groups. 




Assessments will take place throughout each of the steps within this project. 

The formal assessments will be given through Google Forms, a Bubbl.us concept map. At the end of the unit, each student will write a justification essay to include the energy source they feel most strongly about and how they came to this conclusion. 

There are optional rubrics for the technology project presentations that each group will present to the class, as well as collaborative group work rubrics available at:

Additional Resources Needed

Below is a resource to use when you are developing the class consensus and final recommendation to bring to the town council meeting. Also, there is a link to a lesson plan on solar energy that could be used as an extension or as an introduction to build background knowledge and schema. 

Other Suggestions

It may be advantagious to be in contact with the science teachers/experts in your building prior to and throughout this project. 

Further investigation:

-Bring in experts in the area to demonstrate and present these resources to students.