Activity Introduction

As an investigative journalist, use your sources to lift the lid on energy production practices, and inform the world of your findings. In our pursuit of producing energy to power our homes, devices and lots of other aspects of our lives, humans haven’t always had the environment’s best interests in mind. 

Humans focus a lot on electrical energy because we require it so frequently in our everyday lives. In Australia, we make most of our electrical energy from coal. 

There are many problems associated with the generation of electricity in a coal power plant. One problem is that when coal is combusted it produces a large amount of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide – which is a contributor to climate change. Another problem is that coal power plants are not very energy efficient and on average only 30-40% of the chemical energy in coal is converted to useful energy – the rest is lost as heat in the conversion process. 

Coal is also a fossil fuel, meaning that it is formed from ‘dead things’ over millions and millions of years. It is non-renewable, meaning that we will eventually run out. 

Renewable energy is derived from sources that can be replenished within the time of human civilisation. Some of these sources include: solar, wind, hydroelectric, geothermal and biogas. A combination of these sources needs to be part of our energy plan to ensure a sustainable future. 

We also need to think about the way in which we use energy. Cutting back on our personal energy use will be an important step also.

This is a good activity for kids to complete independently.

Ideal for: Upper Primary Ages 10 – 12

Themes: 

  • think and connect

Time required: 30 minutes

Curriculum connections: English, Science, Literacy, Critical and Creative Thinking

Tips for Parents and Carers

Ensure kids are practising safe search methods when exploring the internet for information.

Have a conversation with your kid/s about how they can tell whether information is true or fake.

Ask:

  • Where did the information come from? Is this a reliable source?
  • Does the information sound made up?
  • Is there any conflicting information?

Lesson & Curriculum Details

Curriculum codes:

Complete lesson for classroom teachers:

Investigation into how we create and use energy – Research Project

Resources Required

  • Device with internet connection
  • Writing paper and pen or pencil

Learning@Home from Cool Australia

Learning@Home resources are designed for parents and teachers to use with children in the home environment. They can be used as stand-alone activities or built into existing curriculum-aligned learning programs. Our Learning@Home series includes two types of resources. The first are fun and challenging real-world activities for all ages, the second are self-directed lessons for upper primary and secondary students. These lessons support independent learning in remote or school settings.

Cool Australia’s curriculum team continually reviews and refines our resources to be in line with changes to the Australian Curriculum.

Worksheets

Student Worksheet

Energy Production Investigation - Activity Instructions

Step 1. Log on to the Cool Australia Digital Toolbox - Energy (https://www.coolaustralia.org/ca_topic/energy/) and spend some time researching energy production. Take notes as you go.

Step 2. Answer the following questions:

•  What is the most interesting or important thing you found in your research about energy?

•  What are the ways in which we generate energy currently?

•  What is the relationship between climate change and the way we currently generate energy?

•  What cleaner ways are there to generate energy (i.e. that won't produce greenhouse gases)?

•  What is one thing you found in your research that you think would influence the way that people think about energy and our environment?

•  Do you think everyone can do something to reduce the impact our energy use has on our environment? Why or why not?

•  What will you do to reduce the impact of the energy you use on our environment? Create a list of tip

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