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Energy is in everything and every living thing needs energy to live. Our primary source of energy is the sun. Watch the sun’s energy charge the earth’s climate engine. The sun’s warm radiation fuels plants that in turn fuel animals. But people use other sources of energy. Energy cooks our food, warms our homes, lights our streets, brings us television and powers our cars. Energy is defined as the ability to do work, and we use energy to work. Energy comes in different forms: heat (thermal), light (radiant), mechanical, electrical, chemical and nuclear. Stored energy is potential energy and moving energy is kinetic energy. Some energy sources are renewable, like wood (the first source for fire), solar, geothermal (inside the earth), biomass(from plants) and wind. Water (hydrothermal) is a valuable natural resource, but must be conserved wisely. Some sources are non-renewable like coal and oil. Non-renewable sources cannot be replenished or take millions of years to replenish.

People need to use renewable energy sources to live sustainably!

Activity 1 – Compare Energy Sources!

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What energy do you use everyday? First, you eat to nourish your body, you turn on lights to see, you turn on hot water to wash, and you turn on heat and move around to keep warm. All of these actions use or make energy. Make a chart of everything you do during one day. List your activities in the left column. Then declare if the activity used stored or kinetic energy. In the third column, state whether the activity used renewable or non-renewable energy. Finally, make a pie chart that shows percentages of used energy, potential and kinetic, and a second pie chart of renewable or non-renewable energy sources. What did you discover about your energy use? Are you using energy wisely? If the world can help spread the available energy to all that need energy, what can you do to not over-use energy?

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Activity 2 – Check Your Energy Sources

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In this activity, you will research comparative energy measurements. A basic measuring block of energy is a British Thermal Unit. A BTU is the amount of heat energy it takes to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit, at sea level, which basically equals the heat of one kitchen match. Your favorite candy bar roughly equals 1,000 BTUs!

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Activity 3 – Make An Energy History Timeline

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How long has energy been around? What was our first source of energy after the sun? Who were the important inventors of energy sources and uses? Research the history of energy types and make a timeline. On the timeline mark key inventors and what invention they contributed to our use of energy. Make a guess about the energy for the future!

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  • A muffin is a form of:
  • The most cost-effective way to dry clothes is:
  • Oil and Gas are:
  • A house that is insulated can use up to _____ less energy:
  • BTU stands for:
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