Power Source Exercise

I have found in my interactions with both students and adults that it is not uncommon to encounter a person who hasn’t given much thought to the story behind the common electrical outlet in their home.  Where does electrical power come from? How does it get to the outlet?  What are the social, economic and environmental consequences of this journey?  In this brief but interactive lesson-opening activity provided by Steven Semken at Arizona State University,  “students or groups are tasked to make concept sketches that track the source of electrical power as far back as they can conceive. The concept sketches reveal students’ prior conceptions of the power grid and energy mix, and lead naturally into a lesson or discussion about energy resources and power production.” From here the author goes on to introduce students to the topic of fossil fuels: their origin, extraction, and use, as well as the environmental consequences arising from their use.


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