Energy Literacy: Essential Principles and Fundamental Concepts for Energy Education

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Energy Education Websites compiled by DaNel Hogan (

Teacher and Student Resources

Energy Literacy: Essential Principles and Fundamental Concepts for Energy Education ( identifies seven Essential Principles and a set of Fundamental Concepts that, if understood and applied, will help individuals and communities make informed energy decisions. The intended audience is anyone involved in energy education from K-Gray and is meant to inform the improvement and development of energy curriculum to more broadly cover the Fundamental Concepts. The Energy Literacy Framework is free to download from the website and up to five hard copies can be ordered.
The Energy Literate Citizenry from K-to-Gray: A Webcast on the Department of Energy's Energy Literacy Initiative is available online, including a PDF of the presentation. Please see the web page below for the presentation and available resources.

The Department of Energy’s Energy 101 Initiative ( provides a peer reviewed course framework for an interdisciplinary fundamentals of energy course using a systems-based approach that can be individualized by the nation’s universities and community colleges. The model course will teach energy from an interdisciplinary perspective in an effort to capture the dynamic role energy plays in our lives -- including relevant scientific, technological and societal aspects. Through this effort, DOE aims to increase the pathways to energy-related degrees and energy careers offered at the nation's universities and community colleges. Such an interdisciplinary course can lead to broadly increasing the energy literacy of students, as well as providing fundamentals which can be used in further energy-related academic or career pathways.
Energy 101 Course Framework Webinar is available online, including a pdf of the presentation. See the web page below for the presentation and available resources.

The Department of Energy Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy has a searchable library of K-12 Lesson Plans & Activities ( You will also find the Energy Literacy framework highlighted on this page. The Energy Literacy framework is a standards-like document for educators which identifies the concepts from both the natural and social sciences that someone would know and understand if they were energy literate. There are links to and to an Energy Basics site that are very useful as well. See EERE’s Kids Saving Energy site which was last updated in 2008 but still has a lot of relevant games and information.

EERE Wind Office: Energy Basics/how wind turbines works with a really great widget/animation They also have a great set of other wind energy basics multimedia, and a wind 101 video

EERE Solar Office: Great resources for teaching about solar including videos, graphics and animations.
American’s Home Energy Education Challenge (AHEEC) ( from the Department of Energy and the National Science Teachers Association. This challenge is a fun way for students in grades 3-8 to learn about energy conservation. The challenge runs during the 2013-2014 school year and registration closes November 15, 2013. Teams of students will win over $60,000 competing in the Home Energy Challenge and Energy Poster Competition.
Energy 101 videos from the U.S. Department of Energy. Short videos on a variety of energy related topics. The DOE also has a general video site that can be searched for other topics and energy related talks.
Department of Energy hosts Energy All Stars: On January 19, 2013 as part of Inauguration Weekend, the Department of Energy hosted Energy All Stars featuring prominent energy leaders doing TED-style talks outlining what our energy future can and should look like, and steps that can be taken to achieve that vision. Speakers included Secretary of Energy - Steven Chu, former governor of Michigan - Jennifer Granholm, Los Angeles Mayor - Antonio Villaraigosa, CEO of Bloomberg New Energy Finance - Michael Liebreich, President and CEO of CPS Energy - Doyle Beneby, managing principal of the Analysis Group and former Assistant Secretary of Energy - Susan Tierney, and Bill Nye the Science Guy. Watch these incredible presentations at:
The Department of Energy’s Energy Saver site includes energy saving content as well as how-to articles and videos, calculators, and a blog. Beyond providing information about low-cost ways to lower household energy bills, the site also provides information about local tax credits, rebates and energy efficiency financing that may be available in different communities.

The Department of Energy’s America’s Home Energy Education Challenge ( is designed to help students and their families save energy while earning awards for their schools. Is being reworked but will be online starting in April 2013.
Women @ Energy ( is a DOE project to showcase a few of the talented, dedicated employees who are helping to change the world and ensure America’s security and prosperity through transformative science and technology solutions. View profiles of women across the country, sharing what inspired them to work in STEM, what excites them about their work at the Energy Department, sharing ideas for getting more underrepresented groups engaged in STEM, offering tips, and more.
The Department of Energy - Office of Fossil Energy’s Hydraulic Fracturing Poster diagrams the process of hydraulic fracturing to extract shale gas from deep beneath the earth. Teachers can request hard copies and there is a pdf version on the website.

PBS NOVA Labs: The Energy Lab ( is the second lab in this new digital platform where “citizen scientists” can actively participate in the scientific process. For something we use every day, energy is a pretty mysterious concept. This Lab investigates what energy is, how it can be converted into useful forms, and why some sources are running low. In the Research Challenge, you'll use scientific data to design renewable energy systems for cities across the U.S.—and compete with others to see whose designs can produce the most power.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) has an Energy Kids site ( where you can find a wide range of activities for students and information about how teachers can put this site to use. They also have a lot of very useful data and analysis concerning energy on their main site (
The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) Energy Explained site ( is a great nonpartisan source for up-to-date energy facts and data on the entire range of energy topics. Do you understand where your gasoline comes from, what determines the price of electricity, or how much renewable energy we use? If not, you're not alone. But now you can learn all about energy at Energy Explained, a nonpartisan guide to the entire range of energy topics from biodiesel to uranium.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) State Energy Portal ( includes interactive mapping, instant state comparisons, interactive state rankings, and an advanced state data finder to key statistics and analysis. To learn more, watch the video at:
BITES (Building, Industry, Transportation, and Electricity Scenarios) tool is an interactive framework that lets users explore the energy and carbon implications of altering the current U.S. energy profile. Using 'what-if' scenarios, users are able to adjust inputs to the electricity generation, buildings, industry and transportation sectors in order to compare outcomes to baseline reference cases.
The State and Local Energy Efficiency Action Network (SEE Action) ( is a state- and local-led effort facilitated by the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to take energy efficiency to scale and achieve all cost-effective energy efficiency by 2020. SEE Action offers publications, events, and technical assistance to state and local decision makers as they provide low-cost, reliable energy to their communities through energy efficiency. SEE Action has a listserv with announcements about upcoming events and new publications. Registration for newsletter can be found on their homepage.
The NEED (National Energy Education Development) Project ( has a large library of energy curriculum on a wide range of energy topics and is differentiated between primary, elementary, intermediate and secondary levels. Specific curriculum you will find useful can be found at the following site which sorts the curriculum according to subject. (
The National Academies’ What You Need To Know About Energy ( interactive website breaks energy up into Uses, Sources, Costs and Efficiency. This site is a reliable source for unbiased information and science related to energy. Links are provided for an Energy Quiz, Short Video, Glossary and the original reports from the National Academies about energy on which the website is based. The National Academies – YouTube channel is a great resource for energy and climate change short videos:
The National Council for Science and the Environment-Council for Energy Research and Education Leaders (NCSE-CEREL) ( is a multidisciplinary membership organization made up of heads of academic energy research and education centers, institutes, and programs. It provides the means for leaders in energy research, education, and communication to collaboratively use knowledge about energy to improve education, decision-making, and, more generally, the well-being of society.
The Energy Library is a web-based information resource about energy in all of its multifaceted aspects. The Energy Library is neutral in regards to energy systems. It does not favor one type of energy source or energy policy over another, one country over another, or one political ideology over another. The Energy Library provides objective and up-to-date information that is written and reviewed by experts.
The Switch Energy Project is a film, web and education program to build energy awareness and efficiency, and help us move forward to a smarter energy future. They have a lot of short video clips on a wide range of energy topics that teachers may find useful and students may find interesting.
Science360 Knowledge Network immerses visitors in the latest wonders of science, engineering, technology and math. They gather the latest science videos provided by scientists, colleges and universities, science and engineering centers, the National Science Foundation and more. A search of “energy” on the site yields some great short and long videos on a wide range of topics.
The Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council was established to drive the transformation of all schools into sustainable and healthy places to live, learn, work and play. They believe everyone, from the kindergartner entering the classroom to the Ph.D. student performing research in a lab, should have the ability to learn in green buildings. The Center works directly with teachers, students, administrators, elected officials and communities to create programs, resources and partnerships that transform all schools into healthy learning environments. They provide lots of resources for students and teachers about how to make your school green.
Green Apple Day is an initiative of the Center for Green schools at USGBC to put all children in schools where they have clean and healthy air to breathe, where energy and resources are conserved, and where they can be inspired to dream of a brighter future. On Sept. 29, 2012, more than 1,250 service projects took place in 49 countries on every continent around the world to make our schools healthier, more sustainable places to learn. Check out what events took place near you, read highlights from the day, and mark your calendar for next year's Day of Service on Sept. 28, 2013.
Green Revolution has 10 videos on a wide range of energy topics: discover, wind, green roofs, smart grid, city car, solar, hydrogen, biomass, microbes and electric vehicles. These short videos are a great intro to any of these topics and show some of the great research happening in different parts of the energy space.
Climate Literacy & Energy Awareness Network (CLEAN) houses a reviewed collection of grades 6-16 educational resources meant to help students’ understand the core ideas in climate and energy science. These resources have been linked to the essential climate and energy literacy principles and are searchable in a variety of ways.

Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network community is an informal group of scientists, educators, policy makers, community leaders, students, and citizens engaged in fostering Climate and Energy Literacy in the US and abroad. It provides a forum for organizations, agencies, and individuals to collaborate for climate and energy education. Members share ideas, coordinate efforts, promote policy reform, develop learning resources, and support integration of climate and energy literacy into formal and informal education venues. Initiatives of CLEAN feature accurate scientific information, engaging learning experiences, and multiple pathways to reach broad and diverse audiences, in both formal and informal venues. Join the Climate and Energy Literacy Network and its email list, by contacting Dr. Tamara Ledley of TERC, Cambridge, Mass. (
The Green Schools National Network (GSNN) which is a non-profit organization advances the national Green & Healthy Schools Movement by connecting like-minded and passionate education, non-profit, corporate and public sector individuals and programs.  GSNN is the national umbrella organization that works collaboratively with others to improve education in the United States.  Education for sustainability helps young people gain the knowledge, skills, motivation and hands-on experiences to make the world a better place for everyone and everything.
The Green Schools Alliance is meant to connect and empower K-12 schools to lead the transformation to global environmental sustainability. They have resources and programs to support schools trying to green. They also host the Student Climate & Conservation Congress (SC3) ( to empower outstanding student environmental leaders with the skills, knowledge, and tools necessary to address natural resource conservation challenges and better serve their schools and communities.
Energy4me is another organization that has resources and activities for students and also has free kits teachers can order to teach about energy topics.
Science NetLinks from the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) ( provides K-12 teachers, students, and families with quality resources for teaching and learning science. All of the resources are Internet based and free to everyone. They have a collection of resources called The Science of Energy ( which shines a light on the types of lessons, tools, and interactives available to help students understand energy. One energy related game they have is called Power Up! ( It is aimed at younger students (Grades 3-8). They also have Power Play ( which is for grades 6-8. Energy Time Machine ( presents the history of energy from 500,000 BCE up to 2006. The Oil Refining interactive is also very good (
AAAS Cutting Edge: Energy Lecture Series is a lecture series where AAAS members make brief, easy to understand presentations about the latest advancements in their field. The newest installment, Cutting Edge: Energy draws on the expertise of Paul Alivisatos, Henry Shiu, Belinda Batten, and Kim Magrini, as they share their insights on the newest developments in solar energy, wind energy, wave energy, and biofuels. Available as videos and audio podcasts, these lectures offer a fascinating look at the future of renewable energy resources.
THINK! ENERGY is an initiative from National Energy Foundation that invites all people to practice three main principles: Think! – Discover energy and learn about resources, uses and supply as it relates to you personally, in schools or businesses, at home, and in your community. Talk! – Discuss the energy and environmental topics that encourage debate and formulate ideas. Take Action! – Decide to take action and make a difference in energy through conservation and energy efficiency practices that impact the environment in positive and healthy ways.

Earth: The Operators’ Manual (“ETOM” for short) is a rigorously researched, beautifully filmed and ultimately uplifting antidote to the widespread “doom and gloom” approach to climate change. The program opens with a thorough grounding in Earth’s climate history and an overview of the current dilemmas, but its main thrust is an upbeat assessment of our many viable sustainable energy options. Links to the three episodes of ETOM at this site – each about an hour long and worth viewing!

Museum of the Earth: Marcellus Shale provides information on the geology of the Marcellus Shale and related Earth system issues. The geology is important because it dictates where natural gas will be found and why it is present, why new technology is needed to extract the natural gas, and what the impacts may be of extracting natural gas in these ways.

WattzOn is a consumer energy engagement software platform that provides free tools and expert advice to help people understand their energy use and how they can make smart decisions about saving energy and making their homes more green.
PBS America Revealed – Episode 1: Food Machine. Over the past century, an American industrial revolution has given rise to the biggest, most productive food machine the world has ever known. Host Yul Kwon explores how this machine feeds nearly 300 million Americans every day. He discovers engineering marvels we’ve created by putting nature to work and takes a look at the cost of our insatiable appetite on our health and environment.
PBS America Revealed – Episode 2: Nation on the Move. America is a nation of vast distances and dense urban clusters, woven together by 200,000 miles of railroads, 5,000 airports, and 4 million miles of roads. These massive, complex transportation systems combine to make Americans the most mobile people on earth.
PBS America Revealed – Episode 3: Electric Nation. Our modern electric power grid has been called the biggest and most complex machine in the world – delivering electricity over 200,000 miles of high tension transmission lines. But even though the grid touches almost every aspect of our lives, it’s a system we know very little about.
PBS America Revealed – Episode 4: Made in the USA. American manufacturing has undergone a massive revolution over the past 20 years. Despite all the gloom and doom, America is actually the number one manufacturing nation on earth. Yul Kwon crosses the nation looking at traditional and not-so traditional types of manufacturing.
Our Children’s Trust has videos of youth from around the country talking about how climate change is affecting them and their families. It also details the actions they are taking to make a difference. They are partnered with iMatterMarch at
Alliance for Climate Education (ACE) provides FREE high school assemblies with a conservation message that challenges students to DOT – do one thing and to join student action teams. Visit their website to learn how to schedule an assembly at your high school today! ACE is the national leader in high school climate science education. They are dedicated to educating America’s high school students about the science behind climate change and inspiring them to do something about it – while having fun along the way. ACE delivers two core offerings: the ACE Assembly and the Student Action Program.
The Alliance to Save Energy is a nonprofit organization that promotes energy efficiency worldwide through research, education and advocacy. They encourage business, government, environmental and consumer leaders to use energy efficiency as a means to achieve a healthier economy, a cleaner environment and greater energy security.
Mr. Parr's Cool Science Songs are set to recent hit songs but with the nerdiest lyrics. He made them for his 6th grade classes but they could be used at a ton of different levels. Lots of great topics in physical science, weather, catastrophic events, life science, light and color, astronomy, and earth science.

Some energy related songs include:

Conservation of Energy Song:

The Heating Song:

Power and Work Song:

Radioactivity Song:

Renewed Energy:

Energy Roles:

Mr. Edmonds also has some great songs about physical science topics.

Some energy-related songs include:

Heat and Temperature Song:

The Photosynthesis Song:

The Simple Voltaic Cell Circuit Song:

The Work and Power Song:

The Energy Song:

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