The student will investigate and understand basic sources of energy,
their origins, transformations, and uses. Key concepts include
a) potential and kinetic energy;
b) the role of the sun in the formation of most energy sources on Earth;
c) nonrenewable energy sources (fossil fuels, including petroleum, natural
gas, and coal);
d) renewable energy sources (wood, wind, hydro, geothermal, tidal, and
e) energy transformations (heat/light to mechanical, chemical, and
- Potential energy is energy that is
not “in use” (stored) and is available to do
- Kinetic energy is energy that is “in
use,” the energy a moving object has
due to its motion. For example, moving water
and wind have kinetic energy.
- The chemical energy in
fossil fuels is considered potential
energy until released.
STUDENT SKILLS: (Students should be familiar with potential and
kinetic energy and able to provide examples of each; should understand energy transformations
involved with the formation and burning of coal and other fossil fuels as well as
heat/light transformations (conversions) to mechanical, chemical, and
electrical energy; shouldbe able to compare nonrenewable and renewable energy
source, how they are utilized, their availability, advantages and
disadvantages, and the use of solar and wind energy; should analyze the energy a
person uses during a 24- hour period; should analyze how the United
States energy use has changed over time; and predict the potential impact
of unanticipated energy shortages.)
Sources of Energy - Energy
- Solar energy from the ancient past is
stored in fossil fuels such as
coal and petroleum.
Fossil fuels are rich in the elements carbon and
hydrogen. These sources of energy take very long periods of time
to form and once depleted, are essentially
- Some important sources of energy include fossil
fuels, wood, wind,
water (hydropower), solar,
and thermal energy from the
Heat and light can be
converted into mechanical energy,
chemical energy, and
electrical energy and back again.
Nonrenewable Fossil Fuels vs.
Renewable Energy Sources
- Many of the Earth’s energy resources are available on a
perpetual basis. These include
solar, wind, water, and
geothermal energy. Some energy sources can be
replaced over relatively short periods of time. These include
wood and other biomass.
All are considered renewable.
- Modern industrial society is dependent upon energy.
Fossil fuels are
the major sources of energy in developed and