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SATROSPHERE SCIENCE CENTRE

Renewable Energy Classroom Activities

These materials are designed to help you explore energy further in the classroom. This guide provides examples of activities you can carry out with pupils prior to a visit to Satrosphere and ideas for ways you can explore these topics if you have used a visit to Satrosphere as a starting point to a classroom project. We hope you find these materials useful.



Activity 1: RENEW-A-BEAN (Continues on until Page 5)
This activity will help pupils understand the depletion of non-renewable energy resources and the effect that changing rates of use have on the future. It will also enforce the role of conservation and the need to develop renewable resources.
MATERIALS
1 tub for every small group, a large supply of beans (200 for each group) or other small items - 95% one colour (brownish); 5% another colour (white) (i.e. pinto and garbanzo beans or peanuts and almonds; whatever combinations you use, be sure to maintain the 95 : 5 ratio to represent the ratio of non-renewable to renewable resource energy consumption in the UK), blindfolds, and calculators
Have students calculate how many of each type of bean would go into the tubs if they are given 200 beans and 95% must be of one kind. Provide each pair with the correct amount of each coloured beans.
BACKGROUND

Prediction of how long various energy resources will last is risky at best. In the early 1970’s, it was predicted that we would run out of natural gas by the late 1980’s! It is important to know whether a prediction assumes a constant rate of use or a changing rate. It is also important to know whether a rate assumes that more resources will be found or it assumes use of only known reserves. It is also important to consider if foreign resources are included.

The point of this activity is not so much to show the actual numbers, but rather that non-renewable resources will be depleted and that conservation (reduction of use/waste) together with the development of renewable resources can stretch the supply of non-renewables.

Grid Fuel Mix 2008







What to do:
Form groups of 2-3 pupils.
Part 1: Have one person from each group pick out 10 “energy beans” from the container, without looking or blindfolded. These 10 beans represent the energy that is used in one year. Count the brown and white beans and record the number on the attached data collection sheet for Year 1. The brown beans represent energy from non-renewable energy resources, so when a brown bean is picked it cannot be returned to the tub (place it aside). The white beans are renewable energy beans, so they should be put back into the tub each turn after counting them.

Let another person from the group pick 10 beans to represent energy use in Year 2.

Fill in the number of brown and white beans on the chart, and return the white beans as before. Repeat the process, returning all white beans to the bag after each person’s turn, until 20 years have passed or until all the brown energy beans are gone. Have you run out of brown beans before 20 years?

Part 2: Consider the growing use of power and energy over time. Repeat exercise, but increase the amount of energy use by picking out 5 additional “energy

beans” each year (pick 10 beans in year 1, 15 beans in year 2, 20 beans in year 3,

etc.). Record information on the attached data collection sheet. Complete the concluding questions or have pupils write a description of what they think is going to happen to fuel mix in their life times.



Conclusions
1. How many years did it take for the non-renewable energy resources to run out when you used 10 energy beans per year?

2. How many years did it take for the non-renewable energy sources to run out when you increased the rate at which we consumed resources each year (part 2)?

3. What are some examples of renewable and non-renewable energy resources?

4. What does this activity demonstrate about our consumption of resources - what will happen if we keep using non-renewable resources?


5. Describe what happens to the proportion of renewable vs. non-renewable energy resources that remain available, as energy is used over time.



Part 1: Steady number of beans used each year.


Year


# beans

picked


# brown beans

(Do not return to tub!)



# white

beans


# beans remaining

in tub


% remaining beans that are renewable


x 100


white beans

total beans

1


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Part 2: Increasing use in the number of beans used each year.


Year


# beans

picked


# brown beans

(Do not return to tub!)



# white

beans


# beans remaining

in tub


% remaining beans that are renewable


x 100

white beans


total beans


1

















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Activity 2: Measuring the Wind

Or download an anemometer activity sheet from:



http://bpes.bp.com/media/3045/Wind%20Watch%20worksheet%20PDF.pdf

Activity 3: Waterwheel

You will need to do this activity in parts, to allow sections of the waterwheel to dry before building the next section! Part 1 and 2 can be done on the same day, and Part 3 the day after.

To complete all 3 parts you will need:

Polystyrene craft balls, Pencils, Plastic spoons, Glue, Polystyrene Cups, String, Pencils, Paper clips


Cut plastic spoons in half so that each child will get four halves to serve as paddles.

Make your own waterwheel to show the class.


What to do Part 1:

First make the hub using the polystyrene craft balls.

1. Put the pencil through the polystyrene craft ball, creating a hub (Diagram 1).

2. Place four paddles equally around the polystyrene hub (Diagram 2). Pupils should push them in and then take them out and place a little bit of glue in the slot before re-inserting the paddles.

3. Allow the hubs to dry overnight.
What to do Part 2:

Gather polystyrene cups. These will serve as the base for the waterwheel. Prepare the polystyrene cups by cutting out the bottoms and cutting two notches in the top of each cup. See the Diagram 3 below:



What to do Part 3:

Gather string, waterwheel hub and shaft (pencil), polystyrene cups from Part 2 and paper clips. Cut a 12” piece of string for each pupil. Depending on your pupils’ ages you may want to pre-tie one piece of the string to the end of each pencil, and tie a paper clip to the free end.

1. Have the pupils set up their waterwheels. Tie a 12” piece of string around one end of the pencil; tie a paperclip to the end of the string.

2. Pupils should first turn the pencil by hand to raise the paper clip up. What do they notice about turning it by hand? Do they think they could do this all day?

3. Next, have everyone put their waterwheels six inches under the water faucet so that the faucet drips onto one of the spoons and rotates the hub. Start with a low but steady pressure of water (or pour water through the water wheel over a tray). What do they notice now? How quickly does the paper clip get to the pencil?

Extension Activity

For further investigations at school or at home: Time how fast the water works to lift the paper clip. Can you make the water work faster? You may also want to calculate the speed of the paper clip and have races. To have pupils calculate the speed they would need to calculate distance travelled (mm or cm)/time (seconds) = speed in mm (or cm)/s. If there are great differences between groups have a discussion about why. Also does the speed of the water coming from the faucet affect the speed of the paper clip being wound up?



Useful Websites:
Loads of great ideas and downloadable materials from the green schools revolution at the Co-operative:

http://www.co-operative.coop/green-schools-revolution/at-school/Primary-Schools/Energy/
The Energy Story- covers everything energy related:

http://energyquest.ca.gov/story/index.html
Instruction on how to build your own wind turbine from simple materials:

http://practicalaction.org/wind-power-challenge
Activity suggestion for planning what energy recourses to use for a small island community:

http://practicalaction.org/moja-island-activity
Downloadable energy stats from the Energy White paper 2007:

http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/+/http://www.berr.gov.uk/whatwedo/energy/whitepaper/page39534.html
British Gas has many downloadable games and activities:

http://www.generationgreen.co.uk/resources/topic/renewable
Downloadable worksheet/activities to do with solar energy:

http://www.solarweek.org/cms/Thursday/SolarEnergyActivities/tabid/166/Default.aspx




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