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Science, Social Studies, Economics, Engineering

Resource Type

  • Ebooks

Regional Focus




How Renewables Work: A Practical Guide to Solar, Wind, and Geothermal

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  • This e-book provides a comprehensive overview of solar, wind, and geothermal energy.
  • Students will learn about the cost of installing solar, wind, and geothermal systems, how much energy each system produces, and the best locations for each energy source.
Teaching Tips


  • This resource includes responses to the many economic issues and questions that usually arise when discussing clean energy.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Users must sign up or log in to access this e-book. To sign up, users must provide their first name, last name, zip code, and email address.
  • The first link on page 3, the first link on page 15, the links to state and local resources on page 16, and the links on page 19 do not work.


  • Teachers can assign students to groups to read the solar, wind, or geothermal energy sections and then share what they have learned with the rest of the class.
  • Students could make a chart that compares the price, energy production, requirements for use, and maintenance needs for solar, wind, and geothermal energy.
  • Other resources on this topic include these interactive maps of geothermal energy infrastructure, solar energy infrastructure, and wind energy infrastructure in the United States.
Scientist Notes
This text explains how solar, wind, and geothermal energy are produced with practical examples. Additional links provided in the article contain relevant data for enhancing energy transition for households, communities, and cities.
  • Science
    • ETS1: Engineering Design
      • MS-ETS1-2. Evaluate competing design solutions using a systematic process to determine how well they meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.
      • HS-ETS1-3. Evaluate a solution to a complex real-world problem based on prioritized criteria and trade-offs that account for a range of constraints, including cost, safety, reliability, and aesthetics, as well as possible social, cultural, and environmental impacts.
    • PS3: Energy
      • MS-PS3-4. Plan an investigation to determine the relationships among the energy transferred, the type of matter, the mass, and the change in the average kinetic energy of the particles as measured by the temperature of the sample.
      • MS-PS3-5. Construct, use, and present arguments to support the claim that when the kinetic energy of an object changes, energy is transferred to or from the object.
      • MS-PS3-2. Develop a model to describe that when the distance between two objects changes, different amounts of potential energy are stored in the system (e.g. gravitational, magnetic, or electrostatic potential energy).
  • Social Studies
    • Economics
      • SS.Econ1.a.m Predict the opportunity costs of various decisions and explain why the opportunity cost might differ from person to person or in different situations. Assess how limited resources (e.g., money, land, natural resources, workers, time) impact the choices of individuals, households, communities, businesses, and countries.
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