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Database Provider

Author

Vox

Grades

6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th

Subjects

Science, Engineering

Resource Type

  • Videos, 3 minutes, 39 seconds, CC, Subtitles

Regional Focus

North America, United States

Format

YouTube Video

How to Fix Our Unreliable Power Grid

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Synopsis
  • This video explains how centralized electric grids in the United States can be easily disrupted, resulting in mass power outages. 
  • Students will learn that microgrids could decrease the number of mass power outages even as extreme weather events from climate change increase over time. 
  • The video also shows how solar and wind microgrids can store and share excess energy with the central grid, decreasing reliance on fossil fuels. 
Teaching Tips

Positives

  • This video is very short and to the point, making it a good discussion starter.
  • Students will appreciate how the stop motion animation helps to illustrate the points being made in the video.

Additional Prerequisites

  • This video begins with an advertisement.
  • Students should understand how fossil fuels cause climate change, which leads to more extreme weather.

Differentiation

  • Younger students could make a list of everything in the classroom that requires electricity (lights, computers, pencil sharpener, air conditioner, etc.) and then discuss what it would be like if the power went out during the school day.
  • Science classes could research their local electricity grids to see whether or not the community is vulnerable to widespread power outages. As an extension, students could research and discuss microgrid alternatives for the community.
  • Other resources on this topic include this SubjectToClimate lesson plan on advocating for renewable energy, this video on creating electricity-free lighting solutions for power outages, and this project idea for how to get solar panels installed on a school roof.
Scientist Notes
Climate change is making power outages more common due to extreme weather. This short video from Vox explores how this could be fixed. This resource is recommended for teaching.
Standards
  • Science
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • MS-ESS3-3. Apply scientific principles to design a method for monitoring and minimizing a human impact on the environment.
      • HS-ESS3-2. Evaluate competing design solutions for developing, managing, and utilizing energy and mineral resources based on cost-benefit ratios.
    • ETS1: Engineering Design
      • 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.
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