How the World Works
“Looking at it as the spaceship that it is, there’s just one spaceship here. It’s the only one we’re going to get. What are the total known resources, and what is the total knowledge, and how do we use those total resources and knowledge for everybody on board this ship? Absolutely give no attention whatsoever to nations ever again. It must be really how to make it work for everybody. That’s what I’m talking about. We’re now talking about making it work for everybody.” – Buckminster Fuller
Fuller is the author of “Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth”.
The Buckminster Fuller Institute has Fuller’s works on-line.
The Whole World, in Your Hands. “The only inflatable Earth globe which depicts our planet as it truly appears from space.” The Earth Ball Handbook gives an educational overview of our planet’s position, resources, and preciousness. New 1-metre diameter Earthballs have arrived, for schools, daycares and science centres.
FSEC Teacher Resources
– Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC) “…dedicates substantial effort to the development of educational resources for the teachers of our children. We do this out of the simple belief that clean and efficient energy resources are key to our future generations’ ability to achieve a safe and sustainable environment.” The Florida Solar Energy Center offers award-winning free teacher resources.
Teachers: FREE Hands-on, Multidisciplinary Lesson Plans. – elementary and middle school. “Teachers around the nation told us that they would like free, hands-on, multidisciplinary lesson plans in the hot area of energy…You can view complete lesson plans on-line. You can then download the plan as a PDF file and print it out.” – Alliance to Save Energy.
Pembina Institute’s Renewable Energy Education website, with educational notes, activities, and downloadable “hands-on” lesson plans for different forms of renewable energy. This fulsome site keeps growing and is a good resource for teachers. Should you wish to teach about climate change, please their recently launched Cool 2.0 website.
KidWind Project –
“The KidWind Project is a team of teachers, students, engineers and practitioners exploring the science behind wind energy in classrooms around the US. Our goal is to introduce as many people as possible to the elegance of wind power through hands-on science activities which are challenging, engaging and teach basic science principles.”
The US Dept of Energy (DOE) has launched a new educational Web site that provides more than 350 lesson plans and activities on energy efficiency and renewable energy for grades K-12. DOE’s new “Get Smart About Energy!” Web site includes hands-on activities that address energy fundamentals, energy efficiency, sources of energy, and the environmental impacts of energy use, and all the activities and lesson plans are aligned with the National Science Education Standards. Teacher guides are included with many of the lessons, and all the materials are free and reproducible.The new Web site is part of DOE’s EnergySmart Schools Program, which also promotes energy efficient schools. K-12 schools spend more than $8 billion annually on energy, making energy the second highest operating expenditure for these schools after personnel costs. DOE’s EnergySmart goals are to upgrade new schools to 50% better than current energy codes and improve existing schools by 30% in the next three years. The program is endorsed by the National School Boards Association and offers tools and resources to assist school decision makers in planning and financing energy-efficient high-performance schools.
Energy for Keeps: Electricity from Renewable Energy – “An illustrated guide for everyone who uses electricity. Teacher Edition, Grades 6 – 12… All files (240 pages) are in PDF format and may be downloaded for free.”
The Global Sun/Temperature Project: Collaborative Science Education Project – “Join schools from around the world as they try to figure out how their geographic location (i.e. where they live) affects their average daily temperature and hours of sunlight.
NREL’s Junior Solar Sprint
Hot tips on building cars…excellent elementary and middle school mechanics lessons, combined with the opportunity to host a solar car race.
SolarBotics – Can you say, “COOOL” ? Introducing Dave Hrynkiw’s solar-powered robots, capturing solar power in capacitors and delivering pulses of pure power. B is for Biology, E is for Electronics, A is for Aesthetics, and M is for Mechanics. BEAM Robotics…get your hands on…!
Home Power Magazine -The Hands-on Journal of Home-Made Power. Simply the best magazine to learn about and keep up with solar, wind, and micro-hydro electrical generation. Free for downloading, with previous issues archived. See their Solar One CD-ROM, with 150 of the Best Articles on the Basics of Renewable Energy. Consider buying the CD-Rom’s, and getting a subscription of Home Power magazine for the school library.
Need some pictures? Try this. “ThePhotographic Information eXchange (PIX) collection consists of renewable energy and energy efficiency technology photographs.”
For more advanced knowledge about Solar Energy, free on-line course offered by Delft University of Technology.
For a different point of view, try the Land Down Under, Australia, where the RainBow Power Company shines!
It becomes difficult to keep up with Climate Change news, but these two blog-spots are probably the best if you are looking to give students accurate observations of the planet by scientists.
CLIMATE PROGRESS – more political, but with updated scientific reports.
SKEPTICAL SCIENCE – perhaps the best from an educational viewpoint.
How much coal is required to run a 100-watt light bulb 24 hours a day for one year? –
a question answered at Marshall Brain’s fabulous and famous “How Stuff Works” Web site – “Learn How Everything Works.” Also, ask, “How does a solar cell work?” and “How do Electric Motors work?” – both excellent descriptions.
Some Recommended Links
Solar Cookers International – Without doubt, the best site for learning the basics of solar heating. Check also Principles of Solar Cooker Design at their site. There is nothing like building a solar cooker to get hands-on experience with solar energy, building techniques…and cooking.
REVIEW OF SOLAR COOKER DESIGNS – For a survey of the thoughtful designs that have arisen from our desire to cook with sunlight, please visit the historical and highly informational site of Dr. Ashok Kundapur of India. His Web sit “presents about 56 major designs , 59 variations and 66 drawings of solar cookers.”
CANWEA (Canadian Wind Energy Association). A powerful industry with lots of opportunity for growth.