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Fossil Fuels & Renewable Energy Lesson Plans



These energy lesson plans, labs, and activities are perfect for a high school environmental science course and will introduce your students to the distribution of energy sources and the advantages and disadvantages of both fossil fuels and renewable energy (solar, wind, hydroelectric, geothermal, etc). Student worksheets, web-quests, labs, and an online quiz are all included for a cohesive and easy-to-follow unit.

All student pages come in both PRINT and DIGITAL versions for efficient use in class or through distance learning.

PLEASE NOTE: This unit is part of my Full Environmental Science Curriculum.

What’s included?

  • 9 Teacher Planning Pages (standards document, editable daily pacing guide, differentiation ideas for student interest, ability, and learning environment)
  • PowerPoint (17 editable slides- highly visual and fully animated)
  • 2 pages of Cornell Notes (both fill-in-the-blank and editable versions included)
  • Web-quest for content delivery with guided student notes
  • 1 page of Doodle Notes(TM) and a guide to using them in your classroom
  • Electricity Generation Lab- Students use wire and magnets to build a simple electric generator, then build a wind or water turbine to generate electricity
  • Energy Speed Dating Activity- Students research the costs and benefits of a particular type of energy then share information with others in this engaging class activity
  • Energy Battle/Debate- In a class discussion, students debate the “best” type of energy, giving reasons for their choice
  • Mapping Extension Activity- Students use real government maps and data to determine the location and distribution of energy sources within the United States
  • Independent Research Activity- Using Google Maps(TM), students make an interactive online map of power plant locations and historical events relating to the power industry
  • Reading Assignments for homework or bell-ringers
  • Math Extension– dimensional analysis and interpretation of graphs using real data
  • Online quiz using Google Forms for easy grading


The unit is aligned to NGSS and many state standards. If you’d like to know whether your state standards are covered, you can send me an email at [email protected].

NGSS addressed in this unit: HS-PS3-2, HS-PS3-3, HS-LS2-7, HS-ESS3-4, HS-ESS3-1, HS-ESS3-2, HS-ETS1-1, HS-ETS1-2, HSETS1-3. Additional details on standards are included in the teacher planning pages of this course.


*For more details about the specific topics and items included, please see my PREVIEW.*


What curriculum could I use with this lesson?

This lesson is ideally geared toward high school students and would work well with a general-level Environmental Science or Biology textbook. It addresses the following topics in AP Environmental Science (APES):

  • 6.1: Renewable and Nonrenewable Resources
  • 6.2: Global Energy Consumption
  • 6.4: Distribution of Natural Energy Resources
  • 6.5: Fossil Fuels
  • 6.6: Nuclear Power
  • 6.7: Energy from Biomass
  • 6.8: Solar Energy
  • 6.9: Hydroelectric Power
  • 6.10: Geothermal Energy
  • 6.11: Hydrogen Fuel Cell
  • 6.12: Wind Energy
  • 6.13: Energy Conservation

Can I edit these resources to fit my needs?

Some of the files in this unit are editable. The text on the PowerPoints, Cornell Notes, and task cards is all editable so you can adjust the level of content and wording. The pacing guide, printable unit tests, and online quizzes through Google Forms™ are all fully editable. Web-quests, activities, extension pages, and any images included in this unit are in non-editable PDF formats to protect my intellectual property rights and those of the illustrators whose images I’ve purchased for use in this resource.


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