E.ON Energy Experience e-newsletter | June 2007
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Current Energy Issues Brain Gym Curriculum changes Amazing facts
Bringing the world of energy into teaching

Welcome to the second E.ON Energy Experience e-newsletter for primary teachers across England, Scotland and Wales. The newsletter aims to keep you up to date with the latest energy issues and relate these to your curriculum needs.

Current energy issues

Fossil fuels may be too expensive to use in 100 years

Working Group III of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change met in May in Bangkok to focus on mitigation of climate change.

In April, Working Group II provided a full report on the impacts of climate change, the adaptations which are needed to meet them and the vulnerability to climate change of the peoples of the world. The report also included consideration of various ‘emission scenarios’ projected for the future. The report highlighted using one of the following for energy sources:

  • A fossil intensive system
  • The use of non-fossil energy sources
  • A balance across all energy sources and not relying on one particular energy source.

It is widely believed that in the next 100 years the cost of finding and extracting new deposits (of fossil fuels) will render them too expensive for everyday use. Additionally the UK’s target to cut carbon emissions by 20% by 2010 is essential if it is to achieve the much larger reduction needed over the next few decades.

Work with your pupils to investigate alternative sources of energy using the activities below:

->5–7s: Where does energy come from?

->7–11s: How will it work?

Could the UK lead the way in fighting climate change?

Bernie Bulkin, chair for energy and transport at the Sustainable Development Commission believes, ‘There is real benefit to the UK from being a leader in implementing efficient new technologies that promote growth whilst minimising fossil fuel use, in both transport and buildings.’

In April E.ON launched a new UK environmental fund to help communities go green. E.ON offers grants of up to £30,000 to UK communities for sustainable energy projects, which could include wind turbines on community hall roofs.

Tim Pyke, Head of Climate Change for E.ON UK said ‘We're working hard at E.ON to minimise our impact on the environment – and are committed to reduce the carbon intensity of our generation by 10% by 2012 – but we also want communities to help lead the fight against climate change.’

Work with your pupils to help them to understand some of the benefits of renewable energy sources using the activities below:

->5–7s: Energy sources

->7–11s: Power!

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Brain Gym

Crazy windmills

Lead your pupils into the topic of wind energy by warming up their bodies and minds. Ask your pupils to keep their arms together, stretched out in front of their chests, palms facing each other. Then the pupils should crank up the windmill by swinging their arms in circles or ‘lazy 8s’ to the right, crossing the midline....moving their whole bodies. Then at different times tell pupils to ‘change directions and circle’, ‘do lazy 8s to the left’, ‘slow down’ or ‘speed up’.

5–7s: After the Crazy windmills exercise ask pupils the following questions and listen to their responses, ‘Being a windmill takes some energy, doesn’t it?’, ’Where do you think windmills get their energy from?’, ‘What do we see and hear that tells us when the wind is strong?’.

7–11s: After the Crazy windmills exercise ask pupils to think about using wind as an alternative source of energy. (Keep Amazing Fact 1 secret at this point!) Do the pupils think it is a good idea? Why? Why not? Teacher can provide relevant feedback after the discussion, including Amazing Fact 1!

Wind power

Use a windy day to go outside with your pupils and observe what happens when the wind is strong. When you come back into the classroom ask your pupils aged 5–7 to record (through words and/or pictures) everything you have seen the wind affect, eg leaves on the trees.

For pupils aged 7–11 you could talk about which areas you think were the most windy and why. Then move on to discussing what areas the pupils think would be good locations for building a wind farm which leads on well to the activity below:

->7–11s: Where will it work?

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Curriculum changes

England

Schools in England will receive finalised documents about climate change for Key Stage 3 geography from September this year for planning purposes and this will be implemented in September 2008. This leaves Key Stages 1 and 2 to bring this and other issues affecting the world’s energy supply into existing curriculum planning.

Scotland

For science A Curriculum for Excellence will include programmes of study for (amongst other links to the planet) ‘Planet Earth – Sustainability and Biodiversity’.

Wales

In Wales the emphasis on thinking skills is intended to help pupils learn the necessary skills to cope in an ‘increasingly technological driven world’.

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Amazing facts

Did you know that...?

  • The UK is the windiest country in Europe, so much so that we could power our country several times over using this free fuel.
  • The blades on a modern wind turbine sweep 48 tons of air every second, the same weight as 10 elephants or five double-decker buses.
  • The largest wind turbine in the world is in Hawaii and has blades the length of a football field!
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© E.ON UK plc 2007

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