The lessons in this unit were developed by teachers at Souhegan High School for junior/senior level Physics classes, to be taught during the first trimester of the 2016-17 school year. This unit culminates with small groups of students presenting their plans for the ideal power grid for the state of New Hampshire. While the anchor text and performance assessment may be specific to New Hampshire, texts specific to other regions are likely accessible through state universities, government websites and/or local publications, making this unit highly adaptable.
Physical Science
High School
Grade 11, Grade 12
Material Type:
Unit of Study
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Rebecca Hanna on Oct 27, 06:25pm

I enjoyed reading the anchor text. The text is reader friendly and the magazine format kept me reading! What a great way to start senior year, learning about energy and how much goes into charging their phones. Students need more chances to be exposed to how thing work that effect their lives. The unit also exposes them to many career choices that they may not realize. Many line workers are of retirement age and in the next few years their will be a shortage. This is an added benefit of the unit, job options. I like the student info graphics they demonstrate the knowledge gained and a suggested future option for the energy grid. This is an in-depth study, I think the students will enjoy this unit. I could also see it being used in other courses of study. Great job.

Lisa Petrie @Rebecca Hanna on Nov 06, 08:03am

Thanks so much, Rebecca! I think every aspect of this unit was eye-opening for the kids. Fuel sources for energy production, pipelines, a smart grid, etc., -- such a relevant topic in NH right now. We took the kids on a field trip to Granite Ridge Power Plant (natural gas), and the plant manager talked about career preparation for a future in energy production. It's surprising how few people it actually takes to operate this plant -- 25 total, and just three people can keep it up and running around the clock! It was great to hear him give the kids advice about technical and professional career training. Interesting stuff!

Helen Brock on Oct 21, 07:59am

I feel like everyone should complete this unit to understand energy production and costs. I appreciate the 'simplicity' of the EQ. I love the clarity of the rubric and how it relates to the standards. The breakdown of the levels in the rubric are concisely stated.
1. Anchor Text has a fun writing style and with the addition of the cartoons and graphs should keep students engaged.
Good TDQs
2. Infographic is a great hook to start the project. Like how information is compared to Anchor Text.
3. The supplementary texts are all graphic rich.
4. Breakdown of lessons supports understanding for final project completion.
5. Really like the LibGuide. I don't have a subscription but appreciated how all the information was provided to the students more concisely that adding to Google Classroom.

1. What is "claim evidence protocol"? Perhaps provide a descriptor of what's used at school.
2. Where is the "energy efficiency lab"? Did not see document. Found Energy Audit lab in LibGuide.
3. Only one online presentation format provided in LibGuide. Like how the presentation will be modeled.
4. SLO #4 states students will present to Local Government officials. Plans to present at a town meeting should be stated more clearly as a goal of project.

Robin Maloney on Oct 20, 07:57pm

Great topic! We touched on this briefly in our investigation of corporate responsibility to the environment, learning that as a country we've shifted to natural gas to produce our electricity from oil, coal and nuclear just a little over a decade ago. Really like your various texts, especially the anchor text and first supporting one. Quite scary to know we'll be losing more than 4K megawatts of power in 2018!

Very thorough coverage of the topic with graph-reading, looking at one's own electric bill and such. Quite a coup to get author Sam Evans-Brown. Just checked his work at NHPR.org. I'm sure your students were impressed and engaged. Kudos!

Lisa Petrie @Robin Maloney on Nov 06, 07:58am

Thanks so much, Robin! And I agree, we have some serious grid issues to address. We took the kids on a field trip to Granite Ridge Power Plant (natural gas) and it was pretty fascinating. The plant manager jokingly (but maybe not?) suggested he might as well put some solar panels on the plant's massive roof, because we're surely heading toward a future with more renewables. I think almost every aspect of this unit was eye-opening for the kids!

Kevin Lavigne on Oct 09, 10:44am

This is a very timely project and we move to more consumption of electricity, all of our mobile devices, homes and cars, and storage of this source of energy!

There are two resources I recent encountered the you might find useful for this project are:

1. A new book by titled: The Grid, by Gretchen Bakke
2. A FRESH AIR interview of Gretchen Bakke (http://www.npr.org/2016/08/22/490932307/aging-and-unstable-the-nations-electrical-grid-is-the-weakest-link)

Lisa Petrie @Kevin Lavigne on Nov 06, 07:49am

Thanks so much, Kevin! I'll pick up a copy of the book, and include a link to the interview in our text set. Much appreciated! :-)

Charles Swift @Kevin Lavigne on Oct 12, 10:40am

Thank you for the resource recommendations. We will check them out.

Marlene Damery on Oct 05, 06:59pm

I love the LibGuide created for this lesson. It is well organized and seems to give students all the information they need: visual presentation resources, vocabulary, etc. As a teacher, I like the different formats that were incorporated into this lesson, such as the info graphics, understanding your electric bill, and videos. There are many activities and discussions that lead up to the final project. I can see the support given to the students so that they are prepared when they create their project.
Great job on this. I can't wait to read reflections on the lesson and project samples.

Marlene Damery @Marlene Damery on Oct 05, 07:12pm

I noticed the Power Grid blog on the LibGuide. I might have missed this in the lesson which explains this... What is this about? It looks interesting.

Katie Gadwah on Oct 01, 12:54pm

I like the way that the lesson not only looks at the power grid but also integrates student impact on load through examining usage. I agree that the unit could be modified to apply to any geographic area by finding local resources. I also like how comprehensive the unit is, including an author visit and student visit to a power plant. I thought your pacing and supporting materials were nicely planned.

If I had to make a suggestion, the only thing I noticed was in the formatting. Editing the unit sections to make them headers - but that is really a stretch.

Lisa Petrie @Katie Gadwah on Oct 05, 10:18am

Thanks, Katie! Editing suggestions are always welcome. Thanks for the content feedback, too! The kids are having a great time with this unit. :-)


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