Lesson Plan Two
ENERGY CHOICES FOR A NEW COMMUNITY
GRADES: Seven to ten
TIME: 120 minutes
PURPOSE: To have students gain an understanding of the variety of ways that energy is produced.
OBJECTIVE: To research the variety of energy choices currently available to communities. To research and assess the advantages and disadvantages associated with those choices.
Research materials on energy production (here are some good Internet web sites.)
Explain to your students that a new community is being developed to accommodate a new mining project. Your students are going to be building various community facilities, including a new school, hospital, etc. in an uninhabited area, and will have to provide the electricity and heating for the community and the mine. There is a nearby First Nations reserve that has a limited electricity supply. Discuss some of the ways the energy may be generated: coal, oil, natural gas, hydroelectric power, geothermal power, nuclear power, solar power, wind.
Have students list on the board the economic, environmental and physical advantages and disadvantages of some of the energy-production methods just mentioned.
Divide your class up into small groups. Assign each group one of the energy-production methods discussed. Their assignment is to report on the economic, environmental and physical advantages and disadvantages. Also, they are to determine what is viable in Saskatchewan. Older students can consider what impact does abundant, affordable energy have on the economy of a province, specifically secondary industry, such as manufacturing and processing.
In the first part of the presentations, student groups will present their reports on each energy option. In the second part, a town hall discussion will take place. Some students will be on an "Energy Options Panel", representing stakeholders in the community. They will make the decision about which option will be chosen. They could represent the crown corporations, the mining company, elected officials from the town, and so on. They will receive presentations from various concerned groups, such as farmers, economic development groups, environmental organizations, First Nations from a nearby reserve, etc.
Allow time afterwards for discussion about student arguments, focusing on the merits and the flaws of their arguments. Focus on helping students understand the complexity of making such a decision. Reinforce the idea that there is no perfect decision. Decisions of these kinds must take into account all points of view. Discuss the pros and cons of a consensus decision making process.