3rd Grade

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ESSENTIAL QUESTION: Why is it important for us to save energy and study alternative energy sources?

Energy Efficiency

The cheapest and cleanest energy is that which is never generated and used.  A 2007 study conducted by Central Electric Power Cooperative, the wholesale power aggregator for South Carolina’s electric cooperatives, showed that hundreds of megawatts of generation can be avoided through improved efficiency.  Avoiding use means that less generation of any kind must be constructed and operated.

Here are some ideas for helping your students use energy efficiently:

Touchstone Energy has developed a kit that is free for teachers and encourages kids and their families to use electricity wisely. Download the lesson plans at the website below or contact your local co-op to obtain the kit.

Other Ideas:

Make energy efficiency behavior charts where the children can put a check mark every time they do something to save energy. For instance, put a line on the chart for a family bike ride instead of a car ride, or remembering to turn off a light switch when leaving a room. Other ideas include asking parents to turn down the thermostat a few degrees and taking short showers instead of baths.

Create energy-saving posters to post at home or at school illustrating ways people can save energy in their homes or at school, such as turning out the lights or using energy-efficient light bulbs.

Need more help?

Coal Train
This train is carrying coal to a power plant.


What is coal energy?
How does coal energy affect the way we live?
How is energy from many different sources transformed into electricity?
Why is coal use controversial?
What is clean coal?
Your Electric Cooperatives


In South Carolina more than 80% of co-op electricity is generated by coal plants. Controversy surrounds the use of coal because of EPA regulations and environmental concerns. Students in South Carolina need to understand the pros and cons of using coal.



Standard 3.P.1:
The student will use the science and engineering practices, including the processes and skills of scientific inquiry, to develop understandings of science content.

3.P.1A. Conceptual Understanding:
The practices of science and engineering support the development of science concepts, develop the habits of mind that are necessary for scientific thinking, and allow students to engage in science in ways that are similar to those used by scientists and engineers.

3.P.1B. Conceptual Understanding:
Technology is any modification to the natural world created to fulfill the wants and needs of humans. The engineering design process involves a series of iterative steps used to solve a problem and often leads to the development of a new or improved technology.


Standard 3.E.4:
The student will demonstrate an understanding of the composition of Earth and the processes that shape features of Earth’s surface.

3.E.4A. Conceptual Understanding:
Earth is made of materials (including rocks, minerals, soil, and water) that have distinct properties. These materials provide resources for human activities.
Performance Indicators: Students who demonstrate this understanding can:

Obtain and communicate information to exemplify how humans obtain, use, and protect renewable and nonrenewable Earth resources.

3.E.4B. Conceptual Understanding:
Earth’s surface has changed over time by natural processes and by human activities. Humans can take steps to reduce the impact of these changes.

Performance Indicators: Students who demonstrate this understanding can:

Define problems caused by a natural event or human activity and design devices or solutions to reduce the impact on the environment