1st Grade

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Renewable Energy

ESSENTIAL QUESTION: Why is it important for us to save energy and consider 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:

Make a solar oven from a pizza box:

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, such as turning out the lights, using energy-efficient light bulbs.

Need more help?

Conserving water lesson plans:

Other ideas: 

  • Rain gardens
  • make signs to stop the drips
  • take showers
  • turn off the water while brushing teeth
  • install a rain barrel
An electricity-generating solar array like this one has less environmental impact than fossil and nuclear power plants, but there are two main reasons why the U.S. doesn’t use more renewable energy: renewable energy technologies are often more expensive and renewable resources are often geographically remote, meaning that building transmission lines to deliver power to large metropolitan areas is expensive.


What is solar energy?
What is hydroelectric energy?
Why should solar energy be considered an alternative to fossil fuels?
How is energy from many different sources transformed into electricity?
Your Electric Cooperatives


In first grade, students are introduced to the sun as a source of heat for the Earth. Here we have introduced the concept of capturing the sun’s energy to do work for us. Students also learn about the properties of water, including the fact that water flows downhill in our streams and rivers on its way to the sea. Therefore, we are providing links to lessons that introduce students to the concept of capturing the energy of the sun and moving water. On the page are links to lessons and activities to help children understand these resources, as well as energy efficiency ideas.



Standard 1.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.

1.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.

1.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 1.E.4:
The student will demonstrate an understanding of the properties and uses of Earth’s natural resources.

1.E.4A. Conceptual Understanding:
Earth is made of different materials, including rocks, sand, soil, and water. An Earth material is a resource that comes from Earth. Earth materials can be classified by their observable properties.

1.E.4B. Conceptual Understanding: Natural resources are things that people use that come from Earth (such as land, water, air, and trees). Natural resources can be conserved.

Performance Indicators:
Students who demonstrate this understanding can:

Obtain and communicate information to explain ways natural resources can be conserved (such as reducing trash through reuse, recycling, or replanting trees).


Standard 1.E.3:
The student will demonstrate an understanding of the patterns of the Sun and the Moon and the Sun’s effect on Earth.

1.E.3A. Conceptual Understanding:
Objects in the sky move in predictable patterns. Some objects are better seen in the day sky and some are better seen in the night sky. The Sun is a star that provides heat and light energy for Earth.