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.


1-PS4-2. Make observations to support an evidence-based claim that objects in darkness can be seen only when illuminated by light sources.

PS4.B: Electromagnetic Radiation Objects can only be seen if light is available to illuminate them or if they give off their own light.

1-PS4-3. Plan and conduct an investigation to determine the effect of placing objects made with different materials in the path of a beam of light.

PS4.B: Electromagnetic Radiation Light travels from place to place

1-ESS1-1. Use observations of the sun, moon, and stars to describe patterns that can be predicted.

ESS1.A: The Universe and Its Stars Patterns of the motion of the sun, moon, and stars in the sky can be observed, described, and predicted.

1-ESS1-2. Make observations at different times of year to relate the amount of daylight to the time of year.

ESS1.B: Earth and the Solar System Seasonal patterns of sunrise and sunset can be observed, described, and predicted.