8th Grade

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Generating Power

ESSENTIAL QUESTION: How is electricity generated in South Carolina and what are our renewable alternatives?

The Three-Legged Stool

3-legged_stoolThe state’s electric cooperatives view the power they provide their member-consumers as a three-legged stool. Electric power from co-ops must be:

  1. affordable
  2. reliable
  3. environmentally responsible

As with the stool, take away any one of those qualities, and the model collapses. Co-ops do not generate their own power.  They purchase it from entities that generate power from a variety of sources, including coal, natural gas, nuclear, hydroelectric and, yes, renewable sources.  The largest power supplier, Santee Cooper, includes in its portfolio significant generation from landfill gas and recent investment in additional wind and solar resources.

Santee Cooper’s Skystream 3.7 wind turbine spins in the North Myrtle Beach breeze as it is pressed into service on Nov. 30, 2010. It's the state's first utility wind turbine. PHOTO BY JIM HUFF/SANTEE COOPER


What are renewable energy resources?
What are non-renewable energy sources?
Your Electric Cooperatives


We need to understand the truth about energy in South Carolina–how it is generated and the possibilities going forward. Middle school students in the Palmetto State learn about electricity and the differences between renewable and nonrenewable resources. They are also beginning to think critically and sharpen their problem-solving skills. Engaging middle school students in this topic can connect their problem-solving skills to real world applications.



Standard 8.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.

8.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.

8.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 8.E.5:
The student will demonstrate an understanding of the processes that alter the
structure of Earth and provide resources for life on the planet.

8.E.5C. Conceptual Understanding:
Humans depend upon many Earth resources – some renewable over human lifetimes and some nonrenewable or irreplaceable. Resources are distributed unevenly around the planet as a result of past geological processes.

Performance Indicators:
Students who demonstrate this understanding can:

Obtain and communicate information regarding the physical and chemical properties of minerals, ores, and fossil fuels to describe their importance as Earth resources.