In this Flipside Science unit, designed for a middle school audience, we'll explore environmental issues related to energy use and conservation. On this page you'll find short videos and associated lesson plans connected to the Next Generation Science Standards with an emphasis on human impacts on Earth's systems.
Videos in This Unit
What's the Deal With Fossil Fuels?
Most energy in the US is produced by fossil fuels like coal and natural gas. How does this impact our planet?
Buses and Biofuels: Sustainable Transportation
You can reduce your carbon footprint just by changing the way you get around!
Renewable Energy: Clean Tech Solutions
Explore various innovative renewable energy technologies that could lead us to a brighter future.
Renewable Energy: Powered by Poop
Find out how a dairy farm is using a methane digester to turn cow poop into electricity.
Nuclear Energy: Is Fission the Future?
Alternative energy sources are crucial for our future. But will nuclear fission be part of this future?
Your Digital Footprint: Data and Energy Use
Did you know that sending emails, texts, and Snapchats requires energy? What's your digital energy footprint?
The Chemistry of Clothes
What is the difference between synthetic and natural materials? How are synthetic materials made?
How to Measure a Changing Climate
How do we know that the climate is changing? Climate scientists will give you the inside scoop.
The Climate is Changing but How's the Weather?
What's the difference between weather and climate? Learn how we know and why it's important.
Unit Lessons in Sequence
The Heat is On: Cause and Effect and Climate
Students will practice distinguishing between correlation and causation within the context of climate change.
Building Better Buses: Transportation Design Challenges
Challenge your students to design an efficient bus system for a fictitious town.
Optimal and Sustainable: Renewable Energy Revamp
What factors and constraints do we have to consider when designing a renewable energy plan for a community?
Nuclear Energy: What's Your Reaction?
In this lesson, students explore the benefits and drawbacks of nuclear energy to decide if it's worth the risk.
View Unit Summary
Download an overview of the course, complete with connections to the NGSS.
Science Texts for Close Reading
Your students can evaluate some of the energy technologies introduced in this unit, like geothermal and solar.
Return to Homepage
All units in this series focus on human impacts on Earth's systems.
Check out all units in this series:
Hear what teachers have to say about Academy professional development and our educational products.