Electricity Activities

Conserving energy is the central theme of the Watt Watchers program, and one of the most tangible ways to save energy is by saving electricity. These activities include projects related to turning off the lights, monitoring computer power, and measuring and auditing consumption.
Illustrating Wind Energy

Wind is a renewable resource, which means that the resource replenishes itself faster than humans can use it. As long as the sun is still shining, wind will always be blowing somewhere on Earth.

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Searching for the Sun

The Sun is the ultimate source of energy for almost all processes on Earth, from weather and climate to fossil fuels to the energy students need to get out of bed or run around the track. This activity relies on deep questions and critical thought to trace the ultimate source of energy on Earth to the sun.

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Energy Technologies: Change Over Time

Despite advances, today the global economy consumes most of its energy through only four technologies: the steam turbine, gas turbine, gasoline engine and diesel engine. The most popular conversion device is the steam turbine.

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Energy Resources: Primary vs. Secondary

Primary energy sources include petroleum, natural gas, coal, biomass, flowing water, wind, and solar radiation. Those are the fuels that can be mined, reaped, extracted, harvested, or harnessed directly. Secondary energy cannot be harnessed directly from nature; rather, secondary energy is energy that has already been converted.

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Energy Resources: Solar

Solar energy represents a very small fraction of today’s energy mix, but also holds the greatest potential as an energy supply for the future. Used to generate heat and electricity, solar power is inexhaustible, clean, and free.

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Energy Resources: Geothermal Energy

The word “geothermal” means “heat within the earth” or “the earth’s heat”. Vents of steam exist naturally around the world, where steam seeps or shoots out of the ground. Creative individuals have been harvesting these steam vents for years.

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Energy Resources: Hydropower

Hydroelectric power generation is the most prominent form of renewable energy. As water flows downhill, its potential energy becomes kinetic energy, which turbines can convert into electricity.

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Energy Resources: Wind

Modern uses of wind are almost exclusively for generating electrical power, though some iconic windmills exist to this day, pumping water on ranches for livestock.

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Energy Resources: Biomass

The market adoption of modern forms of bioenergy, including liquid biofuels such as ethanol from energy crops, municipal solid waste, and biogas from decomposing organic matter, are all on the rise. And, just like the other fuels, bioenergy has its own set of advantages and drawbacks.

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Energy Resources: Nuclear

While nuclear materials have been part of the earth’s crust for millions of years, the modern history of harnessing nuclear energy for power generation is relatively short. Nuclear fission was first discovered in 1939, and the first controlled nuclear chain reaction took place in Chicago in 1942.

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