Our clean energy show & tell
Help the planet Enter the competition! Teachers, find out what you can do with your students!

Extended learning inquiry

The extended lesson plan is designed to explore the topic in detail.

View an extract of the plan below and download the full plan from the link on the right.

Explore Future Sparks, learn about the issues in depth, find out about the recent development, think through the issues, and plan how to communicate a message.

Step 1: Engage with the project

Climate change: the context (20 minutes)

Ask students to develop a concept map describing what they know about climate change, what it is, what it comprises, what it affects, its potential impacts on living things in a variety of ecosystems, and who and what produces emissions that can affect Earth's climate.

Share with students some facts about climate change as is currently understood. Refer to the links on the right.

Overview of the competition (5 minutes)

Refer to the Future Sparks competition website and explore the requirements to submit a competition entry with the class.

Create a retrieval chart on which to show collected information and ideas e.g. what's needed, resources, time lines, judging criteria, prizes etc.

Explanation of the learning program (10 minutes)

Explain to the class that they will be using a range of activities and resources to develop an understanding of 'a clean energy future' and lead to the formation of a 'big idea' to be submitted as a 3 minute 'show and tell' video competition entry.

View 'why we need clean energy' and inspiration pages for possible clean energy future solutions.

Renewable And Nonrenewable Energy Sources Watch video now Animation: Climate change, energy & action Watch video now Renewable Energy Watch video now The CO2 Connection Watch video now Electricity from all kinds of renewable sources Watch video now Picture a sustainable future Watch video now Picture the Future of Mobility Watch video now Bernie Hobbs, ABC science presenter, outlines what drives her love of  science. Watch video now Dr Geoff Garrett AO, Queensland's Chief Scientist, talks about what excites him about clean energy and science. Watch video now

Step 2: Explore a clean energy future

Investigate the clean energy map (40 minutes)

Using the Clean Energy Council's interactive renewable energy map, locate and find out about Australia's renewable energy power plants.

Energy everywhere (40 minutes)

Energy is big news in today's media, especially when it comes to its impact on the environment or sustainability. Whether it's about new types of solar cells or the opening of a wind farm, a debate over 'clean coal', or opinions on nuclear energy, it's easy to find stories covering our search for ways to provide our society with cheap, sustainable energy sources that reduce emissions to the atmosphere.

Brainstorm ideas with students covering what you already know about different energy technologies. Discuss what words such as ' renewable', 'low emission', 'clean' and 'sustainable' might refer to. Ask the students to use those keywords you come up with to do a media search over the following week to find examples of social media, newspaper clippings, magazine articles or stories on the television or radio covering current affairs in energy technologies that can address climate change.

With the students, arrnage these examples into categories. Some might be relevant to scientific research, for instance, while others are about politics or economics or are opinion pieces.

Find common words between them and list them in a 'common words' box.

Big science ideas (20 minutes)

Geoengineering (otherwise known as climate engineering) is a relatively new branch of science whic is focused on applying technology on a massive scale in order to change the Earth's environment. BRainstorm any known geoengineering technologies that are being increasingly promoted as a way to reduce the effects of global warming arising from greenhouse gas emissions.

Imagine (40 minutes)

Ask students to imagine that they were born today. In 20 years time, when they have grown into adulthood, many of the world's ecosystems will have changed. The downloadable lesson plan provides two scenarios, and questions for students to ponder.

Picture the future (20 minutes)

Explore how youth globally see climate change, low emission technologies and sustainable futures. Working in small groups, ask students to focus on the artwork from India, China, Brazil and Qatar. Have students distinguish between those which may stabilise and
reduce global emissions of CO2. See the 18th International Children's Painting Competition

Discuss how climate change, low emission technologies and sustainable futures messages are communicated within the artwork, asking students to focus on what they think the young artists are trying to say.

Engage them in a hypothetical continuation of the artists' stories, encouraging students to evaluate these strategies for coping with potential changes to the climate. In groups, students discuss the types of decisions needed if these preferable futures are to eventuate.

View videos (40 minutes)

View the Inspiration and Geothermal pages for possible sources of clean energy in the future, and see more inspiration about creative communication. Watch the youtube videos shown above.

Check out the '60 Second Science' videos created by students about energy:

How the sun emits energy

Elastic potential energy

Kinetic energy - primary school

Kinetic energy - high school

Learn about the latest clean energy science and the scientists involved (18 minutes)

Below is a selection of CSIRO podcasts on the subject of clean energy. These are audio recordings made by CSIRO scientists designed to keep everyone up to date on the latest scientific research in Australia. Listen to scientists from Australia's leading scientific and industrial research organisation discuss their work with the following downloadable mp3 files.

Podcasts are audio (or video) files that can be downloaded and played on a computer or transferred to a portable music device.

Climate change blowin' in the wind

Solving Australia's energy puzzle

Solar Power Tower

Growing beyond oil with biofuel

Australia's National Solar Energy Centre

Research what's new in the clean energy area (40 minutes)

Sustainability will certainly demand improvements to our current technology in order to reduce our reliance on non-renewable and non-recyclable resources. How we get our energy is equally as important as how we use it, which means we need innovative ways of harnessing those resources we have access to.

Invite students to download and read the articles about existing clean energy technology, emerging and new clean energy technologies from www.futuresparks.org.au

Engage students individually or in pairs to choose a topic and define their investigation as 'Sustainable Clean Energy Futures'. Explain to them that they are to research a topic of their choice and engage in an investigation that is related to their topic.

Explore futures ideas (30 minutes)

Take a 'futures walk' by imagining and envisioning clean energy options for the future. Talk about students about:

  • Possible futures
  • Probable futures, and
  • Preferable futures (hopes, dreams and visions).

Encourage students to formulate their own quesitons and then illustrate and describe their clean energy possible, probable and preferable future ideas.

For example:

  • A possible clean energy future incldues...
  • A probable clean energy future might include...
  • I hope a preferable clean energy future can include...

Discussing futures (15 minutes)

Ask students to talk about what are issues for them in relation to:

  • energy sources in the present
  • possible clean energy sources and
  • probable clean energy sources.

Expand on these thought and ask students what might be done about these issues. Synthesise ideas and write a recount of ideas collected.

PET recycling slowmation Watch video now

Step 3: Explanation

Restate the task (5 minutes)

Explain to the class that in pairs or small groups (4 people or less) their task is to prepare a 2 minute video (definitely no longer than 3 minutes).

If students do not want to submit a video, they can enter the persuasive writing competition.

The video should convey information about the:

  • drivers, risk and impacts of climate change on communities and ecosystems.
  • students understandings and imaginings for a clean energy future, drawing on existing technology as well as potential sources of clean energy and their applications
  • potential for young people to make an impact through practical everyday action

Decide on what to present and how to do so (10 minutes)

Re-state the purposes of the investigation and ask students to consider how they are going to bring their information together and present it so that the main points come across clearly. Model the construction of the story board genre. Students now use the information they have gether to construct a storyboard for the Future Sparks Clean Energy Show and Tell competition or a related piece of work of their choice. See here for ideas.

Check out (10 minutes)

Check out some amazing videos created by students in NSW public schools and focus on the video techniques used post creation of a storyboard. Similarly, view winning video entries in a Geoscience Australia video competition for ideas

Bringing it together (10 minutes)

Focus student's on

  • What we know;
  • What we want to find out;
  • What the classs now knows;
  • What other things we would like to find out.

Use 'What we know' as a source for class, small group discussion and use other prompts to plan the way forward.

Download the full Extended lesson plan in PDF format

The Competition
The competition

We asked Australian students to make a video or convince us in writing about their BIG ideas for a sustainable energy future.

Check out the fantastic videos we received, all about sustainable energy solutions!

For teachers

Explore the fascinating science edging us closer to low carbon living. This fun, flexible project includes easy-to-use ICT, oodles of resources and FREE lesson plans from CSIRO Education.

Links to Australian curriculum, plus NAPLAN rehearsal.

Find out more
Help the planet Become a future spark!