Responsible Energy Use (10th Grade)

9, 10, 11, 12

Raise the learners' awareness of responsible energy usage in their school. Learners propose ways to promote environmental stewardship of renewable and non-renewable energy sources.

PrintOne 50 Minute Class Period

The learner will:

  • examine current and future energy needs at their school.
  • identify and articulate the difference between renewable and non-renewable energy sources.
  • define environmental stewardship as it relates to the responsible use of our natural energy sources.
  • brainstorm creative and practical ways to reduce the demand for energy in the school.
  • work with others to choose the best plan of action to reduce energy use at school.
  • carry out the plan and promote it through advocacy.
  • Guest speaker or completed information on Handout One: What We'd Like to Know
  • Student access to the display board with several markers or appropriate writing instruments
  • Student copies of The Energy Kid's Page (graphics only) found at
  • Poster-making materials
Teacher Preparation 

Make arrangements to have an expert speak to the class (or provide information in writing) about energy resources and consumption at the school. This may be the building maintenance supervisor, an outside contractor, or a business administrator at the district level. Send a copy of Handout One: What We'd Like to Know to the expert in advance so he/she can look up the information, if necessary.

Home Connection 

Have students interview family members about their knowledge and experience with renewable energy sources. Students find out which renewable energy sources are used in homes, community, and places of employment. This provides an opportunity to discuss family values and raise awareness of the need for renewable energy sources.


Teacher Reference World Wide Energy Sources

Department of Education. Energy Basics: Scroll down to Energy Sources.

Earth Day Network


  1. (Teacher Note: Invite the person in charge of maintaining energy consumption data for your school to come and speak to your class or provide the information in writing. See Teacher Preparation.)

    Anticipatory Set: Before students enter the classroom, write the following instruction on the display board: "Write an ENERGY SOURCE on the board." As students enter the class, have them write on the board any energy sources they can think of (food, gas, oil, wind, etc.). When the students are seated, ask for volunteers to name examples from the generated list that describe the energy sources we use to run our homes, schools, communities, and machines. Highlight or circle these sources. Tell the class that today they will be talking about energy consumption at the school building.

  2. Distribute a copy of Handout One: What We'd Like to Know to each learner. Introduce the speaker and explain to the class that they should ask the questions on the handout and take notes. (Teacher Note: If you were unable to obtain a speaker, have the learners take notes while you answer the questions.) The students may ask additional questions or share additional insights about the school's energy use.

  3. Ask the students what they know about the differences between renewable and non-renewable energy sources. (Definition: A non-rewable energy source is one that gets used up and cannot be recreated in a short period of time. A renewable energy source can be replenished in a short period of time.)

  4. Have the learners name some non-renewable and renewable energy sources they think are used today. Follow up this discussion by distributing a printout of Energy Sources (about renewable and nonrenewable energy). Review the different energy sources found there. Discuss the pros and cons of using renewable and non-renewable resources.

  5. Define environmental stewardship as the careful and responsible management of our environment. Ask the students whose responsibility it is to care for the environment. Have them explain how environmental stewardship includes using less energy from non-renewable sources and more energy from renewable sources. Discuss their responsibility to the environment and their future as it relates to energy. Encourage the students to take personal action and be advocates to others for being responsible users of the earth's natural resources. Explain that advocacy is a form of philanthropy because they are giving their time and talent for the common good.

  6. Have the learners brainstorm ways to reduce energy consumption in the school, practice energy stewardship, and promote the use of renewable energy sources. Encourage creative thinking and a range of ideas at this point. Sometimes the best ideas are offshoots from unpractical ideas. They may get some ideas from the answers to question six on the handout.

  7. After brainstorming ideas, have the class select actions and projects to complete as a service project.

  8. Students create informational and persuasive posters to display around the school. The posters should encourage all students to get involved in promoting energy stewardship through school-wide conservation efforts for the benefit of all.


Learner participation in the group discussions is the basis for the assessment of this lesson.

Cross Curriculum 

Students create informational and persuasive posters to display around the school. The posters should encourage all students to get involved in promoting energy stewardship through school-wide conservation efforts for the benefit of all.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 01. Define Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark HS.1 Define philanthropy to include giving and sharing; volunteering; and private individual action intended for the common good. Explain how a volunteer individual/group can act for the common good.
    2. Standard DP 06. Role of Family in Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark HS.3 Identify how subgroups and families in society demonstrate giving, volunteering, and civic involvement.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 01. Self, citizenship, and society
      1. Benchmark HS.2 Discuss and give examples of why some humans will sacrifice for the benefit of unknown others.
      2. Benchmark HS.3 Give examples of human interdependence and explain why group formation is one strategy for survival.
      3. Benchmark HS.4 Describe and give examples of characteristics of someone who helps others.
    2. Standard PCS 03. Philanthropy and Economics
      1. Benchmark HS.11 Analyze the impact of volunteerism on the economy of communities.
      2. Benchmark HS.5 Give examples of stewardship decisions throughout history and in current events.
      3. Benchmark HS.9 Analyze a major social issue as a "commons problem" and suggest ways the civil society sector could help to resolve it.
    3. Standard PCS 07. Skills of Civic Engagement
      1. Benchmark HS.1 Utilize the persuasive power of written or oral communication as an instrument of change in the community, nation or the world.
      2. Benchmark HS.3 Participate in acts of democratic citizenship in the community, state or nation, such as petitioning authority, advocating, voting, group problem solving, mock trials or classroom governance and elections.
  3. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark HS.11 Discuss the concept of corporate citizenship and corporate responsibility for the common good.
      2. Benchmark HS.3 Describe and compare stewardship in a variety of cultural traditions.
      3. Benchmark HS.4 Cite historical examples of citizen actions that affected the common good.
      4. Benchmark HS.5 Compare and contrast opportunities for students to improve the common good to the opportunities available to students in other countries.
  4. Strand PHIL.IV Volunteering and Service
    1. Standard VS 01. Needs Assessment
      1. Benchmark HS.1 Identify a need in the school, local community, state, nation, or world.
      2. Benchmark HS.2 Research the need in the school, neighborhood, local community, state, nation, or world.
    2. Standard VS 02. Service and Learning
      1. Benchmark HS.1 Select a service project based on interests, abilities, and research.