Power Up!

Power Up!


In this activity you'll learn more about different sources of energy, how we use them in our everyday lives, and the pros and cons of each type.


To start, go to and read Renewable Energy and then Nonrenewable Energy on the Energy Information Administration's Energy Kid's Page.

As you read, take notes so that you can answer these questions:

  • Which energy sources are renewable?
  • What does renewable mean?
  • Which energy sources are nonrenewable?
  • What does nonrenewable mean?
  • Is one type of energy better than the other?
  • Which energy sources do you think are the best to use?

In this next activity, you will "Power Up" a city using an online interactive. In the interactive, you will buy different energy sources, some renewable and some nonrenewable. You will have to keep an eye on your budget and how the energy sources you are buying have an impact on the environment.

Before you go power up your city, read Renewable Energy vs. Fossil Fuels to prepare for the task ahead. Fill in your Pros and Cons of Powering Up student sheet as you read.

Now, you’re ready to Power Up! your city. Go to the Power Up! interactive.

  1. Click the “?” button on the top left of the screen to learn how to play. Hit the “Back” button when you are finished.

  2. Now click the "!" button to read more about energy. Add to your pros and cons list from the reading you just did. Hit “Back” when you are done reading.

  3. To begin playing, pick one of the three plants at the top of the screen.

  4. You can scroll your mouse over each one to take a look at how much power you would be buying, the cost, and the environmental impact your purchase will have. On your student sheet, there is a place to keep track of these three things for each type of power plant.

    Try playing the first game by always picking the choice with the lowest environmental impact. For another game, always select cheaper choices. What happens?
  5. The game will automatically stop when you have negatively harmed the environment, run out of money, or powered up your city without doing either of these things.

  6. When you have powered up your city, you can try again by clicking on "Play Again" if you have time. Be sure to glance at the discussion points on your student sheet either before or during the interactive.

Knowledge Check

Now that you have tried powering a city with various types of power plants, you will need to decide on a combination that is best for the city. You will write a proposal intended to be read to the citizens of the city, which explains how their city will be powered. It’s important that the proposal explains why you made the power plant choices you did. Use your student sheet to gather information for your proposal.

This esheet is a part of the Power Up! lesson.

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Esheet Details