In this activity, you will investigate how electrical energy can be produced from a variety of energy sources and then transformed to almost any other form of energy.
What is energy and where does it come from? Go to and read Forms of Energy, including the page you land on and Laws of Energy and answer these questions on your Transforming Energy student sheet based on your reading:
- How do scientists define energy?
- What is the “law of conservation of energy”?
- According to the law of conservation of energy, energy that is used does not disappear. What happens to energy?
- What does it mean when we say that energy transformations are not “efficient”?
- What is the difference between renewable and nonrenewable energy resources?
- Why are solar energy and wind energy considered renewable energy resources?
- Why are petroleum, coal, and natural gas considered nonrenewable energy sources?
- Why is electricity considered a secondary energy source?
- In the United States, what is the number one energy source for making electricity?
- Is that a renewable or nonrenewable energy source?
What is electricity? How is it generated or formed? How does it travel to our homes? Read the information at What Is Electricity? and answer the questions to find out! Read the first page, What is Electricity?, and then click on "Next" and read the next page, Where Electricity Comes From.
- What are the three basic parts to an atom?
- How is electricity created?
- How do power plants generate electricity?
- Draw and label the steps that electricity takes to go from the power plant to your home.
Now you will read about how electricity is generated using coal. Go to Converting Coal into Electricity. Once you have read through this resource, use the information in it to complete the chart on your student sheet.
Read and observe the How does electricity work? interactive. Then answer these questions:
- Explain what electricity is and how it flows through a wire.
- What is an electrical current?
Click on the arrow and the page will go to a table of contents titled “Welcome to Electricity!” Click on the second option, “Heat, Light and Motion.” Answer these questions:
- What energy transformations take place when electrical energy is applied to light bulbs?
- Why is some of the electrical energy converted to heat and not all of it to light?
Continue reading and select “Electricity Scavenger Hunt.” On a piece of paper, make a table with three columns as described online. Complete the first column by adding at least seven more items that use electricity around you. Then think about the power source and how the energy is transformed into different types of energy.
This esheet is a part of the Transforming Energy lesson.