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Guide to Energy Sources

School: Santa Fe School for the Arts & Sciences

City/State: Santa Fe, NM

Grade(s): 3, 4

Format(s): Children's book

Subject(s): English Language Arts, Science and Technology, Visual Arts

Project Overview

This guide was created by 3rd and 4th grade students at the Santa Fe School for the Arts and Sciences, in Santa Fe, New Mexico, as part of a learning expedition on energy sources and alternative energy. 

Students studied all forms of energy and created a book for younger children. Their study was not directed through a particular point of view or to promote a particular energy source; it was meant to truly introduce students to all of the different possibilities and environmental implications for generating energy.

Their study included fieldwork to sites that produce energy and work with local experts.

Though largely text-based, this guide also includes black and white and color drawings.

To convey complicated topics to younger children, these students wrote very clear statements about what they had learned. 

How This Project Can Be Useful

  • Highlights an example of how elementary students can investigate a complex topic.
  • An important topic in many standards addressed here in a productive way.
  • It was important that these students learned about energy from a neutral perspective – not that some forms were bad and others were good. This created a foundation upon which future questions about energy could rest.
  • Highlights the value of having students create a book for other students to explain their understanding simply and clearly in their own language, rather than to write an artificial “report” for a teacher audience, which can be largely copied from other sources.

Common Core State Standards

Standard Long Term Learning Target
  • I can describe steps in a procedure, in the order they should happen.
  • I can use information from the words to understand informational texts.
  • I can explain the main points in a historical, scientific, or technical text, using specific details in the text.
  • I can explain how visual or graphic information helps me understand the text around it.
  • I can write an informative/explanatory text.
  • I can conduct a research project to become knowledgeable about a topic.
  • I can conduct a research project to become knowledgeable about a topic.
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