Week 4: Currents

This week’s lesson takes us on a learning journey through currents. Let’s explore how these three topics above are all linked.

Let’s Begin…

What do these three topics have in common?

Take a few minutes and think about how these three topics are linked then discuss with your group.

Hopefully you came up with the idea that these topics all deal with power, or energy.

Current events tell us about what is going on around the world; these topics are powerful ideas or hot topics for discussion. It’s what drives us currently. Whether it is about politics, entertainment, technology, or science, we are always watching the news to find what is happening now around the world.

Ocean currents can be extremely powerful; they can turn over boats, destroy houses close to the ocean shore, and cause plenty of erosion. Some of these currents have a lot of potential energy that can cause a lot of damage or just carry garbage or debris all over the place and pollute our oceans.

Electrical Current is the flowing of the electrons or the electricity in motion. Current is the amount of electrons that can flow through certain material. The electrical current is measured in Amperes or AMPS.

The electrical wire is a conductor and it allows the electricity to pass through it. When the current flows through the wire it creates heat which is energy. Therefore the more current or AMPS, the more heat is associated with the wire.


Understanding Ocean Currents

Motion in the Ocean

Perpetual Ocean Video by NASA

What is Electric Current?


Going Green

Electrical Grid

BEST kit 2017

BEST Consumable Kit 2017

Making a connection – GOING EXTREME

We know that electricity gives energy to power our homes, and cities. We covered recycling in lesson 3 and learned all about alternative energy. Let’s focus on electricity and how countries around the world are finding really extreme and outrageous ways to generate electricity.

Start off by reading the article YOU JUST WONT BELIEVE THIS!   See how extreme you can be and find the most outrageous ways countries, cities, or towns around the world are converting junk into electricity.


Is it possible to use ocean current to provide us with electricity? According to BOEM (Beaureau of Ocean Energy Management)

The relatively constant flow of ocean currents carries large amounts of water across the earth’s oceans. Technologies are being developed so that energy that can be extracted from ocean currents and converted to usable power. Read this article Ocean Current Energy , and see what is been done to harness the energy from the ocean currents. What are some of the barriers? What has been accomplished? See if you can solve what needs to be done to make this all happen.


  1. Find a current event that deals with CURRENTS, or any topic discussed in this lesson. Please don’t use a current event listed in the resource list.
  2. Summarize the problem, the solution, and steps taken to fix the problem. If there is no solution write down what you think could be the solution.
  3. If there is a student with an article and no solution, consider having a discussion about it.

BEST Connection:

Look at your BEST kit and determine the size of the battery in Volts, the rating of the wire used, how much current is flowing through the wires to the motors and servos.

Community Connection: THE POWER GRID

  1. What is the POWER GRID? Most cities have several choices to make when choosing an electrical company. What choices do you have in your community? Find the electrical companies and see how they contribute to the power grid and what impact do they have on our economy.
  2. Is the power grid successful, or is it ancient? Are people trying to find a solution to improve it?

Bloom’s Taxonomy: add, create, explore, evaluate, generate, include, identify, list, observe, reflect, review, subdivide, use, and write

Workforce Skills: critical thinking, materials evaluation, reading comprehension, science, writing


Week 2: Natural Resources, Our ENERGY Sources

This week’s lesson will look at our natural resources and how we are using them for energy.

Let’s Begin…

So what are our natural resources, and why are they so important? Natural resources are materials from the Earth that are used to support life and meet people’s needs. Any natural substance that humans use can be considered a natural resource. Oil, coal, natural gas, metals, stone and sand are natural resources. Other natural resources are air, sunlight, soil and water. Animals, birds, fish and plants are natural resources as well. Take a look around you. You will probably see some of the earth’s natural resources right in front of your eyes. Natural resources provide us with everything we need to survive. We can’t study natural resources without learning about energy, because after all our natural resources provide us with energy. So, get ENERGIZED to learn about natural resources and energy.

BUT, will these resources be around forever? We need to stop and think about what we are doing to preserve our natural resources.


Renewable Energy 101

Clean Energy

Electric Cars

Renewable Energy

Apple or Android – I really don’t care

Non-renewable energy

Even the CIA is involved

Energy Transformations

BEST kit 2017


Look around you; make a list of all the things you see in your home that are made from natural resources. Keep this list close by because we will add to this list throughout this lesson.

As we navigate through CURRENT EVENTS, generate a chart and list words associated with the topics over the next several weeks. Be sure to add new words to your list each week.


Get clued on Natural Resources

Refer to the “Get Clued on Natural Resources” to get some background information and widen your knowledge before you move on.

Part 1 – Now that you know a little more about natural resources we can divide these resources into two main groups; Renewable and Non-Renewable.

Use this  Natural Resources page  to make a list of your natural resources and put them into the two different groups.

Part 2 – Alternative energy – we can’t survive without energy. Energy that we use for our homes, our cars, electricity, etc. comes from our natural resources. If some of our resources are running out then we need to find an alternative to provide us with the energy we need.

Make a chart listing all the types of energy we use and what is an alternative form of energy.


Try one of these topics below. If you are feeling ENERGIZED, then try both.

  1. If you could move to another country, what country would that be? Based on the Natural resources from that country, write a short essay describing why you would move there. Your essay must be based on the natural resources for that country. HINT ( the CIA is involved)
  2. Pick an alternative energy that would help your community thrive. You are the CEO of a company that provides that alternative energy. Write a speech that you will deliver to the city convincing them why they should use your company.

BEST Connection:

Your BEST kit contains many parts. Some of those parts are used to power the robot. That power is a form of energy. Look inside your kit and find the parts that are used to power the robot, directly or indirectly. Write down these parts and what type of energy they provide.

Community Connection:

In today’s modern world we use all types of energy to function. Some energy makes our lives more efficient, some energy is making our planet cleaner, and some energy is disappearing. What type of energy are you using in your homes or community? Look at how your city is taking care of our natural resources? Are there any special programs in place? Are they working with any organizations?


Think and Share (great for Middle School)

You have learned a lot about natural resources, types of resources, and all about energy. Now let’s look and see if we can find how energy is being converted from one form to another. Have a discussion and talk about the different ways, and even give examples that are around you. You can also then look at the BEST connection and talk about energy transformation in the BEST kit.

Bloom’s Taxonomy: add, create, explore, evaluate, generate, include, identify, list, observe, reflect, review, subdivide, use, and write

Workforce Skills: critical thinking, materials evaluation, reading comprehension, science, writing

Download a PDF version of this week’s lesson here