Renewable vs Non renewable Resources
1. Students will be able to know the difference between renewable and
2. Understand that energy including oil, coal, gas, and peat are non-renewable.
3. Understand that energy sources including wind solar biomass and water are
4. Understand that nonrenewable resources are made at a much slower rate than
Electronic device that plays music
Large picture of oil rig, wind turbine, solar panel, wood, water (enough for each
student in the class).
You are buying a new car. The dealer shows you two cars using different energy
sources. One car runs on gasoline. The other car is solar powered.
1. Which car would be a better choice for the environment?
2. Explain your choice. Try and use the words a) renewable resource, and b)
Ask the students what a natural resource is. Go over the answer and write it on the
board. Next, have the students get into groups and write a list of all the natural
resources they can think of. Ask each group for their list and write the classroom
list on the board. Next, begin the activity.
Musical Chair Resource Game
This game is very similar to musical chairs. Instead of having the students having to
sit in chairs when the music stops, have them stand on a picture of a nonrenewable
energy source (in this case - oil rig).
The game starts off in the year 2010 with everyone using a nonrenewable source of
energy. Each person starts with his or her own share of oil. While the music is
playing, remove 2-3 rigs. The students that are left without a rig sit down.
Tell the students they have run out of oil. Ask them how they would approach this
dilemma. Ask them leading questions like ‘You have used up the oil to heat your
house. What other energy sources could you use to now heat your house?’ The
answer could then be wood, or solar energy. You then hand them a picture of a
renewable energy source.
Have the game continue on in this fashion. Each time the music stops explain that
time has moved forward. Have 5 to 10 year intervals during each round of music.
The game will finish when only 1 student is left on an oil rig and the rest are on
renewable energy sources.
Go back to the list the students originally made of natural resources. You can now
make a chart and put them in renewable vs. nonrenewable categories.
Also, create a timeline on the board and discuss how oil is formed and how long it
takes to form. Talk about a few of the renewable energy resources that are available
and discuss how long these take to form. This will give the students an
understanding of how nonrenewable resources are still being made, but are being
made at a much slower rate then renewable resources.
Also, talk about how each energy source affects the environment. When using gas,
coal, or oil, you release many pollutants into the environment. Discuss how
renewable resources are ‘cleaner’ for the environment. Ask leading questions such
as, ‘Do you think using a solar panels release harmful toxins into the environment?’
or ‘Does using wind turbines for electricity create a waste product?’
This can also lead to a discussion about
the pros and cons of renewable vs. nonrenewable resources,
what implications this has for the future
how important renewable resources is and will be in the future.
Two businesses are moving into the area where you live. You are able to vote on
which business you want in your town. One uses energy from oil and the other uses
energy from wind.
1. Which business would be better for the environment in your town?
2. Explain your answer using the words renewable resource and non-