Reflection: ELL Students Renewable and Non-Renewable Energy Sources - Section 1: Engage


This lesson is linked to my lesson Potential and Kinetic Energy Transfers where we examine energy transfers.

I start with a pre-test entititled, "Here's What I Know." I never call it a pre-test because of the emotional stigma that tends to disengage students. The pre-test helps me understand who has prior knowledge of energy resources and the difference between renewable and non-renewable.  I also like to assess vocabulary. Many of my students are social science experts. Their families watch the news and understand many energy issues. By offering a pre-test, I can start to plan differentiated activities. 

The pre-test is deliberately open-ended and I have played around with the format. I have found that the students who know most about an energy source, want to tell me they know it. I do not demand complete sentences, I demand complete ideas. I will walk around and assess as the students are working. I'll ask them to tell me more if I feel unclear about what they know. I have even asked, "Are there special words that go with that energy source?" I ask them to make up something if they don't know because some time they really do know something but they do not have the confidence in their answer.

Here’s What I Know

Explain what you know about the energy sources below. Include how the source produces energy (the energy transfers), what are advantages, and what are some disadvantages. If you don’t know an answer, make up something. 


Solar Energy (Photovoltaic)

Solar Energy (Thermal)

Wind Energy

Nuclear Energy



Natural Gas



Hydro-Electric (Fresh Water)

Hydro-Electric (Ocean)

  Pre-Tests: Assessing for Differentiation
  ELL Students: Pre-Tests: Assessing for Differentiation
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Renewable and Non-Renewable Energy Sources

Unit 3: Energy Sources
Lesson 2 of 3

Objective: SWBAT describe the difference between renewable energy and non-renewable energy.

Big Idea: What is the best energy source? Can renewables be the future?

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