WSU Whatcom County Extension

Stewardship is Where You Are

Electrical Entrepreneurs

The Big Picture

Long before electricity was discovered and harnessed, humans used the power of running water and wind.

Watermill and Windmill

Using simple gears, these old fashioned mills were used to cut lumber or grind corn. When the electrical generator was conceived, the mills were adapted to spin generators.

Electricity is not considered a non-renewable or renewable resource. It is called a secondary resource because it is generated through mechanical means. Inventions throughout time have helped us create and utilize electrical energy, and now it seems we could scarcely exist without it. One of the best things about electricity is that we can use our natural renewable resources to generate it. Solar power, wind power and water power can move turbines that spin electrical generators. It is a fairly simple operation which has vast reaching consequences.

Explorer - Skill Level: One Engager - Skill Level: Two Citizen Scientist - Skill Level: Three


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Activity #1:

Objective: Evaluate the pros and cons of hydro-electric power, promote water conservation

Science Skills: Question, Research a Problem, Evaluate, Compare/Contrast

Life Skills: Communication, Wise Use of Resources, Responsible Citizenship

Preparation Activities: none

Materials Required: internet, library

Hydro-electric dams, while promoted as a “clean” energy source (when compared to fossil fuels) do not come without their own set of issues. Have teens search for information related to impacts of utilizing hydro-electric dams. Then research the impacts of utilizing other energy sources, particularly those that are based in non-renewable fossil fuels. They can also compare various strategies for mitigating the impacts of dams.

Activity #2:

Objective: promote water conservation

Science Skills: Research a Problem, Evaluate, Compare/Contrast

Life Skills: Wise Use of Resources, Responsible Citizenship

Preparation Activities: none

Materials Required: internet, library

The need to create electricity is basically driven by consumer demand. Were there not so great a demand to use electricity, would there be less need to produce it? What can we do to decrease our consumption of electrical energy, and will this help decrease the impact on our natural resources?

Ask the Right Questions: Give teens plenty of time to discuss the issues and encourage them to devise ways to take action based on their decisions.




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WSU Whatcom County Extension, 1000 North Forest Street, Suite 201, Bellingham, WA 98225, (360) 778-5800, Contact Us