Where Does Electricity Come From?

Where Does Electricity Come From?

Watch this brief, video picture of practice that captures everyday classroom life and provides real-life examples of how students learn and think about energy topics.

Grades

3 - 8

Subjects

Earth Science

Power lines run through our communities and cross our landscapes, but how often do we think about where these lines originate? While electricity runs into and around our homes, the power grid is not well understood. Electricity itself can be an abstract concept. It runs through wires and powers our electronics, but what is electricity and how is it generated? There are many complicated steps that go into producing electricity, starting with the initial energy source (fossil fuels, wind energy, and so on) that creates movement in a turbine or piston, which ultimately rotates the rotor in the generator. The movement of the rotor and stator leads to an electrical current being produced. Power lines carry this current to our communities. Communicating these steps effectively and helping students trace electricity from their homes to the source will make this system more visible to students.

Watch this video of 4th and 5th grade students in San Diego, California—a coastal community. The purpose of this classroom video is to listen to students talk about how electricity reaches homes and industry.

For additional classroom context, video analysis, and reflection opportunities, read the Picture of Practice page for "Where Does Electricity Come From?" in the Energy Potential Environmental Literacy Teacher Guide, page 36.

Media Credits

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Writers
Lindsey Mohan, Ph.D.
Ivan Salinas, B.S. Chemistry
Marcia S. Matz, M.A. Design
Jose Marcos-Iga, Ph.D. Natural Resources
Nicole D. LaDue, M.A.T. Earth Science Education
Tania T. Hinojosa, M.Ed. Educational Technology
Rachel J. Fisher, M.S. Biology
Designer
Cindy Olson
Editors
Kristen Dell, National Geographic Society
Lindsey Mohan, Ph.D.
Chelsea Zillmer
Educator Reviewers
Catie Boarts, Heal the Bay
Rachel J. Fisher
Meghan E. Marrero, New York State Marine Education Association (NYSMEA)
Marcia S. Matz
other
Last Updated

May 20, 2022

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