Integrating Energy, Equity, and Place in High School Physics


Energy Generation and Environmental Justice Unit

This unit was meant to go after a traditional conservation of energy unit (my students had not learned about work yet) and before or after a traditional electricity unit. The unit started with a conceptual understanding of electromagnetism. Students learn about the physics behind types of energy generation. We then did a debate on which type of energy Massachusetts should increase the use of. Students then researched local environmental justice issues and made posters about those issues and the physics behind those issues. Finally, students wrote letters to their legislators about a local bill or energy issue.

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Energy is a foundational concept of physics and plays an integral role in a web of sociocultural realities, economic issues, and public policies. The Energy and Equity Portal supports high school teachers in teaching a robust model of energy, grounded in the NGSS, and also intentionally constructed to support engagement with current sociopolitical issues.

Using the resources and community provided in the Portal, teachers explore energy learning as a means for promoting discussions of energy justice and energy equity globally and in our local communities. By developing a model of energy in physics that is fully aware of how science is sociocultural, teachers and students create science concepts informed by their cultural worlds and educational priorities. Check out the classroom-ready teaching tools and enjoy a dynamic and compassionate professional learning community!

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