Create and share a new lesson based on this one.

About TED-Ed Originals

TED-Ed Original lessons feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed original? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Educator Joshua M. Sneideman, Erin Twamley
  • Editor Jamie Vernon
  • Director Marc Christoforidis
  • Narrator Addison Anderson


Additional Resources for you to Explore
Energy Literacy: Essential Principles and Fundamental Concepts for Energy Education
Want to know more about the seven Energy Principles? Download the framework today or order it for your educators, school or organization. The framework is intended foranyone involved in energy education from K-Gray and is meant to inform the improvement and development of energy curriculum to more broadly cover the Fundamental Concepts. Visit the Energy Literacy Website to learn more about Energy Literacy efforts including workshops, webinars and trainings for those interested in learning ways to apply and use the framework. More here.

The Energy 101 videos series are available on YouTube for you to use in your classroom today. These short introductory films provide an overview of renewable technologies. These videos were made by the U.S. Department of Energy.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) has an Energy Kids site and Energy Explained site that are great nonpartisan sources for up-to-date energy facts and data on the entire range of energy topics. Do you understand where your gasoline comes from, what determines the price of electricity, or how much renewable energy we use? If not, you're not alone. Check out these resources with your students to explore more about energy.

Buildings, Industry, Transportation & Electricity Scenarios Tool
The Buildings Industry Transportation Electricity Scenarios (BITES) tool is an interactive framework that lets users explore the energy and carbon implications of altering the current U.S. energy profile. The tool allows users to implement scenarios and adjust electricity generation, building standards, industry and transportation sector policies to compare outcomes to baseline reference cases. This tool allows groups to see how each sector is impacted and understand real reference cases and policy changes. For example, what is the actual savings for the US, if we had a larger percentage of energy coming from renewable sources? Let your students explore today with BITES and see the Instructor and Student Guides. Please note: Students and teachers will need to create a free account with an email address.

EPA Zipcodes
Do you know where your electricity comes from? Most of us don’t, although the primary energy source powering our electricity in the US continues to be coal. Yes, that black smelly coal. Have students explore where their electricity comes from using the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Power Profiler. This online interactive tool allows you to enter in a zip code, identify your utility provider and instantly get interactive reports on your electricity source(s). Have students explore their city, neighboring counties and state data.

Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network (CLEAN): Are you an Energy Efficienct Consumer?
Focused on light pollution and the night sky this activity requires about 90 minutes to complete. Students take that energy knowledge to the next level, thinking about and impacting energy related behavior. This activity has students explore light pollution and the night sky from a local to regional to national to world perspective. Students examine night light levels and then track their own energy use to explore how choices impact the carbon footprint. Note: This activity requires a computer.

TuVaLabs: Earth’s Overdrawn Account
Have students that want to dig deep into energy data? Look no further than the “Earth’s Overdrawn Account” dataset available with interactive online tools to have students create pie charts, scatter plots, bar graphs and to explore data connections. This dataset features the production and consumption of oil, natural gas and coal from 1980 to 2012 and the global population. Students can identify trends and correlations by exploring this dataset. Use this interactive dataset to have students form research questions and answer their own curiosity. Provide your student and teacher activities back to help others create a lesson on TuVaLabs. Please note: Students and teachers will need to create a free account with an email address. Students will need access to a computer(s). is an online collection of Science and Math Resources from National Science Foundation, Department of Energy, Science Museums and other collections. Search for Energy Literacy activities based on each of the 7 Principles.

Connecting with Ecology

Explore the First Law of Ecology: Everything is connected to everything else through the "7 Billion” Video by National Geographic and Concept Maps. This lesson focuses on highlighting Energy Literacy Principles 4, 6, and 7 that focus on the relationship of energy knowledge and consumption to communities. To help students make the connection of energy to communities, have students consider how aspects of our natural environment and human society are connected by watching the “7 Billion” video following the Energy Literate video.
Teded square logo
Lesson Creator
New York, NY