Science - 2018-19

6.2 - Sources of Energy

The student will investigate and understand basic sources of energy, their origins, transformations, and uses. Key concepts include

a)  potential and kinetic energy;

b)  the role of the sun in the formation of most energy sources on Earth;

c)  nonrenewable energy sources;

d)  renewable energy sources; and 

e)  energy transformations.

Bloom's Levels:  Analyze; Understand

Adopted: 2010


  • Energy can be found in many forms and is present in everything in the world.
  • Energy can be found in both renewable and nonrenewable resources. 

  • I can determine the energy a roller coaster has at the top of a hill and the energy it has as it travels down the hill.
  • I can explain how early settlers relied on the sun for energy before electricity.
  • I can suggest a way to heat my school in a way that meets its financial and energy needs.
  • I can suggest alternative ways to provide power to my school.
  • I can use sunlight to charge my phone.


The concepts developed in this standard include the following:

  • Potential energy is energy that is not “in use” and available to do work. Kinetic energy is energy that is “in use” — the energy a moving object has due to its motion. For example, moving water and wind have kinetic energy. The chemical energy in fossil fuels is potential energy until it is released.
  • Solar energy from the ancient past is stored in fossil fuels, such as coal, petroleum, and natural gas. Fossil fuels are rich in the elements carbon and hydrogen. These sources of energy take very long periods of time to form and once depleted, are essentially nonrenewable. Nuclear power is also a source of nonrenewable energy.
  • Many of Earth’s energy resources are available on a perpetual basis. These include solar, wind, water (hydropower, tidal and waves), biofuels and geothermal energy. Some energy sources can be replenished over relatively short periods of time. These include wood and other biomass. All are considered renewable.
  • Secondary sources of energy, such as electricity,  are used to store, move, and deliver energy easily in usable form.  Hydrogen is also a secondary source of energy, also called an energy carrier.
  • Thermal and radiant energy can be converted into mechanical energy, chemical energy, and electrical energy and back again. 


In order to meet this standard, it is expected that students will

a)  compare and contrast potential and kinetic energy through common examples found in the natural environment.

b)  design an application of the use of solar and wind energy.

     chart and analyze the energy a person uses during a 24-hour period and determine the sources.

     compare and contrast energy sources in terms of their origins, how they are utilized, and their availability.

c)  analyze and describe the transformations of energy involved with the formation and burning of coal and other fossil fuels.

d)  compare and contrast renewable (solar, wind, water [hydropower, tidal and waves], biofuels, geothermal, and biomass) and nonrenewable energy sources (coal, petroleum, natural gas, nuclear power).

c, d)  analyze the advantages and disadvantages of using various energy sources and their impact on climate and the environment.

         analyze and describe how the United States’ energy use has changed over time.

         analyze and describe sources of energy used in Virginia related to energy use nationally and globally.

e)  comprehend and apply basic terminology related to energy sources and transformations.

     create and interpret a model or diagram of an energy transformation.

     design an investigation that demonstrates how light energy (radiant energy) can be transformed into other forms of energy (mechanical, chemical and electrical)

c, d, e)  explain that hydrogen is not an energy source, but a means of storing and transporting energy.

             predict the impact of unanticipated energy shortages.


potential energy, kinetic energy, renewable resources, nonrenewable resources, energy transformation, geothermal energy, hydroelectric power, solar energy, tidal energy, fossil fuels, biomass, wind energy

Updated: Jun 29, 2018