In this hands-on activity, students will conduct a simulation of resource usage. How long the supply lasts depends on the ratio of renewable and non-renewable resources.
- Copies of worksheets (in attached lesson plan) - 1 per group of 2-3 students
- 1-2 packages dry white baby lima beans
- 1-2 packages dry kidney beans
- Small snack size ziplock plastic baggies (30)
- Photos of renewable energy sources
- Solar panels
- Wind turbines
- Photos of non-renewable energy sources
- Natural gas
- Print off examples of both renewable and non-renewable energy sources. Laminate or put in page protectors.
- Print off enough copies of the worksheets to give each group of 2-3 students a copy.
- In 15 ziplock bags, add 80 red (non-renewable) and 20 white (renewable) beans. Shake to mix up the bag.
- In the other 15 ziplock bags, add 70 red (non-renewable) and 30 (renewable) beans. Shake to mix up the bag.
What presenters do
- Ask visitors the Thinking Questions
- Demonstrate two-three rounds of taking the beans out of the bag, recording results on the worksheet, and replacing the renewable (white) beans
- Group students into groups of 2-3
- Before students move on to the second bag (70/30 ratio), have them record a prediction of the total number of beans that will be left in the bag after round 10
What visitors do
- Without looking, draw out of the 80/20 ratio bag ten beans and separate the red (non-renewable) and white (renewable)
- Record the number of red and white beans on the given worksheet
- Set the red beans aside (since they are non-renewable) and return the white beans (since they are renewable) into the bag.
- Repeat for 10 rounds
- Calculate totals
- Record a prediction of the total number of beans that will be left in the bag after round 10 for the 70/30 ratio bag
- Repeat process of drawing and recording for the 70/30 ratio bag
- How many decades did it take to "run out" of renewable energy?
- When the non-renewable energy ran out, was there enough energy to meet the next decade's energy needs (10 beans)?
- How can we as a society make our energy supply last longer?
- How do we use energy in our everyday lives?
- What is our impact on both non-renewable and renewable resources?
- How can you as an individual reduce your usage of non-renewable resources?
- How can you help you home, school, or community reduce their usage of non-renewable resources?