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MIT Environmental Solutions Initiative


9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


Science, Earth and Space Sciences

Resource Types

  • Podcasts, 11 minutes, 50 seconds
  • Lesson Plans
  • Activity - Classroom
  • Worksheets

Regional Focus

Global, North America, United States



Wind, Solar, and Climate Change

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  • This resource describes the benefits and challenges of wind and solar power, the basics of wind and solar, and how both have become much more energy efficient, reliable, and cost-competitive. 
  • An educator guide is included with discussion questions, class activities, and student readings. 
Teaching Tips


  • The materials included make it easy for educators to adapt this resource for use in many subject areas.
  • The maps of where solar and wind are the most plentiful in the United States could be great for students learning geography.

Additional Prerequisites

  • The podcast uses some vocabulary terms such as kinetic energy, electric grid, and transmission infrastructure.


  • Try having students conduct the energy storage research project as an extension activity. 
  • Check out the "dive deeper" tab of the podcast for more resources related to wind and solar technologies.
  • The graphs could be used in math and science classes for lessons about dependent and independent variables.
  • Other resources that could support this resource include this e-book about renewables and this lesson plan about renewable energy sources.
Scientist Notes
This resource includes a podcast in which an MIT expert is interviewed and presents an overview of wind and solar renewable technologies, and the ways in which costs are calculated. This resource covers a wide range of topics, including energy storage, consumer demand, and specific solar and wind technologies. A transcript and educator's guide, along with additional resource links, are provided. This resource is recommended for teaching.
  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • HS-ESS3-2 Evaluate competing design solutions for developing, managing, and utilizing energy and mineral resources based on cost-benefit ratios.
      • HS-ESS3-4 Evaluate or refine a technological solution that reduces impacts of human activities on natural systems.
    • ETS1: Engineering Design
      • HS-ETS1-3 Evaluate a solution to a complex real-world problem based on prioritized criteria and trade-offs that account for a range of constraints, including cost, safety, reliability, and aesthetics, as well as possible social, cultural, and environmental impacts.
  • Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
    • Reading: Science & Technical Subjects (6-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.11-12.9 Synthesize information from a range of sources (e.g., texts, experiments, simulations) into a coherent understanding of a process, phenomenon, or concept, resolving conflicting information when possible.
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