Teaching Energy Concepts?

New Online Assets for Science Teachers and Their Students

The Energy: A Multidisciplinary Approach for Teachers (EMAT) project is developing and studying an online course for high school science teachers.

Energy ideas are fundamental to all areas of science. Our goal is to help teachers learn more about energy ideas and in turn, help their students understand energy, too. When our kids understand key energy concepts, they will be better prepared to actively participate as citizens in making energy decisions as part of our rapidly changing economy.

BSCS is developing the EMAT course in collaboration with Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB), the National Teachers Enhancement Network (NTEN) of Montana State University, the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL), and the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center (GLBRC). We are nearing completion of this course. It will be available fall 2016.

There are six units in the EMAT course:

  • Coal
  • Nuclear Energy
  • Wind
  • Geothermal Energy
  • Biofuels
  • Solar Energy

Each unit helps teachers learn key energy concepts and think about how to help students learn key energy concepts. As part of the course, we are developing a variety of materials to help both students and teachers:

  1. Animations - short animated videos that showcase important science and energy concepts,
  2. Interactive Learning Experiences - interactive and fun opportunities to explore science ideas related to energy, and 
  3. Classroom Videos - see how other teachers have engaged their students in teaching complex ideas related to energy.

Click images below to see samples of the assets. We are making these assets available for teachers and students to use in their classrooms. 





Classroom Videos



We are developing the course with the best approaches to teacher learning in mind. These approaches emphasize constructing understanding from evidence and situating learning in the highly relevant classroom context. Teachers will be able to enhance their conceptual understanding while simultaneously enhancing their ability to teach energy concepts to their students.

The full course, including 34 classroom videos, 30 science content animations, and 20 interactive learning experiences will be freely available. Teachers and school districts will be able to use the full course to enhance teaching and learning related to energy concepts.

Sign up to receive updates about the availability of the course. For more information, contact EMAT Project Lead Sue Kowalski.

  This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. DRL 1118643. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.