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LUMEN Power Challenge

8-10 yrs old

11-13 yrs old

Climate & Environment

Science

Technology

Enumerate different methods to generate electricity, give their pros and cons and roughly explain how they work.

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avatar Submitted By: Minecraft Education

April 7, 2020

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Skills

  • Communication
  • Critical Thinking

External References

LUMEN Power Challenge World

Minecraft world file.

Supporting Files

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Tables 1 & 2 and Quizz


Full lesson and supporting materials.

Learning Objectives

  • HS-PS3 Energy: Energy transfer, relationship between energy and forces
  • HS-LS2 Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics: Interdependent relationships, biodiversity and humans, energy in chemical processes
  • HS-ESS2 Earth’s Systems:Weather and climate
  • HS-ESS3 Earth and Human Activity: Natural resources, human impact on natural systems, global climate change

Guiding Ideas

In this map, students will discover various ways to generate electricity. At the end, they will be able to:

1. Enumerate different methods to generate electricity, give their pros and cons and roughly explain how they work

2. Distinguish renewable energy sources from non-renewable sources

3. Identify locations suited for renewable energy sources

4. Understand how electricity is transported from sources to consumers

5. Give examples of how energy can be stored

Context

To provide context for this lesson, the topic of renewable energy has to be introduced. To do this, use the video(s) in the external references, the vocabulary in Table 1 (in Supporting Files) and the following questions that can be asked to the students:

  • Where does the electricity we use come from?
    • Mostly from fossil and nuclear power stations
  • What is the problem with these energy sources?
    • They deplete the Earth’s resources and have a negative impact on the environment and climate. Burning fossil fuels produces carbon dioxide, which is a greenhouse gas that causes global warming and pollutes the air. Nuclear power stations don’t emit carbon dioxide, but they are expensive and produce harmful radioactive waste.
  • What is renewable energy?
    • Energy that is generated using resources that are abundant and naturally replenished such as solar, wind and hydro. However, they are dependent on the weather.
  • What is the energy transition?
    • The energy transition aims to transform the energy system of today that is based on fossil fuels into a system based on renewable energy sources

Preparation for the game

Now the students are familiar with the topic, they can start playing the game. Let each student enter the world in Minecraft Education Edition (single player is recommended).

Student Activities

In this world, students start at an information board that tells them there are 5 challenges around the town, marked by red beacons (vertical light signals). They can be completed in any order. One of the following approaches is suggested:

  • Let all students complete all five challenges
  • Assign one or several challenges to each student and let them inform the others about what they learned at the end of the lesson

When completing a challenge, students will get an in-game notification and the beacon at the starting place will turn green.

Challenge 1: Fixing the offshore wind turbines (15 min.)

The students need to follow the river by boat and go to the offshore transformer platform near the wind turbines. There, an information board explains how wind turbines are used to generate electricity. After pressing the button they receive an elytra which they will use to glide to the top of each wind turbine to repair them.

Challenge 2: Fixing the solar panels on the roofs of the houses (10 min.)

The students need to find a way to the roofs (by using the tree, ladders, or stairs inside the houses) and repair the damaged panels by right-clicking them. In this case, the panels are damaged by a storm, but an alternative way to think about it is to clean the panels, because dust blocks sunlight. An information board explains the advantages of solar panels.

Challenge 3: Preventing the nuclear reactor from overheating (15 min.)

After pressing the button inside the nuclear power station, the students receive instructions to raise the fuel rods, repair the heat sinks, supply coolant, dispose nuclear waste and repair the pipes. Encourage the students to read the information board about nuclear power stations.

Challenge 4: Fuelling the generator of the off-grid house (15 min.)

The sign at the house on the island tells the students to search for coal at the coal power station (hint: coal pieces can be found in boxes at the coal piles at the left of the coal power station). The information board at the coal power station provides educational information.

Challenge 5: Clearing out the hydroelectric dam (15 min.)

A panel provides educational information about hydroelectric dams. The sign tells the students to clear out the channels inside the dam. These can be accessed via the top or bottom.

Final quiz in the brick factory (5 min.)

By pressing the button in the factory, a quiz starts. It consists of 13 multiple choice questions to test the student’s knowledge (see annex). To unlock the quiz without completing all five challenges first, the player can teleport to it by typing the command /tp 1179 68 60 in the chat window.

Performance Expectations

By completing all five challenges and reading the information boards at each of them, the students should have learned the following:

Challenge 1: Fixing the offshore wind turbines

  • Working process of wind turbines: kinetic energy of air flow → rotate turbine connected to generator → electrical energy
  • The output of wind turbines depends on the wind strength and hundreds of them are needed to replace a single coal or nuclear power station
  • Wind turbines are often placed offshore because there is more wind and more space
  • The big platform is where the transformer is put. This transformer increases the voltage of the generated electricity for transportation to the mainland
  • Notice the undersea cables that connect the turbines to the transformer and the transformer to the grid

Challenge 2: Fixing the solar panels on the roofs of the houses

  • Working process of solar panels: radiant energy of sunlight → electrical energy
  • The output is dependent on the irradiation of the sun
  • Home batteries are helpful to store energy for the night or cloudy periods
  • Solar panels are small and can be installed locally, but millions of them are needed to replace a single coal or nuclear power station

Challenge 3: Preventing the nuclear reactor from overheating

  • Working process of a nuclear power station: nuclear energy stored in the nucleus of atoms → splitting atoms → release of heat → water into steam → rotate turbine connected to generator → electrical energy
  • Cooling towers cool down the steam to turn it back into water. They only emit water vapour and no carbon dioxide
  • Radioactive nuclear waste is produced and has to be stored safely

Challenge 4: Refuelling the generator of the off-grid house

  • Working process of a coal power station: chemical energy stored in the bonds between molecules of the fuel (coal) → burning the fuel → release of heat → water into steam → rotate turbine connected to generator → electrical energy
  • Coal power stations emit carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas that causes climate change
  • Buildings not connected to the grid can generate electricity locally. Students should be able to come up with a renewable energy source for the island house in the game.

Challenge 5: Clearing out the hydroelectric dam

  • Working process of hydroelectric dam: potential energy stored in water reservoir → kinetic energy as water flows down → rotate turbine connected to generator → electrical energy
  • Energy can be stored by pumping water upwards to the reservoir for later use for electricity generation
  • Hydroelectric dams need large rivers and disturb the environment

Final quiz in the brick factory

Students should be able to complete this test successfully (see annex in Supporting Files.)

 

Skills

  • Communication
  • Critical Thinking

External References

LUMEN Power Challenge World

Minecraft world file.

Supporting Files

Icon_Download

Tables 1 & 2 and Quizz


Full lesson and supporting materials.