Energy Literacy: Essential Principles and Fundamental Concepts for Energy Education

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Energy Literacy Alignment Tool

Use this Excel file to assess how many Fundamental Concepts your activity or curriculum addresses or use it as a tool for building a curriculum which addresses the entire range of Fundamental Concepts.

Preview: 7 Energy Literacy Principles

Energy Literacy Principles

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What is Energy Literacy?

Energy Literacy is an understanding of the nature and role of energy in the world and daily lives accompanied by the ability to apply this understanding to answer questions and solve problems.

An energy-literate person:

  • Can trace energy flows and think in terms of energy systems.
  • Knows how much energy they use, for what purpose, and where the energy comes from.
  • Can assess the credibility of information about energy.
  • Can communicate about energy and energy use in meaningful ways.
  • Is able to make informed energy use decisions based on an understanding of impacts and consequences.

What is the Energy Literacy Framework?

Energy Literacy: Essential Principles and Fundamental Concepts for Energy Education is an interdisciplinary approach to teaching and learning about energy. The framework identifies seven Essential Principles and a set of Fundamental Concepts to support each principle. The guide does not seek to identify all areas of energy understanding, but rather to focus on those that are essential for all citizens K-Gray. It presents energy concepts that, if understood and applied, will help individuals and communities make informed energy decisions.

Who led the development of the Energy Literacy document?

The Energy Literacy document is the culmination of public listening sessions and thousands of experts from diverse fields of study contributing to a dialogue about what an energy literate person should know and understand. This included over 20 recognized educational partners and 13 federal agencies that comprise the U.S. Global Change Research Program Partner agencies.

How should we approach energy literacy?

Energy Literacy looks at energy through the lens of natural science as well as social science. Energy issues require an understanding of civics, history, economics, sociology, psychology, and politics in addition to science, technology, engineering and mathematics. A comprehensive study of energy and curriculum designed using Energy Literacy should be interdisciplinary and use a systems-based approach to fully appreciate the complexities of energy issues.

Who is the audience for the framework?

The intended audience for the Energy Literacy document is anyone involved in energy education. Intended use of the document as a guide includes, but is not limited to, formal and informal energy education, standards development, curriculum design, assessment development, and educator trainings.

Energy Literacy Webcast and Presentation Available

Educators: Find out about the Energy Literacy: Essential Principles and Fundamental Concepts for teaching energy through this free online webcast and presentation. The webcast and presentation highlight energy education resources including lesson plans, curriculum alignment tools and how to use the Energy Literacy Framework in your classroom today. Learn more by visiting the Education and Workforce Development website.

Share how you are using the Energy Literacy Framework!

Contact us with questions, comments, or stories: EnergyLiteracy@ee.doe.gov 

EERE's Sharon Cosgrove and Josh Sneideman stand with a middle school science teacher, all holding up Energy Literacy booklets.In October 2013, EERE's Einstein fellow Josh Sneideman and Geothermal Technologies' Sharon Cosgrove took Energy Literacy to 300 6th graders at Old Mill Middle School North. Pictured here is Christie McConnon (right), 6th grade science teacher who came up with the big idea!