Energy

“Aliens might be surprised to learn that in a cosmos with limitless starlight, humans kill for energy sources buried in the sand”

Neil deGrasse Tyson, American astrophysicist
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LESSON OVERVIEW

This free ESL lesson plan on energy has been designed for adults and young adults at an intermediate (B1/B2) to advanced (C1/C2) level and should last around 45 to 60 minutes for one student.

Without energy, the modern world as we know it would cease to exist. We need energy for everything, from powering our homes and hospitals to producing the products we buy and the devices we use to access information. Whereas some communities lack this vital resource altogether, other communities require an ever-increasing supply. As the world becomes wealthier, the world needs more power. But the way we produce electricity, and the way it has been produced throughout history, is not sustainable. Energy production is the single biggest cause of the environmental problems the world faces today. In this ESL lesson plan on energy, students will have the opportunity to discuss and express their opinions on issues such as what we need energy for, how we produce it, and some of the problems associated with this.

This lesson plan could also be used with your students to debate these issues for World Energy Day, which takes place in October. For more lesson plans on international days and important holidays, see the calendar of world days to plan your classes for these special occasions.

For advice on how to use this English lesson plan and other lesson plans on this site, see the guide for ESL teachers.

PRE-CLASS ACTIVITIES

Reading activity
Before the English class, send the following article to the students and ask them to read it while making a list of any new vocabulary or phrases they find (explain any the students don’t understand in the class):

The Spruce | Tips for Lowering Your Electric Bill

The article gives a long list of ways people can save money on their electric bill by reducing the amount of energy they use in the house. Tips include how to save energy when using electrical appliances, when you are cooking, and how to ensure your home is properly insulated. At the start of the class, hold a brief discussion about what the students thought about the article. What do they think about the issues raised in the article? Do they agree with what was said? Can they think of any ways they might add to the content of the article?

Video activity
To save time in class for the conversation activities, the English teacher can ask the students to watch the video below and answer the listening questions in Section 3 of the lesson plan at home. There are intermediate listening questions and advanced listening questions so teachers can decide which would be more appropriate for their students. Check the answers in the class.

The video for this class is called “A guide to the energy of the Earth” by TED Ed which gives a brief overview of the different forms of energy that exist on Earth.

IN-CLASS ACTIVITIES

The focus in the class is on conversation in order to help improve students’ fluency and confidence when speaking in English as well as boosting their vocabulary.

This lesson opens with a short discussion about the article the students read before the class. Next, the students can give their opinion on the quote at the beginning of the lesson plan – what they think the quote means and if they agree with it. This is followed by an initial discussion on the topic including how the students use energy, how electricity can be produced, and the different ways of saving energy.

After this, students will learn some vocabulary connected with energy such as power cut/blackout, off-grid and electric shock. This vocabulary has been chosen to boost the students’ knowledge of less common vocabulary that could be useful for preparing for English exams like IELTS or TOEFL. The vocabulary is accompanied by a cloze activity and a speaking activity to test the students’ comprehension of these words.

If the students didn’t watch the video before the class, they can watch it after the vocabulary section and answer the listening questions. Before checking the answers, ask the students to give a brief summary of the video and what they thought about the content.

Finally, there is a more in-depth conversation about energy. In this speaking activity, students will talk about issues such as the problems caused by energy consumption, how future energy needs can be met, and what society would be like if there were no electricity.

HOMEWORK

After the class, students will write about their opinion of energy. This could be a short paragraph or a longer piece of writing depending on what level the student is at. The writing activity is designed to allow students to practise and improve their grammar with the feedback from their teacher. For students who intend to take an international English exam such as IELTS or TOEFL, there is an alternative essay question to practise their essay-writing skills.

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