Energy is needed to heat and light homes, schools, health clinics and to allow industries to function. Without a steady supply of energy other aspects of development will stall. But should countries use energy whatever the cost? More economically developed countries (MEDCs) have the ability to use more costly, greener energies but many less economically developed countries (LEDCs) struggle to restrict their energy use. Should they have the same opportunities countries like the UK had in the past before we knew about the environmental implications?
Many pupils will have an interest in this topic, and its links to the environment and sustainability, providing a perfect entry point. Case studies of energy use and abuse from LEDCs can be used to support work in science, design and technology and geography.
The following links and articles provide useful background information to help you teach about energy and its relevance to development:
Global Dimension: Sustainable Energy Feature article looking at how more people worldwide can get access to sustainable energy
Guardian: Energy Poverty Collection of articles on the Guardian global development website
National Geographic: Five Surprising Facts About Energy Poverty Facts about energy you may not know
Useful teaching resources about energy:
Practical Action: Schools resources Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 3 resources exploring a range of small-scale energy solutions to help people out of poverty
LEAF: Virtual Farm Walk – African Field Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 3 website includes film clips and resources showing ingenious efficient energy use in Ghana and Kenya
Sunny Schools Teaching Resources Key Stage 2 resources from a charity that installs solar panels at schools in East and Southern Africa
Practical Action: Global CREST Challenges Key Stage 3+ science and engineering challenges including some around energy
Practical Action: Energy and the MDGs Key Stage 3 resources exploring the vital link between access to energy and development
Ellen MacArthur Foundation: How We Make Stuff Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 3 website exploring how ‘stuff’ can be produced in more energy- and resource-efficient ways
Ellen MacArthur Foundation: Education resource bank Key Stage 3+ resources on the ‘circular economy’
For further teaching resources, browse through the following searches:
We welcome suggestions for useful articles and teaching resources on the topic of Energy. Please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.