Energy transformation impacts | BCHydro Power Smart for Schools
Conservation New

How can the environmental impact of energy transformations be reduced?

Develop three practical tips for reducing the environmental impact of energy transformations involved in electricity generation.

Activity Image
30 mins
Thought starter


Energy transformations can have a large impact on the environment.   Students analyze the environmental impacts of energy transformations involved in electricity generation. They then develop three practical tips for reducing this impact.


What you'll need

  • "Mind-mapping the impacts of energy transformations" worksheet, one copy for each group

  1. Begin the lesson by asking students to suggest the different ways that electrical energy is generated. Students might suggest:  
  • Hydropower energy → electrical energy 
  • Solar energy → electrical energy
  • Wind energy → electrical energy
  • Nuclear energy → electrical energy
  • Coal-fired energy → electrical energy
  1. Organize students into small groups and provide each group with a copy of the "Mind-mapping the impacts of energy transformations" worksheet. Assign each group one of the forms of generating electricity. 
  2. Inform groups that their challenge is to think of as many energy transformations that are related to their assigned method of generating electricity as possible. Prompt groups to create mind maps of the energy transformations. 
  3. Next, ask groups to identify the environmental impacts of each energy transformation. Ask groups to note these ideas on their mind maps. 
  4. Guide groups’ attention to the right-hand side of the activity sheet. Ask groups to think how the environmental impacts might be reduced or eliminated. After groups have identified some initial ideas, encourage them to suggest three practical tips for reducing or eliminating environmental impacts of their energy transformation. Remind students to use the criteria for a practical tip:
  • Possible or doable
  • Affordable
  • Effective
  1. Conclude the activity by inviting groups to share their tips with the class. As groups share, prompt them to look for commonalities among the tips: What important lessons might be learned about conservation and sustainability from the common ideas? 
  2. Guide students’ attention back to their initial decisions about which method of generating electricity has energy transformations that most impact the environment. Invite them to re-rank the methods, this time using what they’ve learned in this activity to guide their thinking. 

Modify or extend this activity


  • For ELL students, use word walls or vocabulary sheets to help support their understanding of the science terms used in the lesson.
  • Incorporate a variety of learning styles within the lesson (e.g., auditory through the discussion that happens, visual through the images displayed on board, reading/writing through recording their thoughts on paper, kinesthetic through hands-on activities).


  • Ask students to conduct further research technologies that could be used to decrease the environmental impacts of the energy transformations that occur during the generation of electricity. 

Curriculum Fit

Science 10

Big idea

  • Energy is conserved, and its transformation can affect living things and the environment. 


  • Transformation of energy
  • Law of conservation of energy
  • Potential and kinetic energy
  • Local and global impacts of energy transformations from technologies

Curriculum competencies

Questioning and predicting
  • Demonstrate a sustained intellectual curiosity about a scientific topic or problem of personal interest.
Processing and analyzing data and information
  • Experience and interpret the local environment.
  • Use knowledge of scientific concepts to draw conclusions that are consistent with evidence.
  • Demonstrate an awareness of assumptions, question information given, and identify bias in their own work and secondary sources.


Assess students’ ability to: 

  • Work within a small team and collaborate with one another.
  • Explain their reasoning when developing practical tips for reducing the environmental impact of energy transformations.
  • Identify connections to conservation and sustainability.

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