Energy Excursions

Geothermal Energy Basics

Summary

This lesson is an introduction to “Energy is a Hot Topic!” – a course designed to provide a foundational understanding of geothermal energy. Students learn about how and where the earth’s heat is formed, specifically radioactive heat sources. The lesson provides insight into how humans can harvest Earth’s natural, subsurface heat in the form of geothermal energy. Students explore how heat travels to the surface to generate electricity and the benefits of using geothermal in our electric grid. 

Learning Outcomes:

  • Discuss how geothermal heat forms, moves to Earth’s surface, and provides the primary energy source for electricity production
  • Explain the basics of isotopes and radioactive decay
  • Define a geothermal gradient
  • Describe the benefits of geothermal energy in comparison to other forms of energy

Oklahoma Academic Standards
TEKS Standards
College Board Units and Topics
Next Generation Science Standards