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AoS 1: A sustainable mix of energy sources

Full Day
Book Program
Year Levels
Unit 4 — How can the impacts of human energy use be reduced?


There are nine major areas of energy resources. They fall into two categories: non-renewable and renewable. Non-renewable energy resources, like coal, nuclear, oil, and natural gas, are available in limited supplies. This is usually due to the long time it takes for them to be replenished. Renewable resources are replenished naturally and over relatively short periods of time. The five major renewable energy resources are solar, wind, water (hydro), biomass, and geothermal.

In this area of study students examine the concepts associated with the use of different forms of energy by human societies. Focus moves from understanding the relationship between the uses of local sources of energy to examining the global impacts of these uses, including consideration of the consequences over short (seconds to years), medium (multiple years to hundreds of years) and long (thousands to millions of years) time scales. Students investigate through field and practical activities the extent, availability, consequences, and alternative forms of energy available while considering the environmental, social and ethical challenges involved.

Students will also consider the ways in which the impacts of energy use on the environment can be reduced particularly looking at sustainable housing design and carbon sequestration on a wetland.

Prior Knowledge

Some introductory classes on different energy forms and the difference between renewable and non- renewable energy sources would be an advantage but not mandatory.

Learning Intentions

In this program students will:

  • Explain why coal, oil and gas are termed ‘fossil fuels’
  • Distinguish between non- renewable and renewable sources of energy
  • Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of different forms of renewable energy
  • Discuss ways in which the impact of human energy use on the environment can be reduced.


Students will:

  • Investigate the 1st and 2nd laws of Thermodynamics using a variety of household appliances
  • Investigate fossil fuels including coal, gas and oil
  • Build a hydrocar and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of this as a fuel
  • Tour the Ecolinc building and wetland and discuss ways in which its sustainable design helps to reduce the impact of energy use on the environment
  • Investigate building design and reduction of energy use using the STELR Susutainable Housing kits.

VCE links

Outcome 1: Compare the advantages and disadvantages of a range of energy sources, evaluate the sustainability of their use, and explain the impacts of their use on society and the environment.