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6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


Science, Earth and Space Sciences, Engineering

Resource Type

  • Videos, 8 minutes, 32 seconds, CC, Subtitles

Regional Focus

Global, North America, United States, USA - West, Oregon, Central Oregon / Columbia Gorge


YouTube Video

How a Geothermal Breakthrough Could Transform Our Energy Grid

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  • In this video, students will learn about an experiment at Newberry Volcano in the Pacific Northwest that is investigating a new way to access geothermal energy using a process similar to fracking.
  • Students will also learn how potential innovations like enhanced geothermal and a "millimeter wave" laser drill could make the prospect of large-scale geothermal energy more feasible. 
Teaching Tips


  • The video uses diagrams, animations, and graphs to explain the concepts clearly.
  • The speaker is upbeat and engaging.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students should be familiar with fossil fuels and why we are pursuing renewable alternatives to these energy sources.


  • Science teachers could use this video when learning about Earth's interior, earthquakes, plate tectonics, energy sources, renewable energy, solutions for climate change, or recent technological innovations.
  • Students could use the information from the video and additional research to compare geothermal with other renewable sources like solar and wind. Students could identify technological innovations that helped those sources become more mainstream.
  • Cross-curricular connections could be made with economics classes by comparing the costs associated with solar, wind, and geothermal energy, and looking at how this relates to the amount of energy we derive from each source.
  • Students could use this map to explore where geothermal resources are located and other videos on geothermal energy include The Untapped Energy Source That Could Power the PlanetGeothermal Energy in Iceland, and How We Can Tap Into an Unlimited Supply of Geothermal Energy.
Scientist Notes
This video underscores the setbacks and offerings of geothermal energy in contributing to the energy sector. It compares solar and geothermal energy, the opportunities and failures, and articulates a new focus on using technology such as the millimeter wave to harness geothermal energy. This is recommended for teaching.
  • Science
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • 7.ESS3.1 Construct a scientific explanation based on evidence for how the uneven distributions of Earth’s mineral, energy, and groundwater resources are the result of past and current geoscience processes.
      • 8.ESS3.4 Construct an argument supported by evidence for how increases in human population and per-capita consumption of natural resources impact Earth’s systems.
      • HS.ESS3.2 Evaluate competing design solutions for developing, managing, and utilizing energy and mineral resources based on cost-benefit ratios.
      • HS.ESS3.4 Evaluate or refine a technological solution that reduces impacts of human activities on natural systems.
    • ETS1: Engineering Design
      • HS.ETS1.3 Evaluate a solution to a complex real-world problem based on prioritized criteria and trade-offs that account for a range of constraints, including cost, safety, reliability, and aesthetics, as well as possible social, cultural, and environmental impacts.
  • Social Sciences
    • Geography (K-12)
      • HS.40 Use geographic data to analyze the interconnectedness of physical and human regional systems (such as a river valley and culture, water rights/use in regions, choice/impact of settlement locations) and their interconnectedness to global communities.
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