5 Engaging Ways to Teach the Environmental Impacts of Coal Power Plants

Job Brisby Eloja

Coal power plants still generate a third of the world’s electricity. Coal is an inexpensive energy source, but it also has a high carbon footprint. Burning coal releases a great deal of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide is a major greenhouse gas contributing to climate change.

Assessing the environmental impact of a coal power plant is a huge task. There are lots of factors to consider, so the topic can be daunting to students. Teaching this topic effectively requires some creativity.

Try out these five engaging ways to help your students learn this topic.

1. Use Interactive Models of Coal Power Plants

Coal power plants can affect the environment in more than one way. Usually, students think that the most damaging part is the smoke emitted by the power plants. While that is the major source of carbon dioxide, it’s not the only part that impacts the environment.

Imagine you have an interactive model of a coal-fired power plant. Students can see the different parts of the facility. Also, they can visualize how the many parts of the power plant affect the environment. 

Using these models, students can also learn how to make a full environmental impact assessment (EIA). They’ll get to know the intricacies of making an EIA.

2. Make It Fun with Games and Activities

Games and activities are not just for fun. They can facilitate better learning as well. In some contexts, games can even teach students more effectively than plain lectures. The good thing is students may not even realize that they’re gaining valuable knowledge.

Games shine, especially if they’re given to students who need to learn field and lab techniques. Labster’s virtual lab simulation called Environmental Impact of Coal Power Plants is a great tool. It lets students assess the effects of a coal power plant on its surroundings. Also, the simulation allows students to propose solutions to these environmental problems.

Coal power plants in a virtual lab setting.
Discover Labster's Environmental Impact of Coal Power Plants virtual lab today!

3. Infuse Technology into Lessons

Engage your students more by using technology in class. For instance, virtual tours and interactive games make learning more immersive. Students can see firsthand how coal power plants influence the environment. 

You can also use online videos to explain complex topics. If there’s anything students have trouble understanding, they can simply rewind and replay the videos. 

Carbon footprint calculators and data visualization tools can help students appreciate how coal power plants contribute to climate change. Students will also gain a better appreciation of the policies that aim to ban coal as an electricity source. 

You can even encourage students to take action through social media campaigns. If they can do something about it, you can make your students care deeply about this topic.

By using technology, you can create more dynamic and engaging lessons. You’ll help students understand why we must rely less on coal and other fossil fuels.

4. Inspire Students Through Career Exploration

One way to make this topic more engaging is through career exploration. Show students how they can make a difference through careers in renewable energy, conservation, and sustainability. You can then inspire them to learn more about this topic and take action.

You can also bring in guest speakers who work in these fields. Let them do a guest lecture for your students. 

Also, you can organize a field trip to a renewable energy facility. This way, they can spot the differences of a coal power plant and a renewable energy plant firsthand.

Highlight the relevance of this topic to future careers. This way, you can motivate students to take on work that makes a positive impact on the environment.

5. Connect the Topic to Applications in the Real World

To make it easier for students to grasp the environmental impacts of coal power plants, try connecting the topic to real-world examples. 

For instance, you could explain how coal pollution can cause health problems like asthma and heart disease. You can also detail how coal mining can harm wildlife and ecosystems. 

By showing how coal-fired power plants affect their daily lives, you can help students understand the importance of addressing these environmental issues.

Final Thoughts

To get your students more interested in the environmental impacts of coal power plants, you can use a wide range of teaching methods. You can achieve this through games, interactive demonstrations, multimedia, and connecting this topic to the real world.

Virtual lab simulations, like Labster’s Environmental impact of coal power plants is a great way for students to engage with this topic. In this virtual lab, they can experience what it’s like to assess the effects of a coal power plant on its surroundings. Also, students can explore what can be done to minimize these negative impacts.

Virtual lab with a lab assistant.
a man sitting in front of a computer monitor
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