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Geothermal Energy Plant

Shared by: Liz

What is this task about? 

Students examine several maps and explain which map is best for showing why a geothermal energy plant should be located in a particular place.

Students examine three different maps of the same area, with different features shown on each, and explain which is the best map for a given purpose: showing why a geothermal energy plant should be located in a particular place. The maps show the locations of either earthquakes or volcanoes, or both. Two of the maps include the locations of cities, as well. Students have to consider which geological events are most important to show on the map. Students’ observations and reasoning in this task help them build the familiarity with maps that is necessary for them to use the data within maps to describe patterns in geological events, as described in the performance expectation. As they do this, they engage in the practice of analyzing and interpreting data and with the crosscutting concept of patterns. 

The three dimensions of this task are 
  • DCI: ESS2.B: Plate Tectonics and Large-Scale System Interactions
  • SEP: Constructing Explanations
  • CCC: Patterns

See Everything you need to know about 4-ESS2-2 to learn more about this performance expectation. 

Click on the tabs above to learn more about ways to use this task with your students, understand their responses, and what you can do next. 

Implementation Options

When To Use

  • Before or During Instruction – Use this as part of your instruction about this content.
    • TIP: If you have a globe or world map (print or digital), consider using it to show students where Iceland is located and where your school is located. 
    • TIP:  You might prompt students to compare the three maps by asking, “What is the same? What is different?” 
  • After Instruction – Assess what your students have learned about this content. 

Pick a Paired Task!

This task pairs well with Volcanoes in the Himalayas?, another task developed for the same learning performance. 
Alternatively, you might choose a task developed for a different learning performance, or one that uses a different SEP or CCC.
Other Recommended Pairings:

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Understanding Student Responses

Look for evidence that they are considering how the different maps show different patterns. Both Map A and Map C show patterns in the location of volcanoes that would help the company explain why they chose to locate the geothermal plant where they did. Map C can be considered better than Map A because Map C includes information about how close the geothermal plant is to cities. Additionally, Map C can be considered better than Map A because Map A includes extra information on the location of earthquakes. 

Students do not need to use the cardinal directions (North, South, East, West) when describing the patterns they see. Students do not need to name geological features shown in the map (e.g., mountains, rivers).
View the rubric.