Thinking Outside of the Box


Students will investigate alternative energy sources.


  • A Picture Book of George Washington Carver by David A. Adler (optional)
  • Display board (optional)


Show the students a jar of peanut butter.   What famous American scientist had the idea to make peanut butter?

Explain that George Washington Carver was a famous scientist who thought outside of the box.  He was always thinking of new ideas to improve agriculture.
Read aloud/discuss A Picture Book of George Washington Carver by David A. Adler.

Explain that George Washington Carver took something as simple as the peanut and created many new uses for it.   Students may research online the different ways that George Washington used peanuts.

Explain to the students that some of today’s scientists are constantly thinking of new ways that we could improve the way we use energy to decrease our dependence on nonrenewable resources like fossil fuels.

Ask students to brainstorm different renewable resources used for energy.

Explain that some renewable energy sources are geothermal, wind, solar, and water.

Divide students into groups and assign each group one of the four renewable energy sources mentioned. Have students research these renewable energy resources online.

Students may create a display or poster to present to the class.

Students should provide a small demonstration of the type of energy resource, images related to that resource, the advantages and disadvantages of that resource. Students may wish to think outside of the box and create an energy source of their own to present.


Use a rubric to rate student performance of the activity.


Do not use this activity if a student has a peanut allergy.


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