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These television programmes are designed to support the KS2 Geography curriculum. The series examines the interdependence of humans and physical environments and has an issue-based approach.
About the Programme

Programme 4 - Green Power
Friday, 1 February 2002

ARCHIVE - SELB programme code :TJ 1991

This episode is now part of our archive. This programme is still available to schools to borrow or purchase from the Audio Visual Recording service at the SELB. Please quote the SELB programme code in your correspondence. See our ordering page for more information.

This programme aims to develop geographical ideas around the issue of renewable energy or ‘green power’. It will help young people to make informed judgements about how we use the natural environment by engaging them with an environmental issue and will create opportunities for development in the classroom.

The programme starts with the presenter, Donna Traynor, giving us a riddle:
Everything has it. We can’t see it. We can’t do without it.
But we need to save it. What is it?

The answer is ENERGY.

Image of a factoryAt the BBC Television Town Challenge set, with the mountains of Mourne as a backdrop, we see lots of different energy types in action and hear lots of words connected with energy – muscle power, electricity, fuel, generator, fossil fuels, electrical energy, sound energy, battery and power stations.

In the old days people used wind and water as power sources; nowadays electricity is used for so many things. We learn that the resource that is used to produce electricity is where problems arise. Most electricity in Northern Ireland is made from fossil fuels that are non-renewable and also pollute our environment. Donna tells us that to protect our health and save resources we need to find other ways to trap power. These ways are not necessarily new, they are from the world around us. Today people are going back to SUN, WIND and WATER.

Eadaoin and Declan, co-presenters with Donna, now go off to find out more about renewable energy resources in Northern Ireland. Have a close look at their hats!

Image of a factory producing smokeTheir first stop is at Patterson’s spade mill in Co. Antrim. Here John Shirley explains how water from the Ballymartin Water drives a water turbine, which in turn powers the machinery to make spades in the mill. He summarises this simply by saying that they borrow the water, use its power and then give it back to the river without polluting it at all. This use of water as a power source is also discussed with relation to hydroelectricity in which the power from the water is used to turn a water turbine that makes electricity. Eadaoin and Declan’s next stop is Ballycopeland windmill in County Down. The windmill catches the wind, the sails go round and so turn lots of cogs inside which drive the grinding stones, so grinding the corn. In 6 locations in NI there are wind farms. These great wind turbines catch the wind and use it to make electricity.

Image of a water wheelNext Eadaoin and Declan take to the mountains at Shannaghmore outdoor education centre. Here the warden, Andy Carden, tells them how they make their own electricity by using power from the sun. Eadaoin and Declan climb the mountain behind the centre and find large solar cells that make electricity from light. The power is stored in batteries and then used to heat water for hot showers which children need after a wet day in canoes or bouldering. Shannaghmore also has 2 wind turbines which are used for the same purpose.

Having discovered that energy from natural sources can be used to power many things Eadaoin and Declan find out that we can all do our bit to save energy.

We can help look after our environment by doing 2 things:
  1. Using energy that is made from renewable sources, such as wind, water and sun.
  2. Reducing the amount of electricity we use as most of our electricity is made from fossil fuels.

Finally Eadaoin and Declan find out about saving energy. They have some fun at the NIE energy road show, where games are used to help get the message of saving energy across. To conclude we get some 'Top Tips'.Image of a windmill
  • Boiling only one cup of water in a kettle saves enough energy in a week to power a TV for 26 hours!
  • A computer monitor left on for 1 hour wastes enough energy to print 61 pages!
  • If every household installed just 1 energy saving light bulb, we could save enough energy to light 2 million homes for 1 year!

Before the Programme

  • Discuss the key words: Energy, renewable energy, non-renewable energy, fossil fuels, electricity, environmental, solar, wind farm, wind turbine, hydroelectricity.
  • List as many different types of energy as you can.
  • Think about where our electricity comes from.
  • Find out what different types of energy are used in your school.
  • What does it mean to be 'environmentally friendly'?

After the Programme

Image of people beside a solar powered building
  • List different energy types and sort them out into renewable and non-renewable. (worksheet)
  • Take each non-renewable energy resource and list both the advantages and disadvantages of it. (worksheet)
  • What is hydroelectricity? Make a simple model that can be powered by water power. Find out about the hydroelectric dam at Ballyshannon, Co. Donegal.
  • What is wind power? Make a simple model that can be powered by wind power. Find out where the 6 wind farms are in Northern Ireland that supply electricity to NIE.
  • What is solar power? See if you can find anything that is powered by solar power.
  • Visit the NIE website, and get some tips on saving energy.
  • Carry out a survey of your school during the lunch break. Find out if there are places in school where energy is being wasted e.g. lights and computer monitors left on.
  • Appoint ‘Energy Monitors’, children who keep an eye on when and where energy could be saved in school.
  • Carry out a survey to find out how many pupils’ homes have energy saving light bulbs.
  • Produce a leaflet/ poster to encourage parents to use energy saving light bulbs. Remember the Top Tip in the programme.
  • Visit the BBC website and find some photographs of people who have cooked using solar energy!

Further Resources
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites
The worksheets for this resource are in PDF format. Click on the links below to view the worksheets:
Geography Programmes
Programme 1:
Strating Grid:
Programme 2:
Here and There:
Programme 3:
Go with the Flow
Programme 4:
Green Power
Programme 5:
Sustainable Development
Programme 6:
In the Balance
Programme 7:
Lough Neagh
Programme 8:
Programme 9:
Extreme Weather
Can't find your subject? Visit our archive section where you can find programmes supporting other curricular subjects, including: Geography, History, Citizenship and English.

Visit the archive.

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