Beacon Lesson Plan Library

The Energy Grab Game

Richard Angelini Sr.


Demonstrates the scarcity of energy resources. It allows the students to experience competition for natural resources and demonstrates the result of inadequate distribution of natural wealth among the Earth's nations.


The student knows that some resources are renewable and others are nonrenewable.


-A watch with a second hand
-Five hundred pieces of paper, each measuring one inch by one inch in five different colors as follows:
66 White pieces
44 Yellow pieces
25 Red pieces
155 Blue pieces
200 Black pieces


1.Make sure you have a watch with a second hand
2. Cut colored paper into the following amounts, (1 inch by 1 inch square, approx.)
66 white,
44 yellow,
25 red,
155 blue,
200 black,


Begin with an overview discussion with the class covering the following items:
a) The difference between renewable and nonrenewable resources and classification
b) The responsible use of resources, who has the rights to them, where are they located in the world
c) Is greed an element of decisions about energy use

1.Divide your class into teams of 4 students in each team.

Try to have an equal amount of boys and girls in each team. Get them to stand in a large circle.

2. Say to the class: On our planet, energy is not in infinite supply and we humans have to compete for energy. In the last century, wars were fought over energy resources. Countries grabbed up as much energy resources as possible for themselves. You are about to experience a grab for energy.

3. Explain the rules: Say to the class,
a. Each round will be 20 seconds long. (Drop all the pieces of paper on the floor.) Tell the students: there will be four rounds. In the last round each team will be allowed to have two players. Tell the students: the fewer the colored pieces of paper, the scarcer the natural recourse.
b. One member of each team will compete together to pick up as many pieces of colored paper as is possible in a round. Students can take turns picking up paper.
c. Write on the board the color code as follows:
white is water, (hydro)
yellow is solar
red is nuclear
blue is petroleum
black is coal
Remind the students; the fewer the colored pieces of paper the scarcer the natural recourse. Points for each color is as follows: (but donít tell the students yet)
yellow is 5
white is 4
red is 3
blue is 2
black is 1

4. Run the game. Allow 20 seconds for each round. Between rounds allow 3 minutes for totaling up the points and amounts of each color.

5. After the 2nd round write on the board the following point schedule for the colors
yellow is 5
white is 4
red is 3
blue is 2
black is 1

6. Run at least 4 rounds. During the 3rd and 4th rounds the energy grab will become more sophisticated. Give points as explained in the formative assessment. The team with the most points wins, not the most pieces of paper.

7. Ask the students again if greed is a factor in the consumption of natural resources. Ask them to describe how they behaved in the last round. Next, tell them that the papers on the floor represent all the energy resources on our planet.

8. Ask them what will happen when all the resources are used up.

This experiment produces varied results and new student predictions each time. It will open the door for many discussions, but the lesson to be taught is that resourses are finite, and limited and so must be shared, conserved and new technologies must be found to use resources more effeciently in the future.


Students will demonstrate an increased organizational skill level with each round. Team members will begin to instruct the member picking up pieces of paper. Score each teams progress in organizing according to the following:
Give points at the end of each round according to the color of the paper as stated in the procedure,for example:
3 white papers is 3X4= 12 points
Summative: Pre and Post test of 5 questions (see attached file).

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Web supplement for The Energy Grab Game

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