Powerless lesson plan

1.2 billion people on the planet have no – or little – access to electricity. In this two part activity students research the causes and implications of energy poverty and identify potential solutions, then use their comprehension skills to write a campaigning article on the topic.

Download the student worksheet in the related resources section below the curriculum links

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  • Age groups: 11-14s
  • Subjects: English, Geography, Science
  • Topics: Energy



KS3 English


Pupils should be taught to: 

·        understand increasingly challenging texts through:

o   learning new vocabulary, relating it explicitly to known vocabulary and understanding it with the help of context and dictionaries 

o   making inferences and referring to evidence in the text 

o   knowing the purpose, audience for and context of the writing and drawing on this knowledge to support comprehension 

o   checking their understanding to make sure that what they have read makes sense.



Pupils should be taught to: 

  • write accurately, fluently, effectively and at length for pleasure and information through:
  • writing for a wide range of purposes and audiences, including: 
  • a range of other narrative and non-narrative texts, including arguments, and personal and formal letters 
  • summarising and organising material, and supporting ideas and arguments with any necessary factual detail 
  • applying their growing knowledge of vocabulary, grammar and text structure to their writing and selecting the appropriate form 
  • drawing on knowledge of literary and rhetorical devices from their reading and listening to enhance the impact of their writing 
  • plan, draft, edit and proof-read through: 
  • considering how their writing reflects the audiences and purposes for which it was intended 
  • amending the vocabulary, grammar and structure of their writing to improve its coherence and overall effectiveness 
  • paying attention to accurate grammar, punctuation and spelling; applying the spelling patterns and rules set out in English Appendix 1 to the key stage 1 and 2 programmes of study for English. 


KS3 Science



Calculation of fuel uses and costs in the domestic context

  • Domestic fuel bills, fuel use and costs
  • Fuels and energy resources. 


KS3 Geography

Locational knowledge

·        Extend their locational knowledge and deepen their spatial awareness of the world’s countries using maps of the world to focus on Africa, Russia, Asia (including China and India), and the Middle East, focusing on their environmental regions, including polar and hot deserts, key physical and human characteristics, countries and major cities 


Human and physical geography

  • Understand, through the use of detailed place-based exemplars at a variety of scales, the key processes in:
    • human geography relating to: population and urbanisation; international development; economic activity in the primary, secondary, tertiary and quaternary sectors; and the use of natural resources
  • Understand how human and physical processes interact to influence, and change landscapes, environments and the climate; and how human activity relies on effective functioning of natural systems




Literacy and English


Finding and using information

Using what I know about the features of different types of texts, I can find, select, sort, summarise, link and use information from different sources.

LIT 3-14a

I can make notes and organise them to develop my thinking, help retain and recall information, explore issues and create new texts, using my own words as appropriate.

LIT 3-15a


Understanding, analysing and evaluating

To show my understanding across different areas of learning, I can:

·        identify and consider the purpose, main concerns or concepts and use supporting detail

·        make inferences from key statements

·        identify and discuss similarities and differences between different types of text.

LIT 3-16a

To help me develop an informed view, I am exploring the techniques used to influence my opinion. I can recognise persuasion and assess the reliability of information and credibility and value of my sources.

LIT 3-18a



Tools for writing

I can use a range of strategies and resources and spell most of the words I need to use, including specialist vocabulary, and ensure that my spelling is accurate.

LIT 3-21a

As appropriate to my purpose and type of text, I can punctuate and structure different types of sentences with sufficient accuracy, and arrange these to make meaning clear, showing straightforward relationships between paragraphs.

LIT 3-22a

Throughout the writing process, I can review and edit my writing to ensure that it meets its purpose and communicates meaning at first reading.

LIT 3-23a

I can consider the impact that layout and presentation will have on my reader, selecting and using a variety of features appropriate to purpose and audience.

LIT 3-24a


Organising and using information

I can use notes and other types of writing to generate and develop ideas, retain and recall information, explore problems, make decisions, generate and develop ideas or create original text.


I recognise when it is appropriate to quote from sources and when I should put points into my own words. I can acknowledge my sources appropriately.

LIT 3-25a

By considering the type of text I am creating, I can independently select ideas and relevant information for different purposes, and organise essential information or ideas and any supporting detail in a logical order. I can use suitable vocabulary to communicate effectively with my audience.

LIT 3-26a


Creating texts

I can engage and/or influence readers through my use of language, style and tone as appropriate to genre.

ENG 3-27a

I can convey information, describe events, explain processes or concepts, and combine ideas in different ways.

LIT 3-28a

I can persuade, argue, evaluate, explore issues or express an opinion using a clear line of thought, relevant supporting detail and/or evidence.

LIT 3-29a



Planet Earth

Energy sources and sustainability

By investigating renewable energy sources and taking part in practical activities to harness them, I can discuss their benefits and potential problems.

SCN 3-04b


Social Studies

People, place and environment

I can identify the possible consequences of an environmental issue and make informed suggestions about ways to manage the impact.

SOC 3-08a

I can compare the social and economic differences between more and less economically-developed countries and can discuss the possibilities for reducing these differences.

SOC 3-11a


People in society, economy and business

I can explain why a group I have identified might experience inequality and can suggest ways in which this inequality might be addressed.

SOC 3-16a

I can describe how the interdependence of countries affects levels of development, considering the effects on people’s lives.

SOC 3-19a




KS3 English


Locating, selecting and using information

Responding to what has been read



Organising ideas and information

Writing accurately


KS3 Geography

Understanding places, environments and processes

Pupils should be given opportunities to:

·        explain the causes and effects of physical and human processes and how the processes interrelate



Pupils should be given opportunities to:

·        Identify and establish sequences of questions for investigation



Pupils should be given opportunities to:

  • Develop opinions and understand that people have different values, attitudes and points of view on geographical issues

Pupils develop their geographical skills, knowledge and understanding through learning about places, environments and issues at a range of scales in selected locations within Wales, the European Union and the wider world.

Pupils should be given opportunities to:


  • The rich and poor world: economic development in different locations/countries
  • Tomorrow’s citizens: issues in Wales and the wider world of living sustainably and the responsibilities of being a global citizen

Carry out

  • Investigations into ‘geography in the news’, topical events and issues in the locality and the wider world

Ask and answer the questions

  • How and why is this place/environment changing? What might happen next, in the short/long term and why?
  • How do environments and people interact?
  • How can changes be sustainable and why is it important for this place/environment?


KS3 Personal and Social Education

Active citizenship

Learners should be given opportunities to:

·        be moved by injustice, exploitation and denial of human rights

And to understand:

·        topical local and global issues.


Sustainable development and global citizenship

Learners should be given opportunities to:

·        Develop a sense of personal responsibility towards local and global issues

And to understand:

·        the key issues of sustainable development and global citizenship, e.g. climate change, and the need to reflect on personal decisions about lifestyle choices

·        global issues which threaten the planet, e.g. inequalities of wealth


KS3 Science

Interdependence of organisms

Pupils use and develop their skills, knowledge and understanding by investigating how humans are independent yet rely on other organisms for survival, applying this to life in countries with different levels of economic development.

They should be given opportunities to study:

·        How human activity affects the global environment, e.g. acid rain, greenhouse effect, and the measures taken to minimise any negative effects and monitor them, e.g. by Earth observation satellites

·        Applications of science, medicine and technology that are used to improve health and the quality of life, including those in countries with different levels of economic development.


How things work

Pupils should use and develop their skills, knowledge and understanding by investigating the science involved in a range of contemporary devices/machines and evaluate different energy resources and possibilities.

They should be given opportunities to study:

·        How renewable and non-renewable energy resources are used to generate electricity and the implications of decisions made about their use

·        Technologies under development, which may lead to more efficient use of energy resources or using them in new ways




KS3 Language and Literacy: English with Media Education

  • Reading and viewing for key ideas, enjoyment, engagement and empathy;
  • Writing and presenting in different media and for different audiences and purposes;
  • Developing their knowledge of how language works and their accuracy in using the conventions of language, including spelling, punctuation and grammar;
  • Using a range of techniques, forms and media to convey information creatively and appropriately.
  • Engage, through language, with their peers and with fictional and real-life characters and situations, to explore their own emotions and develop creative potential
  • Explore and respond to others’ emotions as encountered in literature, the media, moving image and peer discussion
  • Explore the use of language and imagery in conveying and evoking a variety of powerful feelings


Explore issues related to Personal Health

Consider the effectiveness of language in current health campaigns, for example, explore the use of imagery and emotive language in posters, leaflets, television, etc.

Create a campaign to promote a health and safety issue


Explore issues related to Moral Character

  • Demonstrate a willingness to challenge stereotypical, biased or distorted viewpoints with appropriately sensitive, informed and balanced responses
  • Explore the power of a range of communication techniques to inform, entertain, influence and persuade


Explore issues related to Ethical Awareness

  • Investigate and evaluate communication techniques used to explore a relevant ethical issue
  • Investigate the importance of communication skills in life/work situations
  • Plan and create an effective communication campaign
  • Explore issues related to Economic Awareness


KS3 Environment and Society: Geography


Develop a sense of place through the study of:

  •      range of local, national, European and global contexts;
  •      contrasting physical and human environments;
  •      issues of topical significance;

In order to develop an understanding of:

  •       the interrelationships between physical and human environments;
  •       the dynamic nature of physical and human environments;
  •       the ways in which places are interdependent;
  •       the need for social, economic and environmental change to be sustainable.


Explore issues related to Personal Health

Investigate factors that impact on personal health locally, for example, location, pollution, lifestyle, etc.

Explore the influences on global patterns of health, for example, poverty, Aids, access to clean water, education, etc.


Investigate differences in lifestyle within and between countries.

Explore how we can play a role in helping to promote a fairer world for all


Develop an understanding of how people in different places interact with their environment


Explore issues related to Ethical Awareness

Research and debate ethical issues in geography, for example, world debt, nuclear power, population policies, use of non-renewable resources, etc.


Investigate the impact of conflict between social, economic and environmental needs, both locally and globally for example, erosion, flooding, pollution, loss of biodiversity, climate change, desertification, deforestation, etc.

Explore how we can exercise environmental stewardship and help promote a better quality of life for present and future generations, both locally and globally


KS3 Science and Technology: Science

Research scientific information from a range of sources

Learn about:

Earth and Universe

·        The environment and human influences


Investigate the effects of pollution, for example, water, air, land, sound etc. and specific measures to improve and protect the environment, for example, renewable energy, efficient use of resources, waste minimisation, etc.