Books for Teachers & Parents

ENERGY, ECONOMICS, AND THE ENVIRONMENT, by the Council for Economic Education

Energy, Economics and the Environment - ElementaryThe nonprofit Council for Economic Education publishes the book, Energy, Economics, and the Environment, which is geared toward grades 3-6. The lesson plans give teachers the tools — and students the knowledge they need — to analyze important and timely energy and environment issues from an economics perspective. The book contains four units: Unit 1 focuses on basic economic content that introduces students to fundamental economics concepts using lessons from the popular Playful Economics curriculum. Finally, there are three complete units covering: Forests, Water, and Energy. A high school edition is also available. Both books can be purchased in hard copy or eBook format from the Council for Economic Education’s store:

ENERGY FOR KEEPS, by The Energy Education Group

EnergyforKeepsEnergy for Keeps is an illustrated guide for grades 6 to 12 that provides classroom lessons on all renewable energy resources: biomass, geothermal, hydropower, ocean, solar and wind. Also included are a brief history of energy, nonrenewable energy resources, how energy choices affect our health and the environment, and how energy decisions affect our lives. Free, downloadable student activities are also available on Energy for Keeps’ website. The book and activities are inquiry-based and multi-disciplinary, including: earth science, environmental science, physical science, social studies, math, and language arts. Teacher Resources: For more information, including how to order the book, visit:

INVESTIGATING SOLAR ENERGY, by Vernier Software and Technology

Investigating Solar EnergyInvestigating Solar Energy contains nine hands-on experiments and two culminating engineering projects that enable students to learn about solar energy and develop solutions to real-world problems. Vernier Software & Technology has been a leading global innovator of scientific data-collection technology for 35 years. Focused on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), Vernier is dedicated to developing creative ways to teach and learn using hands-on science. Web Link:

THE GREAT TRANSITION: SHIFTING FROM FOSSIL FUELS TO SOLAR AND WIND ENERGY, by Lester R. Brown, with Janet Larson, J. Matthew Roney, and Emily E. Adams

Great TransitionThe great energy transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy is underway, and a new global energy economy is emerging. The Great Transition details the accelerating pace of this energy transformation. Each chapter of the book is available for free download at the Earth Policy Institute’s website, along with additional resources. Lester R. Brown founded the Earth Policy Institute in 2001 to create a global plan for a sustainable future. Download the book here: 


Let it ShineMany people think of solar as a twentieth-century wonder. Few realize that the first photovoltaic array appeared on a New York City rooftop in 1884, or that brilliant engineers in France were using solar power in the 1860s to run steam engines, or that in 1901 an ostrich farmer in Southern California used a single solar engine to irrigate three hundred acres of citrus trees. Fewer still know that Leonardo de Vinci planned to make his fortune by building half-mile-long mirrors to heat water, or that the Bronze Age Chinese used hand-sized solar-concentrating mirrors to light fires the way we use matches and lighters today. With thirteen new chapters, Let It Shine is a fully revised and expanded edition of A Golden Thread, Perlin’s classic history of solar technology.

SOLAR COOKERS: HOW TO MAKE, USE AND ENJOY, Solar Cookers International 

Solar CookersThe nonprofit Solar Cookers International provides this guidebook, the 10th edition, as a free download at the link below. Contributors include educators, engineers, and long-time solar cooks. Most of them have served as volunteers with Solar Cookers International. The contents include: the benefits of solar cooking; different types of solar cookers and how they work; how to make two models of solar cookers; solar recipes and cooking tips; ideas for teachers and instructions for making a quick demonstration solar cooker; and a brief history of solar cooking. Download the free guidebook as a PDF or order a print copy here:

by Michael Boxwell

Solar Electricity Handbook 2016With no prior knowledge required, this handbook provides a step-by-step guide for designing and installing a photovoltaic solar system. The book has been used all around the world, designing systems as diverse as providing entire African villages with electricity, powering vending machines, building grid-tied systems for housing, building a one-of solar electric car and creating lighting for an allotment shed. A website accompanies the book, which provides solar calculators and online tools to help simplify the solar design and installation processes. Readers can also get in touch with the author directly to ask questions and get further support with their solar projects.


Solar IISolar II includes easy-to-follow directions with over 150 black & white photos, illustrations and schematics. Author Phillip Hurley tells readers how to:

  • Calculate daily electrical usage and needs
  • Plan and size your solar electric system
  • Build racks and charge controllers
  • Mount and orient PV panels
  • Wire solar panel arrays
  • Make a ventilated battery box
  • Wire battery arrays for solar panels
  • Install an inverter
  • Maintain solar batteries for optimum life and performance
  • Make your own combiner box, bus bars, and DC and AC service boxes


Using STEMIn this 128-page book, geared toward grades 5-8, students use science inquiry and integrated activities, solve real-world problems, and explore careers in alternative energy. The book includes topics such as energy issues, oil spill cleanup, air power, solar power, biomass fuels, and hydrogen fuels. It supports National Science Education Standards, as well as National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) and International Technology Education Association (ITEA) standards and aligns with state standards.