Ready to Save The Planet?

Consider the Source


Less than 30 Minutes


From the comfort and safety of your home


Throughout the year




Youth-led initiatives help make changes that are long-term and sustainable. You have the power to make a difference!


Use two types of beans to represent energy generated from different resources in the United States - one to represent renewable resources and the other to represent nonrenewable resources. Go through various scenarios that affect the depletion of these resources to discover the negative and positive effects of using each.


  • Energy Consumption Data Charts - If you do not have access to a printer, copy the pages’ content onto a blank piece of paper.
  • 1 bowl, or any open container
  • 100 beans - 80 beans of one color & 20 beans of another color
  • Blindfold



Learn about renewable vs. nonrenewable resources while considering the sustainability factor for each. Analyze and understand the consumption of energy resources and their impacts on Earth.


Sound like fun?VIEW INSTRUCTIONS to get started.
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Your Challenge: Use beans to calculate energy use across different scenarios. 

  1. About 80% of our energy comes from nonrenewable resources such as coal and natural gas  in the U.S. The remaining 20% forms from renewable and nuclear energy sources. First, fill an open container with 100 beans, 80 of one color representing the energy from nonrenewable resources and 20 of another color representing renewable resources. 
  2. Once placed in the container, have the Energy Consumer put a blindfold over their eyes to represent how we blindly use energy without thinking of how we get it. The Data Collector will guide the Energy Consumer through different scenarios from the Data Charts to pull beans from the container as energy is being used. 
  3. Complete Data Chart 1: Energy Consumption Remains Consistent Scenario.
    • This scenario represents a constant rate of energy use with no population growth, no increase in the number of energy-using gadgets, and no industrial growth. Each year, remove the same amount of beans from the container. Predict how many years it will take to deplete nonrenewable beans in the container and record observations.
    • The renewable beans pulled will be returned to the container and counted for the year. The Data Collector will record the number of renewable and nonrenewable beans in the container after each year. Continue this process until only renewable beans remain in the container. Take the blindfold off.
    • Calculate the percentages of renewable and nonrenewable beans that remain in the container after each year. Record the number of years it took to deplete all nonrenewable beans and compare the predictions' results.
  4. Take a look at Data Chart #2: Energy Consumption Increases Every Year Scenario.
    • In this scenario, there is a population with increasing energy demands. Think of all the electronics, appliances, and gadgets you use that need power. This scenario is more representative of the U.S and similarly developed nations.
    • Follow the same steps as the first round and develop a new prediction about how many years it will take to deplete nonrenewable beans in the container. Remember, renewable beans get to go back into the container! 
  5. Finally, design a way to extend the use of energy resources for as long as possible in this scenario. Use Data Chart #3 and #4.
    Note, this activity is only a representation. It do