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Electricity Conservation and You

Elementary, Middle

Description

In this comprehensive ESD resource students explore how they use electricity in their lives. They assess renewable and non-renewable energy sources, identify the societal, environmental, and economic impacts of our energy use, explore the causes and consequences of climate change, investigate strategies for reducing energy consumption and carry out action plans designed to conserve electricity in school and at home.

The resource is divided into four parts, each consisting of several activities. Teachers can choose to complete all activities in sequence or select individual sections. A brief description of the activities follow.

  • Students create a mind map under the heading, “Energy Use in Our Lives” to help address misconceptions they have concerning energy use and conservation.
  • Students discuss various sources of energy and compare energy consumption for each provinces and territory. They create posters to show the advantages and disadvantages of the different sources. Students then research the merits and challenges of the different types of renewable energy and as a class, organize all of the energy options according to the principles of a diamond ranking.
  • Students conduct a simple experiment to demonstrate the greenhouse effect and create murals to illustrate their understanding of climate change.  Activities are included to investigate the various impacts of climate change and demonstrate the relationship between energy use and global warming.  Students also record their daily energy use on a 24-hour clock, before implementing an energy reduction plan.  As part of this exercise they identify  the social, economic, and environmental benefits of energy conservation and evaluate the challenges involved in achieving greater energy efficiency.
  • As a final project, students develop and execute a school  energy audit.  Based on their findings, they implement an energy conservation plan and make recommendations that could further reduce electricity use at school.  A second audit is recommended and the data compared to the first results. 
  • A number of additional action project ideas are included

General Assessment

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

  • Identifying and suggesting solutions for local and environmental problems
  • Creative/critical thinking strategies
  • Organizing and correctly using materials to collect reliable data
  • Analyzing and interpreting patterns in data
  • Working cooperatively with team members to develop and carry out a plan
  • Identifying further problems or issues to be investigated
  • Selecting and integrating information from various print and electronic sources
  • Engaging in and responding to oral presentations

Strengths

  • Learning package is up-to-date, interesting, and relevant
  • Excellent background information with strong links to other resources
  • Videos are included
  • Graphic organizer provided for research
  • Data collection sheets for activities are provided
  • Excellent reflection and discussion questions are included which encourage open-ended solutions promoting action
  • Good link to ESSAP guide engaging students in sustainable action projects
  • Sample calculations provided for teachers
  • LSF will lend kilowatt meters and also provides the link to purchase them
  • Strong action opportunities with a multi-disciplinary approach
  • Provided different ways to collect information- experiments, readings, group discussions, reflections, computer research
  • Has local focus

Weaknesses

  • Assessment tools will need to be developed

Recommendation of how and where to use it

This resource could be used in middle level science classes to meet outcomes addressing sustainable energy production, conservation of electricity, climate change, and biodiversity. It could also be used in geography and social studies classes to emphasize the link between human activity and environmental and social sustainability. Eco-clubs and science clubs could also use the audits and action plan suggestions to promote real change in their communities.

Relevant Curriculum Units

The following tool will allow you to explore the relevant curriculum matches for this resource. To start, select a province listed below.

  • Step 1Select a province
  • Alberta
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 5
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Electricity and Magnetism
        • Mechanisms Using Electricity
    • Grade 7
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Heat and Temperature
  • British Columbia
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 4
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 4:Energy can be transformed
    • Grade 7
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 7: Earth and its climate have changed over geological time
        • Science 7:The electromagnetic force produces both electricity and magnetism
  • Manitoba
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 6
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Electricity
  • New Brunswick
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 6
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Electricity
  • Newfoundland & Labrador
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 6
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Electricity
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • World Issues
  • Northwest Territories
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 5
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Energy and Control: Conservation of Energy
    • Grade 6
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Energy and Control: Electricity
    • Grade 7
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Heat and Temperature
  • Nova Scotia
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 6
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Social Studies 6: World Issues
  • Nunavut
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 5
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Energy and Control: Conservation of Energy
    • Grade 6
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Energy and Control: Electricity
    • Grade 7
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Heat and Temperature
  • Ontario
  • Prince Edward Island
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 6
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Electricity
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • World Issues
  • Quebec
  • Saskatchewan
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 6
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 6: Physical Science: Understanding Electricity
    • Grade 7
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 7: Physical Science: Heat and Temperature
  • Yukon Territory
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 6
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Electricity
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Canada and the World: Skills and processes of Social Studies
    • Grade 7
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Applications of SS

Themes Addressed

  • Air, Atmosphere & Climate (1)

    • Climate Change
  • Citizenship (2)

    • Community-Building and Participation
    • General Guide to Taking Action
  • Energy (3)

    • Alternative Energy
    • Energy Generation
    • Energy Use

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Good

Students are given a wide range of information about electricity generation and consumption, and are asked to interpret real life data in drawing conclusions.

Consideration of Alternative Perspectives:
  • Satisfactory: absence of bias towards any one point of view
  • Good: students consider different points of view regarding issues, problems discussed
  • Very good: based on the consideration of different views, students form opinions and  take an informed position
Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions Good

Students specifically examine the economic, social and environmental benefits of electricity conservation.

Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions:

Effectively addresses the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.

  • Satisfactory: resource supports the examination of  these dimensions
  • Good:  resource explicitly examines the interplay of these dimensions
  • Very Good:  a systems-thinking approach is encouraged to examine these three dimensions
Respects Complexity Good

Students are encouraged to recognize the complex interaction between human activity and the natural world with regards to energy use and the repercussions of climate change, caused by using non-renewable energy sources. 

Respects Complexity:

The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected.

Acting on Learning Very Good
Acting on Learning:

Learning moves from understanding  issues  to working towards positive change — in personal lifestyle, in school, in the community,  or for the planet

  • Satisfactory: action opportunities are included as extensions 
  • Good: action opportunities are core components of the resource
  • Very Good: action opportunities for students are well supported and intended to result in observable, positive change
Values Education Satisfactory
Values Education:

Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.

Empathy & Respect for Humans Satisfactory
Empathy & Respect for Humans: Empathy and respect are fostered for diverse groups of humans (including different genders, ethnic groups, sexual preferences, etc.).
Personal Affinity with Earth Good

 The resource emphasizes the environmental problems associated with climate change and the need to care for the planet.

Personal Affinity with Earth:

Encourages a personal affinity with -the natural world.  

  • Satisfactory: connection is made to the natural world
  • Good: fosters appreciation/concern for the natural world
  • Very Good: fosters stewardship though practical and respectful experiences out-of-doors 
Locally-Focused Learning Very Good

The energy audits- personal, school and at home bring local focus and are relevant to the learner. The change needs to start with their own lifestyle choices.

Locally-Focused Learning:

Includes learning experiences that take advantage of issues/elements within the local community. 

  • Satisfactory: learning is made relevant to the lives of the learners
  • Good: learning is made relevant and has a local focus
  • Very Good: learning is made relevant, local and takes place ‘outside’ , in the community 
Past, Present & Future Satisfactory

Present day situations with regards to energy production and consumption are researched and evaluated. The environmental consequences of climate change are also examined. Students are asked to make changes in their energy use and encourage others to do the same in order to have a more positive visoin for the future.

Past, Present & Future: Promotes an understanding of the past, a sense of the present, and a positive vision for the future.

Pedagogical Approaches

Principle Rating Explanation
Open-Ended Instruction Good

Students plan and implement the energy audit, then examine the data for possible areas of improvement. They then decide what measures  should be taken to decrease energy consumption, and re-audit. Students are encouraged to develop their own thoughts and opinions, and plans for action.

Open-Ended Instruction :

Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible; students are not steered toward one 'right' answer.

Integrated Learning Good

Although primarily a science resource, there opportunities to address outcomes in math, language arts, art, geography and social studies.

Integrated Learning:

Learning brings together content and skills  from more than one  subject area

  • Satisfactory: content from a number of different  subject areas is readily identifiable
  • Good:  resource is appropriate for use in more than one subject area
  • Very Good:  the lines between subjects are blurred 
Inquiry Learning Good

Students do brainstorming activities, research projects, group investigations and first-hand experimentation.

Inquiry Learning:

Learning is directed by questions, problems, or challenges that students work to address.   

  • Satisfactory: Students are provided with questions/problems to solve and some direction on how to arrive at solutions.
  • Good: students, assisted by the teacher clarify the question(s) to ask and the process to follow to arrive at solutions.  Sometimes referred to as Guided Inquiry
  • Very Good:  students generate the questions and assume much of the responsibility for how to solve them.  . Sometimes referred to as self-directed learning.

 

Differentiated Instruction Good

A variety of approaches are used involving demonstrations, reading, writing, and listening activities, developing their own audit plans and hands-on learning, but no suggestions are given for learners with difficulties.

Differentiated Instruction:

Activities address a range of student learning styles, abilities and readiness.

  • Satisfactory:  includes a variety of instructional approaches
  • Good: addresses  the needs of visual, auditory &  kinesthetic learners
  • Very Good: also includes strategies for learners with difficulties
Experiential Learning Very Good

Experimentation involving the greenhouse effect and measuring energy requirements for small appliances provide real world context, and the student-lead energy audits address real world problems outside of the classroom.

Experiential Learning:

Authentic learning experiences are provided

  • Satisfactory: learning takes place through ‘hands-on’ experience or simulation
  • Good: learning involves direct experience in a ‘real world context’
  • Very good: learning involves ‘real world experiences’ taking place’ beyond the school walls.
Cooperative Learning Good
Cooperative Learning:

Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.

  • Satisfactory:  students work in groups
  • Good: cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught and practiced
  • Very Good: cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught, practiced and assessed
Assessment & Evaluation Satisfactory

There are lots of discussion and reflection questions provided, but suggested answers are not given. There are no rubrics provided for assessment.

Assessment & Evaluation: Tools are provided that help students and teachers to capture formative and summative information about students' learning and performance. These tools may include reflection questions, checklists, rubrics, etc.
Peer Teaching Satisfactory
Peer Teaching:

Provides opportunities for students to actively present their knowledge and skills to peers and/or act as teachers and mentors.

  • Satisfactory: incidental teaching that arises from cooperative learning, presentations, etc.
  • Good or Very Good: an opportunity is intentionally created to empower students to teach other students/community members. The audience is somehow reliant on the students' teaching (students are not simply ‘presenting')
Case Studies Satisfactory

There are some case studies, but they lack detail.

Case Studies:

Relevant case studies are included.  Case studies are thorough descriptions of real events from real situations that students use to explore  concepts in an authentic context.

Locus of Control Good

The students are given choice in research projects and in the medium in which they work. They must plan their own energy audit.

Locus of Control: Meaningful opportunities are provided for students to choose elements of program content, the medium in which they wish to work, and/or to go deeper into a chosen issue.