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Our Environmental Footprint: Energy

Elementary

Description

Through a variety of activities, students learn about different sources of energy and the amount of energy that they consume every day.  This lesson plan contains six short activities:

  • What is Energy? Students learn where electricity comes from and the difference between renewable and non-renewable energy via a discussion of photos.                                         
  • Ranking Appliances - students brainstorm a list of appliances that are common in most homes.  They then focus on a list of 5 and estimate which consumes the most to least energy.  Afterwards, the energy consumption of each appliance is shared.                                                                                              
  • Wasting Without Knowing - Students will compare two types of light bulbs: incandescent and CFL .                                   
  •  In Limbo - Students will line up for a limbo contest and choose an energy use card.  If the card is an inefficient use of energy, the limbo stick goes down, and if it is an efficient use the stick goes up.                                                                             
  • Count Yourself In! Students will choose five goals to lower their energy consumption.                                                    
  • Walk About - Students take part in a “green energy hunt” to find how much renewable energy is being used in the community.

 

 

General Assessment

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

The focus of this lesson plan is to build awareness and knowledge rather than skills.

Strengths

This lesson plan is easy to use and also gives the teacher a fair amount of background information.  In addition, all of the required materials are provided to facilitate planning.

Weaknesses

There is a lack of assessment tools and suggestions for learners experiencing difficulties.

Recommendation of how and where to use it

As this is one lesson in a eight part series, it could stand alone as an introduction to energy for the teacher.  The entire series of lessons could be a focus during a unit around Earth Day and Earth Hour.

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 1
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Investigating matter and energy facilitates understandings of natural phenomena and can inspire discovery and innovation.
  • British Columbia
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 1
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 1: Matter is useful because of its properties.
    • Grade 2
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 2: Materials can be changed through physical and chemical processes
    • Grade 3
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 3: Thermal energy can be produced and transferred.
  • New Brunswick
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 1
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • You and Your World: Our Environment
  • Northwest Territories
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Kindergarten
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Structure & Mechanism: Machines Around Us
    • Grade 1
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Energy and Control: Energy in our Lives
    • Grade 2
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Energy and Control: Energy from Wind and Moving Water
  • Nunavut
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Kindergarten
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Structure & Mechanism: Machines Around Us
    • Grade 1
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Energy and Control: Energy in our Lives
  • Ontario
  • Quebec
  • Yukon Territory
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 3
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 3: Thermal energy can be produced and transferred.

Themes Addressed

  • Energy (2)

    • Energy Generation
    • Energy Use

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Good

While the students are learning about the different types of energy, they are presented with all of the information regarding the pros and cons of each type.

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
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

Considering the focus age group of the lesson, this component is respected.

Respects Complexity:

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

Acting on Learning Good

As part of the activity The Environmental Footprint Tree, the students choose ways to reduce their energy consumption.

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 Good

There are points in the lesson plan for the students to self-reflect and evaluate their own energy use.  This allows them to clarify their own values on the topic.

Values Education:

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

Empathy & Respect for Humans Poor/Not considered

This is not a focus of this resource.

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
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

This resource allows the students to evaluate their habits at home as well as discover renewable energy resources in their community.

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 Good
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 Very Good

The nature of the discussion questions allows the students to explore their thoughts and ideas on the topic.

Open-Ended Instruction :

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

Integrated Learning Satisfactory

This resource is identifiable primarily as a Science resource.

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 Satisfactory
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

The variety of activities allows for all students to participate; however, there are no strategies included 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 Satisfactory
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 Satisfactory
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 Poor/Not considered

Unfortunately, there are no suggestions or tools for assessment included in this resource.

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 Poor/Not considered

This is not a focus of this resource.

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 Poor/Not considered

This is not considered in this resource due to the nature of the target audience.

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.