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Energy Conservation Learning Activities- Middle School

Elementary, Middle

Description

This resource provides a grade by grade progression of ecological concepts related to energy conservation. 

Grade 4:  The students  participate in an interactive activity in which they physically map out a diverse forested area in their classroom.  They then slowly reduce the space to simulate a loss of habitat and discuss the impact this has on various species.

Grade 5:  The students work individually, with a partner and in small cooperative groups to explore different energy forms.  They learn the pros and cons of non renewable and renewable sources of energy by playing an Energy Trivia Game and the Sunlight Rays and Pipelines Game (based on Snakes and Ladders).

Grade 6:  The students match common appliances with their energy consumption.  They also learn about the different types of light bulbs (incandescent versus fluorescent) and compare their energy efficiency through a hands-on experiment.

Grade 7:  In this activity the students construct a 'pizza box' solar oven and bake a snack to demonstrate the heating capacity of the greenhouse effect.

Grade 8:  In this activity students consider the environmental impacts of product manufacturing with particular attention given to the energy inputs that manufacturing entails.  They study posters that describe the life cycles of a cell phone, soccer ball and a DVD.  They then research the life cycle of a product of their choice.  They also make paper to get hands-on experience with the life cycle of a product.

All activities are supported by a variety of supplementary materials.

General Assessment

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

The focus of this resource does not highlight the teaching of skills.

Strengths

  • All materials are provided
  • Engaging and thought-provoking activities
  • Hands on experiments
  • Should an Internet link be broken or suspect, the resource gives suggestions on how to find  information elsewhere
  • Additional activities and/or resources for the teacher
  • In depth explanations are given for the teacher

Weaknesses

  • No assessment tools are provided
  • Lack of a well developed action project

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.

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  • Alberta
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    • Grade 6
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Matter and Energy: Understandings of the physical world are deepened through investigating matter and energy
    • Grade 7
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      • Science
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        • Heat and Temperature
        • Interactions and Ecosystems
  • Manitoba
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    • Grade 4
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      • Science
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        • Habitat and Communities
    • Grade 6
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      • Science
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        • Electricity
    • Grade 7
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Interactions Within Ecosystems
        • Particle Theory of Matter
  • New Brunswick
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    • Grade 3
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      • Science
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        • Science 3.Our Local Environment: Science Technology Society and Environment (STSE)
        • Science 3: Our Local Environment:Scientific Literacy
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      • Social Studies
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        • Social Studies: Exploring our World
  • Newfoundland & Labrador
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    • Grade 4
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        • Habitats
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        • Exploring Our World
    • Grade 7
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      • Science
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        • Heat
        • Interaction of Ecosystems
  • Northwest Territories
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    • Grade 5
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Energy and Control: Conservation of Energy
    • Grade 6
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Energy and Control: Electricity
    • Grade 7
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Heat and Temperature
  • Nova Scotia
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    • Grade 4
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      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Social Studies 4: Humans and the Physical Environment
    • Grade 6
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  • Nunavut
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    • Grade 4
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Life Systems: Habitats & Communities
    • Grade 5
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Energy and Control: Conservation of Energy
    • Grade 6
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Energy and Control: Electricity
    • Grade 7
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Heat and Temperature
        • Interactions and Ecosystems
  • Ontario
  • Prince Edward Island
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 4
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Habitats
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Exploring Our World
    • Grade 6
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Electricity
    • Grade 7
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Heat
        • Interactions Within Ecosystems
  • Quebec
  • Saskatchewan
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    • Grade 4
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Habitats and Communities
    • Grade 6
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 6: Physical Science: Understanding Electricity
    • Grade 7
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 7: Life Science: Interactions within Ecosystems
        • Science 7: Physical Science: Heat and Temperature

Themes Addressed

  • Citizenship (1)

    • Sustainable Consumption
  • Ecosystems (3)

    • Appreciating the Natural World
    • Endangered Species
    • Habitat Loss
  • Energy (3)

    • Alternative Energy
    • Energy Generation
    • Energy Use
  • Land Use & Natural Resources (2)

    • Forests
    • Sustainable Urbanization

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Very Good
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

The resource does not explicitly address the economic aspects of the different energy types.

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 Very Good

The activities in the resource do a very good job of highlighting how one decision or action impacts another facet of our lives.

Respects Complexity:

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

Acting on Learning Satisfactory
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 Very Good

The students are presented with realistic situations and enough information in order to form their own opinions and to learn about how they can make a difference.

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 the 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 Very Good

The hands-on activities allow the students to see the problems discussed in the resource from a different point of view.

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 Good

The topics that are discussed can be easily applied to the lives of the learners.

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

The students are given realistic situations to deal with and about which to make decisions.  They are encouraged to think with the ideas that they can make a difference.

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 students are allowed to explore the issues and to develop their own ideas.

Open-Ended Instruction :

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

Integrated Learning Good

The traditional subject areas that are covered include but are not limited to Language Arts, Science, Social Studies and Geography.

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
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 activities presented in the resource allow for a broad range of learning styles to be addressed during the classes; however, there are no accommodations suggested for struggling learners.

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

The hands-on activities that are provided in the resource allow the students to explore the problems of energy conservation at their level and this allows the students to develop a good understanding of the issues.

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

There is no guidance or tools given as to the assessment of the acquired skills.

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 Good

Not all of the activities can be considered case studies but those used in Grades 4, 7 and 8 are well suited for real life applications.

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

There is some choice given at certain grade levels.  For example in the Grade 8 activity the students can choose the product they wish to research for the final activity.

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.