Thursday, March 12, 2009

EnerAction: Lessons and Activities in Energy Conservation

This expansive resource on energy conservation and efficiency meets learning outcomes for Grades 4 to 7. The student website and 11 lesson plans give you a range of ways to approach energy in the classroom. Learn more.

Teacher's Guide

Teacher's GuideThe Teacher's Guide tells you what you need to know to bring the EnerAction lessons and activities to your classroom.

  • Why EnerAction?
  • Quickstart Checklist
  • Technical Requirements
  • Making Curriculum Connections
  • Choosing Lessons & Activities
  • Assessing Student Achievement

Lesson Plans

There are as many ways to use EnerAction in the classroom as there are classrooms. The lesson plans work alone or in any number of combinations.

Lesson #1: Playing with Energy

Students play with energy-related objects at a variety of stations and consider where energy comes from, discover different forms of energy and see energy transformations. Then students design a poster of an energy transformation. This lesson requires more materials and set up than the others, but your efforts will bring the concept of energy to life for students.

Lesson #2: Acting on Energy

Students explore daily energy use by developing and acting out skits for a variety of real-life scenarios. Thinking critically about energy use, the class works together to create an Energy Action Banner. Students adopt energy conservation ideas and record their personal commitment to take action.

Lesson #3: Where's the Power?

Students become "experts" on the pros and cons of one of nine renewable and non-renewable energy sources. In small groups, they share what they learn with their classmates. They each write a short persuasive letter about the energy source of their choice. This lesson may be best suited to students in Grades 6 and 7.

Lesson #4: Walk a Mile in My Shoes — updated!

By exploring the concept of an ecological footprint, students learn that simple lifestyle choices have a meaningful impact on the planet. Students create a paper foot of their own Carbon Critter. After answering a series of questions about its energy use, they calculate its ecological footprint online to see the impact of its lifestyle choices and energy use on the environment.

Lesson #5: Exploring Our Energy Ethics

Through an interactive group activity, students take a position on a number of environmental issues based on their own personal ethics. They consider the different opinions of their classmates and weigh the importance of factual evidence. As students hear other perspectives and learn new information, they discover that their own views and values may change. This lesson may be better suited to Grades 6 and 7.

Lesson #6: Puzzling Over Energy Issues

Students learn about social issues and then choose one to research from the wide range of energy and environment issues in the media today. Students research their issues to generate between ten and fifteen key words and clues for a crossword puzzle that they proceed to create online. While investigating a topical issue, they gain new vocabulary and explore unfamiliar concepts.

Lesson #7: Lighting at School

Working as a class, students investigate the cost of energy to light their classroom. Using the Carbon Calculator on the EnerAction website and a series of worksheets, students calculate the dollars as well as the number of kilograms of greenhouse gases that it takes to light the classroom. They consider how they could adopt energy-saving strategies, then track that activity for one week and calculate the savings in greenhouse gases.

You can teach this lesson without the use of computers, but it is best experienced using the EnerAction website for at least one class period. See the series of student worksheets that accompanies this lesson:

» 1: What is the situation now? [PDF]
» 2: What are we going to do? [PDF]
» 3: What did we do? [PDF]
» 4: What if? [PDF]

Lesson #8: Bright Ideas

Students fully explore the differences between incandescent light bulbs and compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs). As they do, they become knowledgeable about a current issue, one that many governments and citizens are now grappling with. Working in groups, students design and reveal their own
super-bulb, an invention that incorporates the best of both bulb types while avoiding their limitations.

Lesson #9: The Home of the Future

Working in pairs or small groups, students become teams of architects determined to design an energy efficient home of the future. They consider ways that energy gets wasted at home, research energy saving solutions, and design and present their ideas. Students discover that there are a range of ways to save energy at home - from changes in daily behaviour to the installation of energy efficient appliances to landscaping decisions.

Lesson #10: Changing Our Ways

After charting their energy use for a twenty-four hour period, students look for ways to reduce it. They implement energy saving strategies, and then track their energy use for another twenty-four hour period. As they reflect on their experiences, students consider the challenges to change and then identify an action plan that they can commit to and chart for a full two weeks.

Lesson #11: Taking the Lead

Students are empowered to serve as Presidents of their own Board of Directors. Their task is to identify and communicate energy conservation strategies in a presentation that is targeted to a specific audience: the members of their Board - which is to say, their family members. This lesson works well as a culminating activity after other EnerAction lessons because it gives students an opportunity to demonstrate and apply their knowledge about energy and the environment.

Backgrounders — Now Available!

EnerAction's lesson plans are supported by backgrounders on energy and the environment. Teachers: Login to GreenLearning [external link] to access these backgrounders.

  • Energy Needs: The Ways We Use Energy — updated!
  • Renewable Energy Sources
  • Non-Renewable Energy Sources
  • Energy and the Environment: The Impacts of Our Energy Use
  • Taking Action: Personal Choices About Energy Use