For topics covered in this set of lessons, the following are additional ideas for teaching/extending student learning.
Energy and Power:
- Use information from the library to compare the advantages and disadvantages of using coal, oil, and natural gas (cost, availability, environmental problems, etc.)
- Invite a guest speaker to discuss current topics relating to fossil fuels: mine safety, environmental problems, toxic waste, etc.
- Examine ways of transforming fossil fuels to obtain their energy. Do an experiment to obtain methane from coal.
- Watch a demonstration of the heating of a water-ice mixture that continues past the time when the water boils. As you observe the demonstration, record heating intervals and temperature readings. Display the data on a graph. Read about latent heat and relate that phrase to the graphic display of data.
- Research one type of conversion in great detail, such as the conversion of electricity to heat.
- Build friction loss devices. Examples: model cars for testing on inclined planes, model boats or airplanes.
- Use 4 different light bulbs of different watt ratings (40W, 60W, and 100W), light meter and a thermometer(Celsius) - measure the light production and heat output for set distances from the light sources. Make a bar graph showing the effects of distance to lumens and temperature.
- Research the origins of local electrical power and compare costs and methods of generation with other areas of the country or world.
- Use a hand-cranked generator to provide a hands-on demonstration of electrical generation.
- Discuss the advantages and disadvantages to various electrical production methods. Include environmental impact, convenience, and cost issues
- Examine other types of meters.
- Have a representative from the utility company explain how the internal workings of a meter operate and consequences of attempting to change the meter readings.
- Compare the electrical energy use per student at school compared to the per resident at their home.
Utility Bill Reading:
- Have a discussion on budget billing(utility company averages a year's worth of consumption and the consumer pays the average for 1 year and then any debits and credits are settled) on energy conservation.
- Have a utility representative discuss the shut-off procedures for someone who is not paying their bill.
- Have a lawmaker or consumer advocate discuss consumer rights in billing and utility connections.
Energy Use of Home Appliances:
- Trace appliance use back one more generation. Make a list of appliances, have a grandparent or older adult fill out the survey. Find the total number of appliances used. Compare this survey with a younger adult and for your own home. Share data with members of your class.
- With your family's agreement, plan ways to reduce both the number of appliances and the length of time appliances are used. Then implement this plan from one utility meter reading to the next. Was your family able to reduce the amount of energy consumed?
- Keep a daily log of the number of ways you use energy from the time you get up until the time you go to class. Can you reduce this energy use? How?
- Research information on the Energy Guide labeling requirements for major appliances. Visit an appliance store or invite a guest to speak on this topic.
- Create a floor plan for the home of the future and in each room list the appliances you predict you will own twenty-five years from now. Do you notice any changes?
Lighting Dilemma: Lighting Dilemma Experiment
- Measure different types of lights with a light meter and decide the "best" amount of light for different purposes(reading, TV watching, computer usage, etc)
- Determine pay back rates for different types of light sources over the same length of time. Consumers purchase within their budget without planning the long term effects of energy usage and on going costs.
- Measure different colored light sources(white, yellow, green, red incandescent bulbs - same wattage) with a light meter. Discuss the process of filtering.
- Visit an appliance store and read the energy- rating label and record the expected annual savings and the dollar costs of three refrigerators. Compute the simple pay back and first year rate of return for each of them.
- Life Cycle costing is a technique for evaluating purchase options. This is done by comparing the total lifetime cost of buying, installing, operating, maintaining, and salvaging an appliance referenced to the same time value of money. Look up "life cycle costing" and report to the class. What is meant by salvage value? List the factors evaluated in the calculation.
- Based only on operating costs (e.g. ignoring maintenance cost) determine what the payback would be on a new car of your choice.
- Have students calculate the Btus for the electric bill and gas bill and discuss factors that explain how they compare to the Btu's of others in the class (NOTE: Size of home, number in family, direction house is facing, etc.).
Home Energy Audit
- While this Audit lesson focuses upon residential dwellings, slight modifications of procedures and checklists could make it appropriate for industrial, commercial, or agricultural buildings.
- Have students do an energy audit of the school and share the recommendations with the administration or school board.
- Discuss the negative feelings the students may have about conserving electrical energy. What are the negative aspects of conservation? (By now, the benefits should be obvious-saving money and resources.) Conservation often takes self-discipline, development of routine habits, imposing rules upon oneself, lifestyle changes, and changes in purchasing patterns. Oftentimes these things are not fun or easy for people to accept. What ways can the students think of to motivate themselves and others to conserve?
Discuss some practical ways in which students can improve energy conservation in their own homes. Ask, "In what area is your family conserving energy best?" (for example, turning off lights). Ask, "In what area is your family not conserving energy well?" (for example, leaving the TV on while no one is watching). Are any of the students' families involved in serious energy conservation efforts such as the use of solar water heaters, automatic timers on heating/cooling systems, high-efficiency appliances and/or lighting, or other innovative conservation methods? Can the students recommend effective conservation practices to their classmates?
Authors: Sue Emmons, Powell Middle School, Littleton, CO; Kevin Lindauer, John F. Kennedy High School, Denver, CO; Linda Lung, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Golden, CO; John Sepich, Scott Carpenter Middle School, Westminster, CO; ; Janet Stellema, Monarch K-8, Louisville, CO. Created: September 9, 1998 - Updated: June 29, 2001. URL: http://www-ed.fnal.gov/ntep/f98/projects/nrel_energy/teacherhome.html