Watt Watchers of Texas: Texas is Too Good To Waste™

Energy Conservation Resources for Middle School

When it comes to saving the planet through energy conservation efforts, it is critical that kids of all ages and grade levels are aware of the benefits of saving energy and how they can do their part.

Young children in elementary school may simply enjoy doing activities that center around easy experiments and provide an interactive experience. High schoolers may enjoy learning more specific aspects of the energy conservation process through themes such as electricity or transportation. Middle schoolers, though, may benefit from a mix of participation and explanation.

No matter what grade students are in, it is never too early or too late to begin or continue their education about energy conservation.

Adults and kids alike should be able to actively participate in the energy saving process, and it is important that everyone understands the many benefits of conservation. For middle school students, it may be a challenge to keep them interested in a discussion about energy conservation, but they would also enjoy some hands-on activities that demonstrate the value of saving energy.
At Watt Watchers of Texas, we understand the importance of teaching middle school children in a way that is engaging and educational. We have a range of activities and resources for teachers of middle school students that we know will be useful as a part of the energy conservation curriculum while also keeping students’ attention throughout the course of the lesson.

Energy Curriculum Resources for Middle School Teachers

Lil’ Tex and Ann, the foundation of our Student Patrol Program, are always looking for kids of all ages to join them in their efforts to stop the Wasters Gang from taking resources away from Texas and its citizens. If your middle school students are looking for a fun and exciting way to make sure that teachers, administrators, staff, and other students are all following the energy conservation guidelines you have put into place, the Student Patrol is perfect for them.
You can hand out Watt Watchers badges for all of your students who are participating and assign them jobs such as checking to make sure the lights are turned off in empty classrooms. Other classes can earn achievement certifications for being conscious of their energy saving activities, and both the school as well as the earth will benefit from your students’ participation. And best of all: everything is free to download as many times as you need!
Watt Watchers also has plenty of free energy education activities designed to supplement an energy conservation and energy efficiency curriculum. They are divided into seven themes (at home, cooling and heating, electricity, food, materials, transportation, and water) as well as grade level (K-12). They range from making a daily menu to hunting for recyclables to graphene emissions and everything in between. Whatever lesson you are working on, Watt Watchers has at least one activity to help you demonstrate to your students the benefits of energy conservation.
No matter the grade level or your students’ age, our activities, lessons, and resources are sure to keep their attention and help them learn energy conservation tips that will last a lifetime.

Why is Energy Conservation Important?

As adults, we understand the benefits of energy conservation, especially when it comes to the monthly utility bills. The more energy we use, the higher the bills. So, it’s an obvious step to reduce our energy consumption in order to save money and help the planet as well. Children, however, may not immediately understand the advantages of energy conservation, so it is critical that they begin to learn these lessons at an early age. And the best way for kids to learn and enjoy the process is through education activities that encourage energy conservation, teach kids about its importance, and show them that saving energy can be fun.
We use these resources every day, and they are essential to our modern way of life. That is why it is everyone’s duty (even kids) to do their part in conserving energy throughout the course of their day. From simply turning off a light when you leave a room to limiting the length of your shower to swapping old light bulbs for new, energy efficient ones, every bit of participation helps.
If your middle school students are ready to take on more energy saving responsibility, Watt Watchers of Texas has resources and lessons to help them find new and creative ways to enhance their energy conservation efforts. And don’t forget to remind students that they should also be discussing the benefits of saving energy with their families and implementing similar energy conservation efforts in their own homes.

Check out these great activities for grades 6-8!

History of Air Conditioning

Humans have been seeking comfort since before recorded history. From the very earliest human dwellings to the mastery of fire, so many technologies are about keeping warm and cool. The advent of air conditioning is only the last line in a long story about humans taking control of their built environment.

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Comparing International Solar Capacity

Natural resources are not evenly distributed around the world. Geographic features, latitude, and time of year all affect the solar capacity of a region. Different organizations including the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the World Bank Group have created an atlas of solar resource data, which anchors this activity.

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Plan Your Programmable Thermostat

The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that individual homes can achieve a 10% reduction in heating and cooling costs by leveraging the power of the programmable thermostat to change the set temperature by 7°F to 10°F for 8 hours a day.¹ Working as a group or a class, use students' preferences on comfort and what they know about weather and temperature trends to create a schedule for a programmable thermostat.

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International Regulations for Refrigeration and the Environment

Most of the activities and explorations within the Watt Watchers of Texas portfolio look at individual actions focused on conservation and sustainable decision-making. This activity looks at some examples of international law, treaties, and regulation that affect refrigeration and air conditioning all around the world.

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Refrigerants and Texas

Air conditioning depends on a pressurized system of fluid repeatedly evaporating and condensing within a closed system in order to absorb heat from the air inside your space. In the past, air conditioners used water, ammonia, or carbon dioxide. However, in order to adapt to higher demand for indoor cooling, companies turned to different chemical compounds and synthetic fluids in order to achieve better cooling efficiency.

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Planning Public Transportation

Before beginning this activity, you may want to consider moving through Modes of Transportation or Modeling Public Transportation in order to gain familiarity with the topic at hand. The purpose of this activity is to model geographically how a public transportation system works in your town, neighborhood, or region. This is a mapping activity appropriate for groups or individuals.

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Texas Public Transit and You

Ridership is defined as the number of people that ride public transit in a day. Large cities spend lots of dollars and hours to determine ways to increase ridership.

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Relative Humidity

Temperature is the weather metric most obviously associated with human comfort, but humidity is the real key. Humidity is the amount of moisture in the form of water vapor in the air all around us, and it really affects how we feel in the weather. Meteorologists use the term relative humidity, which refers to the ratio of water vapor actually in the air compared to how much water vapor air can hold.

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Meter Reading

Regardless of the type of meter you have, meter reading can be kind of tricky.

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Investigating Thermal Energy

Changes in states of matter from gas to liquid to solid and back are all achieved by cooling and heating. This activity focuses on the very smallest level of thermal energy rather than the macroscopic level of cooling and heating in the built environment.

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Water Heating Efficiency

This activity looks at calculating the end-to-end system efficiency of two different types of water heaters. The first uses electricity produced offsite, distributed to a home, and then converted into heat by an electric boiler. The second uses natural gas in a combustion-based boiler. Both experience losses through the energy life cycle but in different ways and with varying effects.

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Heating and Cooling Degree-days

Climate control drives most energy use in the built environment in the United States. Humans like to be comfortable, and they use energy to cool or heat the interior of their homes if they can afford it. One method to estimate the amount of energy required for climate control is the total of heating degree-days and cooling degree-days.

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Contact Watt Watchers for More Middle School Energy Conservation Resources

Watt Watchers of Texas is founded on the principle of boosting energy literacy for students in grades K-12 as well as helping schools save money through energy conservation efforts. We are a state-sponsored STEM program, and we are proud to provide students, teachers, and families access to energy saving tips, activities, and lessons to encourage energy literacy. Watt Watchers believes that Texas is too good waste, so we make all of our resources freely available for download and use.

If you are a teacher or administrator who is interested in getting your school involved in the Watt Watchers of Texas energy conservation program, contact us today. We have all of the resources, information, and activities you could need to ensure a successful implementation of our program. Your kids will love knowing that they are helping Lil’ Tex and Ann and feel proud to be making a difference while they learn about the environment.

Watt Watchers of Texas
204 E. Dean Keeton Street, Austin, Texas 78712

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