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

Free Energy Education Activities

If you are looking for classroom activities focused on energy consumption that includes actionable ways to teach students about saving energy at your school, you have come to the right place!

These student activities supplement an energy conservation and energy efficiency curriculum. These exercises reinforce teaching and learning and are designed to increase awareness of how conserving energy, water, and materials is achievable in our everyday life.

We’ve divided the activities into six themes, but many are cross-curricular and cross-topic. Many are appropriate for a single class period or take-home assignment. Feel free to use or combine them in any order for a rich learning experience.

Theme

Grade Level

Energy Density of Foods

The simplest way to think about the relationship between energy and food is to recognize that food is a form of energy. Food stores chemical energy that bodies convert into kinetic energy to activate muscle power.

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Investigating Recycling Signs

Gary Anderson created a recycling symbol in 1970. The three arrows broadly represent the three tenets: recycle, reduce, reuse. They form a continuous circle (more accurately, triangle) representing the ideal of sustainability.

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Comparing Plastics

Most items made of plastic are marked for recycling with a number 1 to 7. These numbers indicate what kind of plastic makes up the item. In this activity, students will use their knowledge of the numbers to categorize different plastics. You can also pair this activity with Hunt for Recycling and explain to students that some materials are more readily recyclable than others.

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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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When your school participates in and implements a curriculum of energy conservation and energy efficiency, the Watt Watchers of Texas are here to help you supplement your efforts with our free energy activities and lessons to use in your classroom. These energy activities are designed to reinforce teaching and learning as well as increase awareness of how best to conserve energy in our daily lives.

In an effort to make these energy lessons for students as useful as possible for you as teachers, administrators, and staff, we have divided them into six themes which often have cross-over with other categories. Feel free to enact them whichever way you think is best: in-class assignments, take home tasks, or other types of student work. They are also further divided by grade level to help ensure that your students get the right lesson plans for their age.

Watt Watchers of Texas is a Partner Program of Smart Energy Education.
Watt Watchers of Texas. Copyright © 2020 The University of Texas at Austin. All Rights Reserved.
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