Watt Watchers is an energy efficiency program designed to help schools and families save energy and money. Over the decades, Texas school districts that participate in the Watt Watcher energy patrols have saved thousands (and, in some cases, hundreds of thousands) of dollars in energy costs each year.
In 1784, Benjamin Franklin’s essay “An Economical Project for Diminishing the Cost of Light” was published. This was the first time the idea of setting clocks forward or backwards an hour to follow seasonal changes was presented in a published source. However, no talk about taking action on this idea took place until 1907 when William Willet’s “The Waste of Daylight” was published. Parliament later introduced British Summer Time as a result. The United States began implementing daylight saving around the end of World War I as an attempt to conserve energy. Initially, daylight saving time was challenged with lots of public outcry, but government officials chose to enforce the time change anyways. Years later, the Uniform Time Act of 1966 was created which is still in place today.
Every day, governments are having to consider how big challenges like daylight savings can impact and potentially improve society. These decisions are usually very complex and can have a huge impact on society. Our Grand Challenges activity presents Richard Smalley’s list of problems in order of importance to society, beginning with energy and moving through water, food, environment, poverty, terrorism and war, disease, education, democracy, and finally population. Analyzing the grand challenges on this list and other interdisciplinary challenges in science, engineering, and resource management is a great way to allow students to develop the kind of interdisciplinary problem solving required for the twenty-first century workforce. Looking at the analysis as a project allows for ample opportunity to assess students’ engagement with and mastery of many topics. Let’s show students just how complex decisions like daylight savings can be, and just how large of an impact a decision like that can make on society.
We'd love to help answer any questions and help you get started! Drop us a line and we'll get back to you as soon as we can.
Watt Watchers of Texas
204 E. Dean Keeton Street, Austin, Texas 78712