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

Fifth Grade Activities

Historical Heating and Cooling

Texas summers may feel like they last forever, but many schools still need heating for the coldest days of the year. Central heating is common in most buildings today, either built into the original design or retrofitted through past renovations. However, central heating was not always an essential part of building design.

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Make a Food Diary

The food (and drinks) consumed each day is students' most immediate relationship with energy. It's all around us, and it's inside us, and knowing how much energy we eat is one small part of the overall energy consumption.

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Make a Daily Menu

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) uses a recommended daily value of 2000 Calories (kcal) across all food labels. From this number and some handy math, manufacturers print the percentage of the daily value of each nutrient provided by the food. However, the 2000 Calorie diet is only a simple benchmark for food standards and labeling, and not always appropriate for every lifestyle, health condition, and individual.

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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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Calculating Showers

Did you know it takes energy to run water? Water is a precious resource and wasting it not only wastes water but energy too. Reducing water waste saves water, energy, and money.

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Food Desert Maps

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) defines food deserts as areas of the country without any fresh fruit, vegetables, or other whole foods. For the past several decades, the middle class migrated to the suburbs from city centers taking their grocery stores with them, leaving only convenience stores.

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Bottled Water Cycle

The water cycle is a global, natural example of the energy-water nexus, the integral relationship between the two resources. But you don’t need the whole world to see an example of this continually moving cycle.

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Investigating the Water Cycle

The Sun drives one of the most important global processes: the water cycle. In this activity, students will work together to investigate different forms of water, how it moves through the cycle, and the ultimate source of energy for all of the different phases.

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Controlling Water with Building Blocks

Humans have used dams since ancient Egyptian and Mesopotamian civilizations restricted the flow of rivers and the extent of floods with earth and mason structures. Either simple or complex, the purpose of the dam is to control the flow of water.

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Recycle Signage

Even in places where it is easy to recycle because of school-wide or community-wide initiatives, many people are confused about what and where to recycle. Students can help other students by creating instructive visual signage for waste collection areas.

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What’s in My Lunch?

Students bring their lunch to school for lots of reasons, dislike of school food, special diet, to fit in with other kids, etc. Many times at home, parents have the greatest of intentions when making or purchasing the food that goes into those lunches.

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Garbage, Waste, and Trash

Students will discuss the meaning of garbage, waste and trash. They will then investigate their classroom trash to learn about the variety and amount of trash they produce.

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Paper Capers

This activity focuses on the concept of a source reduction. Also known as waste prevention, source reduction decreases the amount of material entering the waste stream.

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Junk Art

This activity focuses on the “reuse” theme of reduce-reuse-recycle. Students collect waste materials (paper, bottles, cans, cardboard tubes, fabric, etc) and find other uses for them either practically, for a school project, or as art objects.

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Making Recycled Paper

Students have the opportunity to become part of the “recycle” process by breaking down used paper and recreating a new, usable product from the waste. This activity can be messy, as students produce paper pulp and then dry it to new sheets of paper.

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How Many Years to Disappear?

Students may watch the garbage people come by and think that their waste magically disappears. Some may have been to the dump with a parent and some may have a compost pile or “dump” of their own on their land.

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Where’s My Water?

For most people, water is all around us. Open the faucet and water flows into the sink immediately.

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Who’s Who in Electricity?

The student will connect the contributions of scientists in the field of electricity to the concepts learned in class.

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How Much Food Do You Waste?

Students will track and measure their food consumption over two weeks to learn more about waste and strategies to reduce food waste.

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Water Conservation at Home

Reducing water waste saves water, energy, and money. Did you know, heating water alone counts for an average of 15% of total household energy use?

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Learn What’s Recyclable

Reusing materials can reduce your cost for new materials, reduce the amount of waste you produce and reduce the energy needed to produce new materials.

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About Recycling

Recycling is when you convert waste into a reusable material. The recycled material is processed and transformed into material that can be reused. It’s old material, but good as new!

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Recycling and Reusing Plastic

Many types of plastic are recyclable, while other soft forms of plastic are not.

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How Much Waste Do You Make at Home?

The average American produces 4.4 pounds of waste daily, including recyclable and compostable material.

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Utility Bill Organizer

We use energy for everything and could not make it through a single day without it. But we rarely even think about how much we use, what kinds of energy there are, the cost, or the pollution consequences.

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The Pay Me Game

Students have a hard time understanding how much energy they are using if it is not tied to dollar amounts.

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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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Meter Reading

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

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How Much Energy Do You Use?

U.S. residents use more energy now than we ever have in the past. There are many reasons for this.

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Home Energy Survey

The Home Energy Survey and Energy Checklist are ways to make the students aware of how much energy they are using throughout the day.

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Energy Trip Ticket

This activity will help to make students aware of their energy usage by making them “pay” for each energy trip they make throughout the day.

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Energy Conservation vs. Energy Efficiency: What’s the Difference?

Some people think of energy conservation as having to be uncomfortable or suffer to save energy. The truth is: comfort and conservation are completely compatible!

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Keep Your Cool Naturally

Staying cool takes energy. There is energy in creating cool air, through electricity. Being unintentional about your energy use is a waste of energy.

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