Math Can Be Electrifying
By Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, September 21, 2006
- Elementary School
- Green Design
- collect, organize, represent and interpret data
- design a campaign to help lower energy consumption
- identify patterns (trends) in data sets
- Internet websites
- "Saving Energy Campaign" worksheet
- plain and colored construction paper
- markers or colored pencils
- poster board
Building Background Real World MathThe purpose of this activity is to show students that math can be used to calculate the impact of energy use on the environment. 1. In preparation for this activity, bring in a copy of your own electric bill, or ask for student volunteers to bring in their families' electric bill. 2. Visit the Cleaner and Greener website at https://www.cleanerandgreener.org/resources/calculators.htm . This site contains a calculator that determines how much pollution is caused by a household's or business's electricity use. Enter the dollar amount of the electric bill you have selected into the calculator to determine how much pollution was caused by the energy consumption stated in the bill. 3. Discuss the role that math can play in determining the impact of energy consumption on the environment.
Steps for Learning Tips For Saving Energy Campaign
In this activity, students will design a campaign to educate family members on ways to save energy. They will use math to determine the effectiveness of their campaign by creating and plotting data on a graph.
Teacher Note: In preparation for this activity, tell students to ask their parents for the total dollar amount of their families' last month's electric bill. Ask students to write the amount on a piece of paper and bring it to school.
1. Divide the class into small groups. Have group members enter the dollar amount of each electric bill into the "Emissions Calculator" on the Cleaner and Greener Website https://www.cleanerandgreener.org/resources/calculators.htm . Ask students to create a graph that shows how many pounds of greenhouse gases, volatile organic compounds, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide and particulates were generated by their energy consumption.
Teacher Note: It is not necessary for every student to bring in an electric bill to complete this activity. Students who don't have an electric bill may graph and compare changes in energy consumption using the information from someone in their group.
2. Tell students that they are going to design a campaign that will educate family members on ways to use less electricity in their households. Explain to students that they will use their math skills to evaluate the effectiveness of their campaign.
3. Pass out a copy of the "Saving Energy Campaign" worksheet to each group. Ask students to follow the directions on the worksheet.
4. After students have completed their second graph, provide time for students to share their campaign and the results with the class.Teacher Note: Try to time this activity so that it begins just after the first electric bill is received. If you had unusually cold or hot weather during the second month, it could impact the kilowatt-hours for the month.