Students are introduced to the idea that energy use impacts the environment and our wallets. They discuss different types of renewable and nonrenewable energy sources, as well as the impacts of energy consumption. Through a series of activities, students understand how they use energy and how it is transformed from one type to another. They learn innovative ways engineers conserve energy and how energy can be conserved in their homes.
How can we, as youth, build a sustainable future while meeting the energy needs of today? The Path to Sustainable Energy (PaSE) curriculum explores sustainable energy as students investigate place-based energy resource and consumption issues, gather resources, and build leadership skills to identify and take action on shared challenges and impacts of energy usage.
Students learn about life-cycle assessment and how engineers use this technique to determine the environmental impact of everyday products and processes. As they examine what’s involved in making and consuming cupcakes, a snack enjoyed by millions of people every year, students learn about the production, use and disposal phases of an object’s life cycle. With the class organized into six teams, students calculate data for each phase of a cupcake’s life cycle—wet ingredients, dry ingredients, baking materials, oven baking, frosting, liner disposal—and calculate energy usage and greenhouse gases emitted from making one cupcake. They use ratios and fractions, and compare options for some of the life-cycle stages, such as different paper wrapper endings (disposal to landfills or composting) in order to make a life-cycle plan with a lower environmental impact. This activity opens students’ eyes to see the energy use in the cradle-to-grave lives of everyday products. Pre/post-quizzes, worksheets, activity cards, Excel® workbook and visual aids are provided.
Examine how consumer behavior is changing in response to new products and services enabled by smart technologies and what additional measures are needed to facilitate consumer acceptance and response, to engage businesses and drive the necessary commercial transactions for widespread acceptance of smart energy technology. (59 minutes)
Thirty years ago California's per capita energy use flat-lined. Can we dramatically reduce our energy consumption to address climate change? Will economic factors propel or destroy our momentum? And, will the nation and the world follow California's lead? (74 minutes)
David Goldstein of the Natural Resources Defense Council takes a look at the energy use of new appliances like refrigerators compared to the continued energy inefficiency of SUVs. Goldstein is a MacArthur fellow and the author of Saving Energy Growing Jobs. The discussion includes David Greene of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. (56 minutes)
We have always studied the different forms of energy and all its effect to the environment. We focus on the production and then the consumption and its environmental effects but not much emphasis is given on the distribution parts. In this project I would like the students to understand how energy is transformed and delivered to the ultimate users to make them more appreciative of energy and hopefully in the process make them a good and conscientious citizen in using energy.
- Material Type:
- Lesson Plan
- North Carolina State University
- Provider Set:
- Kenan Fellows Program for Curriculum and Leadership Development
- Cicelia Aguilar
- Date Added:
People use energy in all aspects of their lives for cooking, lighting and entertainment. Much of this energy use takes place in buildings, such as our homes. To save money and reduce the impact on our environment, many people are reducing their energy use. One way is to hire engineers to perform home energy audits to understand the ways we use energy and identify ways we can conserve energy. In this activity, students act as energy conservation engineers and identify the ways energy is conserved or wasted. They also learn many ways to personally conserve energy everyday.
This activity involves students in recording their energy usage of particular appliances and devices over a certain period of time. They then take the time and device and determine the kilowatts of electricity used via an internet website. They then can take this value and calculate the amount of fuel that would have to be burned to generate this same amount of electricity. This activity is done for multiple appliances and situations and it is investigated how much fuel/coal is needed to kepp the light on all day every day, or the computer that is never in sleep mode.