Energy seems easy to use, but obtaining it is often not easy on the environment. When we reduce the amount of energy we use, we decrease the pollution that results from producing that energy. In this activity, your students conduct an audit of the energy they use in their own homes and create an action plan to reduce energy use.
This is one of 96 activities that can be found in PLT’s PreK-8 Environmental Education Activity Guide. To get the activity, attend a training either in person or online and receive PLT’s PreK-8 Guide. Below are some supporting resources for this activity.
Download the copyright free student pages that are included with this activity:
Spanish Student Page(s):
Auditoria del Hogar
Every month we carefully select new tools and resources that enhance PLT’s lessons. These include educational apps, videos, posters, interactive websites, careers information, and teacher-generated materials. Browse a chronological listing below:
Developed by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, EnergyKids provides a wide range of articles and resources about energy. Students can explore energy sources, ways to use and save energy and the history of energy with games and activities that promote learning. Challenge your students with energy-related Suduko, puzzles, crossword puzzles, and word searches!
Climate Challenge Board Game
Games4Sustainability can help you incorporate a sustainability-themed game in your activities to improve your understanding of important global issues today. Narrow your search from among 100+ games and simulations by filtering the games by the UN Sustainable Development Goals or use the advanced search for more options. Challenges include topics of food, climate, security, and public health. For example, in the Climate Challenge, players face the crucial trade-off between long-term sustainability and short-term economic growth. Provide your students with a unique challenge to problem solve and practice decision making.
Our Relationship with Energy
Energy makes everything we do possible. In this TEDxMileHighWomen event, energy journalist Joran Wifs-Brock talks about Our Relationship with Energy, or as she explains, the broken relationship. Use this presentation with high school students to help them consider the ways we use energy in our own life and the communication breakdown between flipping a switch and the resources we use lighting our homes.
Municipal Solid Waste
This U.S. EPA website provides in-depth information on solid waste generation, recycling, and disposal in the United States.
Water Calculator and Conservation Tips
The GRACE Water Program is home to the Water Footprint Calculator, which estimates the water you use directly from the tap as well as the “virtual water” that goes into producing your food, clothing, and more. The program provides tools, tips and information on water conservation.
Climate Change around the World
An article in BBC News that discusses impacts of global warming in countries around the world and in major sectors of society: health, water, food, ecosystems, coasts, and industry.
The Alliance to Save Energy’s Energy Hog campaign is educating teachers, kids and parents about energy efficiency. Why? Saving energy lessens our dependence on foreign oil, improves our air and water quality, and reduces our energy bills. To help spread energy efficiency in the classroom, print out Student and Teacher Guides or explore the rest of the site, including the interactive Hog and Seek game.
The H2O Conserve Water Calculator is a short survey that will get you thinking about how much water you use, and how water connects to almost every aspect of your life. The Conserve Water Calculator compares individual daily water usage with the national average. It also provides suggestions of how to save more water using improved practices. Beyond the calculator, the site provides valuable educational materials and activities to engage students in water conservation issues.
US EPA Facts and Figures About Materials, Waste and Recycling
US EPA Facts and Figures About Materials, Waste and Recycling website has information on municipal solid waste in the United States. The data includes information on energy recovery and landfills as well.
International Carbon Footprint Challenge
International Carbon Footprint Challenge unites high school students worldwide as they calculate their individual footprints using an online “footprint calculator” and post class data on a world map. Students then enter discussions about their footprints and how to work toward solutions to globally shared environmental issues.
Functions of Forest Soil
This informational handout, made available by Montana State University Extension Forestry, describes forest soil profiles, functions, and the effects that natural and manmade impacts can have on overall forest health.
A free app that can be downloaded for Apple devices. Zero Carbon can calculate an individual’s carbon footprint by looking at a person’s daily habits. Once you know the amount of greenhouse gases your lifestyle is producing, this app offers tips on reducing that number. Zero Carbon also shows how your statistics stack up against world averages, and it can be connected to Facebook, for sharing results.
Superfund for Students
At this EPA website, students can learn about four different types of hazardous waste (groundwater contamination, surface water contamination, soil contamination, and air contamination) and how to clean up each type. Later, students can test their knowledge of hazardous wastes with the Superfund Scavenger Hunt or Superfund quiz.
A free app that can be downloaded onto Apple devices. This is a good tool for teachers and classrooms. Easily create bar, line and pie charts that you can customize, save and e-mail or upload. The charts you create can be saved using multiple color schemes and in multiple sizes. The app also works without an internet connection.
EPA’s Carbon Footprint Calculator
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) website provides an interactive carbon footprint calculator designed for use by students in middle or high school. The calculator begins by asking students to investigate some baseline data points, such as their average home energy usage, transportation habits, and waste disposal process. Then, the calculator offers ways impact reduction by offering tangible conservation tips alongside estimated annual savings. This is an excellent tool for making home connections, as well as a compliment to PLT GreenSchools!