In this classroom activity, students measure the energy use of various appliances and electronics and calculate how much carbon dioxide (CO2) is released to produce that energy.
The CLEAN collection is hand-picked and rigorously reviewed for scientific accuracy and classroom effectiveness. Read what our review team had to say about this resource below or learn more about how CLEAN reviews teaching materials
Activity does not address the connection between energy awareness and climate change. This connection could be strengthened by educator.
Could also be done with students measuring appliances at home.
A good visualization would be to line the students with the appliances up in the front of the class from the largest to the smallest amount of energy used and then also from the largest and smallest amount of energy used in a typical household (e.g. waffle maker uses a lot of energy but is used very infrequently).
Students actually measure energy use with a Kill-a-Watt meter.
Concrete activity that helps student relate their everyday experiences to the discussion of climate change.
Comment from expert scientist: Activity needs better primer on the difference between power and energy needs to be taught before the exercise since most people do not know the difference. It could be explained as follows: The scientific definition of power is simply the rate of energy use that is power is equal to energy per time. Many people confuse power with energy. Knowing a particular machine's power rating tells you nothing about how much energy it will use unless you know for how long it will run. The unit of energy is the joule (J) which is the force of one Newton acting over the distance of one meter.
As power is simply the energy flow per unit time, it is measured in watts; one watt is equal to one joule per second. One watt is also the force of one Newton acting over the distance of one meter per second. Power Joules per second or Watts Energy/time Energy Joules or Watt-second Power x time Joules or equivalently Watt-seconds are SI units international system of units.
Energy can also be measured in Watt-hours (Wh) or kilo Watt-hours (kWh), which is how your electricity use at home is measured and how you get charged for your electricity consumption every month.
A 100-Watt light bulb power rating is 100 W, left on for one hour it will use 100Wh of energy. In NYC it costs about 19 cents per kWh, so leaving your 100 Watt bulb on for 10 hours uses 1000 Wh or 1 kWh and would cost you $0.19.
Worksheets and guidelines are all available.
The mix of hands-on measurements, calculations, and discussions will engage students of different learning styles.
Requires a kill-a-watt meter.
The educator needs to bring appliances into the classroom for the students to measure.