Summary
Students review the electrical appliances used at home and estimate the energy used for each. The results can help to show the energy hogs that could benefit from conservation or improved efficiency.Engineering Connection
Evaluating energy consumption is the first step engineers take when trying to reduce energy consumption. This step is part of the "understand the problem" and "gather information" steps in the problem solving spiral (and the engineering design process).
Learning Objectives
After this activity, students should be able to:
 Calculate energy use.
 Analyze how changing personal behaviors and appliances choices affects the amount of energy they use.
More Curriculum Like This
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Students use watt meters to measure the power required and calculate energy used from various electrical devices and household appliances.
Educational Standards
Each TeachEngineering lesson or activity is correlated to one or more K12 science,
technology, engineering or math (STEM) educational standards.
All 100,000+ K12 STEM standards covered in TeachEngineering are collected, maintained and packaged by the Achievement Standards Network (ASN),
a project of D2L (www.achievementstandards.org).
In the ASN, standards are hierarchically structured: first by source; e.g., by state; within source by type; e.g., science or mathematics;
within type by subtype, then by grade, etc.
Each TeachEngineering lesson or activity is correlated to one or more K12 science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) educational standards.
All 100,000+ K12 STEM standards covered in TeachEngineering are collected, maintained and packaged by the Achievement Standards Network (ASN), a project of D2L (www.achievementstandards.org).
In the ASN, standards are hierarchically structured: first by source; e.g., by state; within source by type; e.g., science or mathematics; within type by subtype, then by grade, etc.
NGSS: Next Generation Science Standards  Science

Apply scientific principles to design a method for monitoring and minimizing a human impact on the environment.
(Grades 6  8)
More Details
This Performance Expectation focuses on the following Three Dimensional Learning aspects of NGSS:
Science & Engineering Practices Disciplinary Core Ideas Crosscutting Concepts Apply scientific principles to design an object, tool, process or system. Human activities have significantly altered the biosphere, sometimes damaging or destroying natural habitats and causing the extinction of other species. But changes to Earth's environments can have different impacts (negative and positive) for different living things. Relationships can be classified as causal or correlational, and correlation does not necessarily imply causation.The uses of technologies and any limitations on their use are driven by individual or societal needs, desires, and values; by the findings of scientific research; and by differences in such factors as climate, natural resources, and economic conditions. Thus technology use varies from region to region and over time.
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Common Core State Standards  Math
 Fluently divide multidigit numbers using the standard algorithm. (Grade 6) More Details
 Fluently add, subtract, multiply, and divide multidigit decimals using the standard algorithm for each operation. (Grade 6) More Details
 Solve unit rate problems including those involving unit pricing and constant speed. (Grade 6) More Details
 Display numerical data in plots on a number line, including dot plots, histograms, and box plots. (Grade 6) More Details
 Use units as a way to understand problems and to guide the solution of multistep problems; choose and interpret units consistently in formulas; choose and interpret the scale and the origin in graphs and data displays. (Grades 9  12) More Details
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International Technology and Engineering Educators Association  Technology
 Use tools, materials, and machines safely to diagnose, adjust, and repair systems. (Grades 6  8) More Details
 Energy can be used to do work, using many processes. (Grades 6  8) More Details
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State Standards
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics  Math
 recognize and apply mathematics in contexts outside of mathematics (Grades PreK  12) More Details
 work flexibly with fractions, decimals, and percents to solve problems (Grades 6  8) More Details
 understand and use ratios and proportions to represent quantitative relationships (Grades 6  8) More Details
 use the associative and commutative properties of addition and multiplication and the distributive property of multiplication over addition to simplify computations with integers, fractions, and decimals (Grades 6  8) More Details
 select appropriate methods and tools for computing with fractions and decimals from among mental computation, estimation, calculators, or computers, and paper and pencil, depending on the situation, and apply the selected methods (Grades 6  8) More Details
 model and solve contextual problems using various representations, such as graphs, tables, and equations (Grades 6  8) More Details
 understand both metric and customary systems of measurement (Grades 6  8) More Details
 understand relationships among units and convert from one unit to another within the same system (Grades 6  8) More Details
 select and apply techniques and tools to accurately find length, area, volume, and angle measures to appropriate levels of precision (Grades 6  8) More Details
 use observations about differences between two or more samples to make conjectures about the populations from which the samples were taken (Grades 6  8) More Details
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Do you agree with this alignment?
National Science Education Standards  Science
 Mathematics is important in all aspects of scientific inquiry. (Grades 5  8) More Details
 Energy is a property of many substances and is associated with heat, light, electricity, mechanical motion, sound, nuclei, and the nature of a chemical. Energy is transferred in many ways. (Grades 5  8) More Details
 Electrical circuits provide a means of transferring electrical energy when heat, light, sound, and chemical changes are produced. (Grades 5  8) More Details
 Science influences society through its knowledge and world view. Scientific knowledge and the procedures used by scientists influence the way many individuals in society think about themselves, others, and the environment. The effect of science on society is neither entirely beneficial nor entirely detrimental. (Grades 5  8) More Details
 Technology influences society through its products and processes. Technology influences the quality of life and the ways people act and interact. Technological changes are often accompanied by social, political, and economic changes that can be beneficial or detrimental to individuals and to society. Social needs, attitudes, and values influence the direction of technological development. (Grades 5  8) More Details
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Do you agree with this alignment?
Do you agree with this alignment?
Do you agree with this alignment?
Do you agree with this alignment?
New York  Math
 Fluently divide multidigit numbers using the standard algorithm. (Grade 6) More Details
 Fluently add, subtract, multiply, and divide multidigit decimals using the standard algorithm for each operation. (Grade 6) More Details
 Display numerical data in plots on a number line, including dot plots, histograms, and box plots. (Grade 6) More Details
 Solve unit rate problems including those involving unit pricing and constant speed. (Grade 6) More Details
 Use units as a way to understand problems and to guide the solution of multistep problems; choose and interpret units consistently in formulas; choose and interpret the scale and the origin in graphs and data displays. (Grades 9  12) More Details
Do you agree with this alignment?
Do you agree with this alignment?
Do you agree with this alignment?
Do you agree with this alignment?
Do you agree with this alignment?
New York  Science
 Apply scientific principles to design a method for monitoring and minimizing a human impact on the environment. (Grades 6  8) More Details
Do you agree with this alignment?
Materials List
 Student Worksheet, one per student
 (optional) access to computer and personal energy meter.xls spreadsheet
 calculator
 watt meter (loan to students, as appropriate)
Introduction/Motivation
(See materials included in watt meter activity. The intro to this activity is scheduled for the same day. Students get started on this as homework and then work on calculations and discussion questions in class the following day.)
Procedure
With the students:
 At the completion of the watt meter activity, hand out the student worksheet and explain the homework portion of the home energy audit to them in class. Explain that they can focus on one room, but they should be thorough in defining all electrical appliances in that room.
 Next day: Make sure that students brought in some information about their electric energy use. Work throughout the class period (on paper or on an Excel spreadsheet) to estimate the daily energy use for each appliance and answer discussion questions.
 Review findings with the class. Any surprises? What consumes the most energy in some households? Least? How important is leaking energy in your house? Any ideas for how they might use this information relative to their unit project?
Worksheets and Attachments
Assessment
Collect completed worksheet and discussion questions for review.
Other Related Information
This activity was originally published by the Clarkson University K12 Project Based Learning Partnership Program and may be accessed at http://internal.clarkson.edu/highschool/k12/project/energysystems.html.
Contributors
Jan DeWaters, Susan Powers, and a number of Clarkson and St. Lawrence University students in the K12 Project Based Learning Partnership ProgramCopyright
© 2013 by Regents of the University of Colorado; original © 2008 Clarkson UniversitySupporting Program
Office of Educational Partnerships, Clarkson University, Potsdam, NYAcknowledgements
This activity was developed under National Science Foundation grant nos. DUE 0428127 and DGE 0338216. However, these contents do not necessarily represent the policies of the National Science Foundation, and you should not assume endorsement by the federal government.
Last modified: January 3, 2018
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