Hands-on Activity Household Energy Audit

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Quick Look

Grade Level: 8 (6-8)

Time Required: 45 minutes

Expendable Cost/Group: US $0.00

Group Size: 1

Activity Dependency:

Subject Areas: Physical Science, Science and Technology

Photo shows a woman standing by a front door where a blower door test is installed for a home energy audit.
Energy audits can save owners a lot of money and help conserve energy.
copyright
Copyright © Powerlines, Seattle, WA http://powerlines.seattle.gov/2011/03/01/february-really-was-cold-keep-warm-without-big-bills/

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.
This engineering curriculum aligns to Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).

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.

Educational Standards

Each TeachEngineering lesson or activity is correlated to one or more K-12 science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) educational standards.

All 100,000+ K-12 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.

  • Collect data to produce data to serve as the basis for evidence to answer scientific questions or test design solutions under a range of conditions. (Grades 6 - 8) More Details

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  • Energy may take different forms (e.g. energy in fields, thermal energy, energy of motion). (Grades 6 - 8) More Details

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  • Use mathematical representations to describe and/or support scientific conclusions and design solutions. (Grades 6 - 8) More Details

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  • Analyze and interpret data to determine similarities and differences in findings. (Grades 6 - 8) More Details

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  • recognize and apply mathematics in contexts outside of mathematics (Grades Pre-K - 12) More Details

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  • 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

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  • model and solve contextual problems using various representations, such as graphs, tables, and equations (Grades 6 - 8) More Details

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  • Mathematics is important in all aspects of scientific inquiry. (Grades 5 - 8) More Details

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  • 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

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  • Electrical circuits provide a means of transferring electrical energy when heat, light, sound, and chemical changes are produced. (Grades 5 - 8) More Details

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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)

Worksheets and Attachments

Visit [www.teachengineering.org/activities/view/cla_activity2_household_audit] to print or download.

More Curriculum Like This

Middle School Lesson
Household Energy Conservation and Efficiency

Students complete three different activities to evaluate the energy consumption in a household and explore potential ways to reduce that consumption. The focus is on conservation and energy efficient electrical devices and appliances. The lesson reinforces the relationship between power and energy a...

Middle School Activity
Watt Meters to Measure Energy Consumption

Students use watt meters to measure the power required and calculate energy used from various electrical devices and household appliances.

Upper Elementary Lesson
Energy Conservation: Considering Sources, Cost and Impact

Students are introduced to the idea that energy use impacts the environment and our wallets. Through a series of activities, students understand how they use energy and how it is transformed from one type to another.

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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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?

Assessment

Collect completed worksheet and discussion questions for review.

Other Related Information

This activity was originally published by the Clarkson University K-12 Project Based Learning Partnership Program and may be accessed at http://internal.clarkson.edu/highschool/k12/project/energysystems.html.

Copyright

© 2013 by Regents of the University of Colorado; original © 2008 Clarkson University

Contributors

Jan DeWaters, Susan Powers, and a number of Clarkson and St. Lawrence University students in the K-12 Project Based Learning Partnership Program

Supporting Program

Office of Educational Partnerships, Clarkson University, Potsdam, NY

Acknowledgements

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: October 23, 2021

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