# Hands-on Activity:Household Energy Audit

### Quick Look

Time Required: 45 minutes

Expendable Cost/Group: US \$0.00

Group Size: 1

Activity Dependency:

Subject Areas: Data Analysis and Probability, Physical Science, Physics

### 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.

###### NGSS: Next Generation Science Standards - Science
NGSS Performance Expectation

MS-ESS3-3. Apply scientific principles to design a method for monitoring and minimizing a human impact on the environment. (Grades 6 - 8)

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This activity 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.

Alignment agreement:

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.

Alignment agreement:

Relationships can be classified as causal or correlational, and correlation does not necessarily imply causation.

Alignment agreement:

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.

Alignment agreement:

###### Common Core State Standards - Math
• Fluently divide multi-digit numbers using the standard algorithm. (Grade 6) More Details

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• Fluently add, subtract, multiply, and divide multi-digit decimals using the standard algorithm for each operation. (Grade 6) More Details

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• Solve unit rate problems including those involving unit pricing and constant speed. (Grade 6) More Details

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• Display numerical data in plots on a number line, including dot plots, histograms, and box plots. (Grade 6) More Details

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• Use units as a way to understand problems and to guide the solution of multi-step 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

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• Energy can be used to do work, using many processes. (Grades 6 - 8) More Details

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###### National Council of Teachers of Mathematics - Math
• recognize and apply mathematics in contexts outside of mathematics (Grades Pre-K - 12) More Details

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• work flexibly with fractions, decimals, and percents to solve problems (Grades 6 - 8) More Details

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• understand and use ratios and proportions to represent quantitative relationships (Grades 6 - 8) More Details

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• 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

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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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• understand both metric and customary systems of measurement (Grades 6 - 8) More Details

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• understand relationships among units and convert from one unit to another within the same system (Grades 6 - 8) More Details

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• 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

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• 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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###### National Science Education Standards - Science
• 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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• 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

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• 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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###### New York - Math
• Fluently divide multi-digit numbers using the standard algorithm. (Grade 6) More Details

Do you agree with this alignment?

• Fluently add, subtract, multiply, and divide multi-digit decimals using the standard algorithm for each operation. (Grade 6) More Details

Do you agree with this alignment?

• Display numerical data in plots on a number line, including dot plots, histograms, and box plots. (Grade 6) More Details

Do you agree with this alignment?

• Solve unit rate problems including those involving unit pricing and constant speed. (Grade 6) More Details

Do you agree with this alignment?

• Use units as a way to understand problems and to guide the solution of multi-step 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?

###### 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?

Suggest an alignment not listed above

### Materials List

• Student Worksheet, one per student
• calculator
• watt meter (loan to students, as appropriate)

### More Curriculum Like This

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 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.

Elementary Lesson
Let the Sun Shine!

Students learn how the sun can be used for energy. They learn about passive solar heating, lighting and cooking, and active solar engineering technologies (such as photovoltaic arrays and concentrating mirrors) that generate electricity.

Elementary Lesson
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.

Middle School Activity

### 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.

### 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.