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Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs - Cost-Benefit Analysis

Connecticut Energy Education

In this activity, students collect data and analyze the cost of using energy in their homes and investigate one method (switching to compact fluorescent light bulbs) of reducing energy use. This activity provides educators and students with the means to connect 'energy use consequences' and 'climate change causes.' Through examining home energy use and calculating both pollution caused by the generation of electricity and potential savings, students can internalize these issues and share information with their families.

Activity takes about two to three 50-minute class periods, but can be shortened if some of the worksheet calculations are done as a homework assignment.

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Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

About Teaching the Guiding Principle
Other materials addressing GPe
About Teaching the Guiding Principle
Other materials addressing GPg

Energy Literacy

Many different units are used to quantify energy.
Other materials addressing:
1.7 Units of energy.
Amount of energy used can be calculated and monitored.
Other materials addressing:
6.8 Calculating and monitoring energy use.

Excellence in Environmental Education Guidelines

2. Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems:2.4 Environment and Society:D) Technology
Other materials addressing:
D) Technology.
2. Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems:2.4 Environment and Society:E) Environmental Issues
Other materials addressing:
E) Environmental Issues.
3. Skills for Understanding and Addressing Environmental Issues:3.1 Skills for Analyzing and Investigating Environmental Issues:C) Identifying and evaluation alternative solutions and courses of action
Other materials addressing:
C) Identifying and evaluation alternative solutions and courses of action.

Notes From Our Reviewers 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
Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy | Technical Details

Teaching Tips

  • Educators will need to assign first two columns of audit worksheet as homework prior to starting this lesson.
  • Activity could be a great way to involve parents in science learning at home.
  • Students will need some help to go through the long series of calculations.
  • Educators should stress that the personal change in energy has to go beyond changing light bulbs, but it is a good start.

About the Science

  • Passed initial science review - expert science review pending.
  • Students collect and analyze data from their own living environments.
  • The data presented in student worksheet is from Connecticut and North East Region (3-year weighted average from 1998-2002), educators should include the most recent data from their state and region, which is available at http://www.eia.doe.gov, and edit the Word document provided.
  • Activity involves authentic data collection and analysis.
  • Activity distinguishes between watts and lumens.
  • Good background content for educators.

About the Pedagogy

  • Activity reinforces important math skills.
  • Well-organized series of calculations to derive cost of electricity and amount of CO2 emission due to energy use.
  • Excellent authentic assessment suggestions provided.
  • Activity places this energy efficiency piece in perspective to other options available for emission reduction.
  • Data sheets for at home student data collections and calculations are clear and helpful.
  • Student directions are not well scaffolded; students will need some direct support from educator.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Although the site asks educators to "register" with an email address, the site will only send you one email, which thanks you for downloading their resource.

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