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Energy Walkabout

National Energy Foundation, US Department of Energy

In this activity learners work in pairs or small groups to apply knowledge of energy-wise habits to evaluate energy use in their school and make recommendations for improved efficiency. Students create and use an energy audit tool to collect data and present recommendations to their class. Further communication at the school and district level is encouraged.

Activity takes two class periods. Camera is essential for this activity.

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Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

Energy Literacy

One way to manage energy resources is through conservation.
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6.2 Conserving energy.
Behavior and design affect the amount of energy used by human society.
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6.6 Behavior and design.
Amount of energy used can be calculated and monitored.
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6.8 Calculating and monitoring energy use.

Excellence in Environmental Education Guidelines

1. Questioning, Analysis and Interpretation Skills:C) Collecting information
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C) Collecting information.
4. Personal and Civic Responsibility:D) Accepting personal responsibility
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D) Accepting personal responsibility.
2. Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems:2.3 Humans and Their Societies:C) Political and economic systems
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C) Political and economic systems.
2. Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems:2.4 Environment and Society:A) Human/environment interactions
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A) Human/environment interactions.
2. Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems:2.4 Environment and Society:E) Environmental Issues
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E) Environmental Issues.
3. Skills for Understanding and Addressing Environmental Issues:3.2 Decision-Making and Citizenship Skills:B) Evaluating the need for citizen action
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B) Evaluating the need for citizen 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

  • Have students complete energy audit sheets for each classroom they go to during one day and then compile the list of classrooms analyzed. This will cut down on the number of rooms that have to be covered during a single science class period.

About the Science

  • Science involves students' ability to identify "energy-wise" and "energy-foolish" practices, although the Energy Audit Checklist provided with the activity helps to identify areas where energy savings are possible.
  • Comments from expert scientist: The scientific strengths come from the information provided before the activity, as to why the activity is helpful, and the information gained after the "extension activities," where the anticipated consequence of the activity is discussed or revealed.

About the Pedagogy

  • Activity is meant to be done after the Energy Action Challenge: http://energy.gov/eere/education/downloads/take-energy-action-challenge
  • Students in pairs or small groups investigate and document (visually as well as via energy audit checklist) energy-saving practices in their school - discuss and share results and recommendations with school community.
  • Activity provides a way to include the broader community in the classroom learning. An energy audit checklist is provided or classes can make up their own.
  • The extension activities provide worthwhile cross curriculum connections for math and language art/multimedia.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Instructors will need to have a plan to effectively monitor students as they move around the school building to conduct their audit.
  • The two extension activities provided will enrich the learning across the curriculum (language arts/multimedia).
  • The Energy Audit Checklist is also very strong and will help students focus on common opportunities for saving energy.

Related URLs These related sites were noted by our reviewers but have not been reviewed by CLEAN

Performance Expectations

MS-ETS1-1: Define the criteria and constraints of a design problem with sufficient precision to ensure a successful solution, taking into account relevant scientific principles and potential impacts on people and the natural environment that may limit possible solutions.

HS-ETS1-2: Design a solution to a complex real-world problem by breaking it down into smaller, more manageable problems that can be solved through engineering.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

MS-ETS1.B2: There are systematic processes for evaluating solutions with respect to how well they meet the criteria and constraints of a problem.

HS-ETS1.B1: When evaluating solutions, it is important to take into account a range of constraints, including cost, safety, reliability, and aesthetics, and to consider social, cultural, and environmental impacts.

Science and Engineering Practices

MS-P3.5: Collect data about the performance of a proposed object, tool, process or system under a range of conditions.

MS-P4.5: Apply concepts of statistics and probability (including mean, median, mode, and variability) to analyze and characterize data, using digital tools when feasible.

MS-P4.6: Consider limitations of data analysis (e.g., measurement error), and/or seek to improve precision and accuracy of data with better technological tools and methods (e.g., multiple trials).

MS-P5.2: Use mathematical representations to describe and/or support scientific conclusions and design solutions

MS-P6.8: Optimize performance of a design by prioritizing criteria, making tradeoffs, testing, revising, and re- testing.

MS-P7.4: Make an oral or written argument that supports or refutes the advertised performance of a device, process, or system based on empirical evidence concerning whether or not the technology meets relevant criteria and constraints.

MS-P8.2: Integrate qualitative and/or quantitative scientific and/or technical information in written text with that contained in media and visual displays to clarify claims and findings.

MS-P1.1: Ask questions that arise from careful observation of phenomena, models, or unexpected results, to clarify and/or seek additional information.

MS-P1.2: ask questions to identify and/or clarify evidence and/or the premise(s) of an argument.

MS-P1.6: Ask questions that can be investigated within the scope of the classroom, outdoor environment, and museums and other public facilities with available resources and, when appropriate, frame a hypothesis based on observations and scientific principles.

HS-P1.6: Ask questions that can be investigated within the scope of the school laboratory, research facilities, or field (e.g., outdoor environment) with available resources and, when appropriate, frame a hypothesis based on a model or theory.

HS-P1.8: Define a design problem that involves the development of a process or system with interacting components and criteria and constraints that may include social, technical, and/or environmental considerations. 

HS-P3.6: Manipulate variables and collect data about a complex model of a proposed process or system to identify failure points or improve performance relative to criteria for success or other variables.

HS-P4.2: Apply concepts of statistics and probability (including determining function fits to data, slope, intercept, and correlation coefficient for linear fits) to scientific and engineering questions and problems, using digital tools when feasible.

HS-P4.3: Consider limitations of data analysis (e.g., measurement error, sample selection) when analyzing and interpreting data

HS-P5.2: Use mathematical, computational, and/or algorithmic representations of phenomena or design solutions to describe and/or support claims and/or explanations.

HS-P6.5: Design, evaluate, and/or refine a solution to a complex real-world problem, based on scientific knowledge, student-generated sources of evidence, prioritized criteria, and tradeoff considerations.

HS-P7.5: Make and defend a claim based on evidence about the natural world or the effectiveness of a design solution that reflects scientific knowledge and student-generated evidence.

HS-P8.2: Compare, integrate and evaluate sources of information presented in different media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively) as well as in words in order to address a scientific question or solve a problem.

Cross-Cutting Concepts

MS-C4.1: Systems may interact with other systems; they may have sub-systems and be a part of larger complex systems.





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