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Power Metering Project

Department of Energy Academies Creating Teacher Scientists, Department of Energy,

This activity focuses on applying analytic tools such as pie charts and bar graphs to gain a better understanding of practical energy use issues. It also provides experience with how different types of data collected affect the outcome of statistical visualization tools.

Activity takes two 45-minute lessons. The following is required for the activity: TI 84 calculator, access to Excel, Logger Pro, TI smartview program.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

Energy Literacy

This Activity builds on the following concepts of Energy Literacy.

Click a topic below for supporting information, teaching ideas, and sample activities.

Excellence in Environmental Education Guidelines

1. Questioning, Analysis and Interpretation Skills:C) Collecting information
Other materials addressing:
C) Collecting information.
1. Questioning, Analysis and Interpretation Skills:D) Evaluating accuracy and reliability
Other materials addressing:
D) Evaluating accuracy and reliability.
1. Questioning, Analysis and Interpretation Skills:E) Organizing information
Other materials addressing:
E) Organizing information.
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:A) Identifying and investigating issues
Other materials addressing:
A) Identifying and investigating issues.

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

  • Frequent check-ins while student teams are working on this project would be beneficial.

About the Content

  • A solid grounding or background in basic statistics will help learners grasp the analysis used in this activity.
  • Comments from expert scientist:
    Scientific strengths:
    - Students are in charge of both collecting and analyzing their own data. I like this -- they get a whole-picture experience, going from no data to full analysis on their own.
    - It's also nice that this is a very tangible lab in that students get to see how much power everyday electronics, present in their own lives, draw.
    - I also love how the students are in charge of coming up with their own questions, posing their own hypotheses, and then testing them. The full scientific method is employed here, which is awesome!
    - I think it would be nice for the students to develop an understanding of what their findings mean in the context of their everyday lives (and what this may mean with regards to the importance of energy efficiency).

About the Pedagogy

  • A math activity about energy - students will learn about energy usage. Requires familiarity with certain numerical analysis and data interpretation tools such as Excel that may be more appropriate for higher grade levels.
  • Students collect data they use in the activity using a powder meter. Data analysis is done with a TI-84 calculator and Excel.
  • This lesson was written for a high school AP statistics course. The statistical math skills needed to successfully complete the Power Metering activity are clearly outlined. The team-based assessment asks students to apply their skills outside of class time. There are multiple ways students can apply statistical skills learned in this activity to their own home power consumption.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • The lesson provides the questions that students can investigate, and then the data collection is up to the students.
  • Formative assessments and assessment in the form of an analytical report can be added to enrich this activity but should be grounded in an understanding of statistics.
Entered the Collection: June 2018 Last Reviewed: June 2016

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