How Much Energy is on My Plate?
Lane Seeley - Seattle Pacific University, Karin Kirk - SERC, CLEAN Community Collection
The activity takes about one to two class periods.Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»
This Activity builds on the following concepts of Energy Literacy.
Click a topic below for supporting information, teaching ideas, and sample activities.
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Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy |
- This activity done with various degrees of scaffolding. Students can either follow the step-by-step activity or activity can be left open-ended for students to explore a range of answers.
- Another extension to this activity would be a discussion about energy use and climate change in different societies with different eating habits.
- Students with limited quantitative skills or Excel knowledge could be paired with experienced students.
About the Science
- Students explore the embedded energy in various types of foods.
- Students calculate the amount of energy per gram of protein in common foods to find the most efficient meal.
- The calculation of embedded energy is provided for the students.
- A lot of good background and reference material is provided with the activity.
- Comments from expert scientist: This is a good basic resource to allow a general audience to think critically about food sources and the energy need to produce the foods. Many of the references do not appear to have good scientific rigor. Several are found on blogs.
About the Pedagogy
- This activity provides students with a jumping-off point to do various calculations regarding the energy required to produce various foods.
- This is a very engaging activity with multiple good extension suggestions and lots of hooks for interesting discussions personal energy use and the relevance of energy in our lives.
- This activity develops students' reflective thinking skills and critical thinking via the use of concept maps.
- This resource engages students in using scientific data.
See other data-rich activities