Reflection: Developing a Conceptual Understanding Measuring Kilowatts - Section 2: Explore


I had to work hard to promote a conceptual understanding of personal electrical use. I spent time discussing the difference between a device like a TV that is on only a few hours a day, and a computer that is "on" all day. There was confusion as some students indicated computers were "on" for 24 hours (even though they were not in use).  What does "on" really mean?

It is hard to collect precise data when the kilowatts change from watching a You Tube video to sleep mode on a computer.  I gave the students the opportunity to use 24 hours or specific hours of use. This led to huge differences in data. I discussed these differences either in small groups or privately. Obviously if one group said the TV is on 24 hours and another said it was on four hours, the kilowatts will be different.

I liked the idea that students had differences in data because we discussed the limitations of the data. Next time I'll spend more time asking kids to define what we mean by "on". 

  Personal Use of Electricity
  Developing a Conceptual Understanding: Personal Use of Electricity
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Measuring Kilowatts

Unit 4: Measuring Energy
Lesson 2 of 4

Objective: SWBAT examine personal use of energy as measured in kilowatts by creating a spreadsheet to easily analyze data.

Big Idea: How much energy do we really use? Authentic technology integration is supported in the lesson as students create an Excel spreadsheet to analyze data. Students analyze the spreadsheet to determine a personal contribution to climate change.

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