ECOLOGY AND THE CONSERVATION OF NATURAL RESOURCES
|Habits of Mind
||Estimation and Computation 3.3c
To develop an understanding of the interdependence of all organisms and the need for conserving natural resources
Awareness of, concern for, and action on problems in the environment can result in major improvements.
Ecology Q5.00 To understand responsible and ethical actions as they relate to protection of the environment
INSTRUCTIONAL OBJECTIVE: The learner will:
5.01 develop solutions by which they as an individual and as a community can alter lifestyle decisions to conserve energy and have less detrimental effect on the environment.
OUTLINE OF CONTENT:
I. List ways electricity is used in the home.
II. Identify uses that would be easiest to alter to decrease electricity usage in the home.
III. Explain energy conservation project.
IV. Teach students how to read an electric meter.
V. Divide into groups. Discuss and select topics for a public service announcement.
VI. Decide what will be put into the announcement and write the announcement.
VII. Practice announcements.
VIII. Present announcements to the class.
COMPONENT OF SCIENCE: Habits of Mind
To enable students to demonstrate ways of thinking and acting inherent in the practice of science; and to exhibit an awareness of the historical and cultural contributions to the enterprise of science.
3.3 ESTIMATION AND COMPUTATION - Scientists judge the level of precision needed to approximate a reasonable response and perform calculations with or without the aid of mechanical devices.
3.3c - All measurements are approximations.
BENCHMARKS Accuracy is only as good as the least accurate component.
Three class periods (55 minutes each) Additional time will be needed each month to record meter readings and to calculate percent of increase or decrease.
Chalk board, chalk, Worksheet on How to Read an Electric Meter (This lesson, if taught as written, will require each student to bring in information about their usage of electricity. This will necessitate teaching students how to read an electric meter. Cards are available from many electric companies that explain this procedure.)
(If you do not wish to use the activities with conserving electricity or the public service announcements, there is a list of alternative activities at the end of this lesson.)
(Since the activity involves a contest, you will want to arrange prizes prior to beginning the activity. Suggestions for prizes are: (1) talk to a local fast foods restaurant about coupons for free food. Some will offer a free drink or fries. Others will offer a free sandwich. Many of the fast food chains give these coupons for promotion. (2) arrange for a free rental at a local video store for each of the winners (3) arrange for a free game of bowling at a local bowling alley (4) check into a free pass for one of your schools athletic events.)
(Be sure to Publicize your contest, this not only will serve as an incentive for your students to work hard at conservation, but will serve as a reminder for others.)
In our previous lessons, we have discussed lifestyles and the effect lifestyles have on the environment. I want you to think about lifestyle decisions that people make that have a negative effect on the environment. You might think about how energy is wasted, how we pollute our environment, or things we do that use up our natural resources. Consider those actions that people could change fairly easily. Now, take a piece of paper and list three of the things you have considered. (Check to make sure that all are participating.) Tell them some of the things you have listed. (Let students read their lists as you write the different actions on the board.) Today and tomorrow we are going to develop solutions that will convince you as an individual and us as a community to change lifestyle decisions.
First, we will consider solutions to problems that might affect our own lifestyles or that of our families. Later we will consider solutions which could be used in our community in changing the lifestyles of its citizens.
There are a number of projects that might be undertaken in trying to improve the effects our actions have on the environment. Each of you will participate in two projects that will be used in fulfilling our objective for this lesson. We will develop one project which will be directed toward changing individual or family lifestyles and a second project which will be directed toward our community.
When we made our list on the board, several of you named energy usage as being an action that could be easily improved. Let's discuss first, the things you do which use large amounts of electricity. As you mention ways that electricity is used in your home, I will list these on the chalk board. (Allow students to make the list which might include: cooking, washing and drying clothes, running appliances such as freezer, refrigerators, or dishwashers, hot water for showers, baths, and washing clothes, lighting our rooms, operating televisions, radios, or stereos and heating and cooling our homes.)
Now consider which of these uses would be the easiest to adjust in order to decrease the use of electricity. (Put an * next to those indicated by the students.) How could you use less electricity for each of actions? (Answers might include cutting drying time an clothing (not overdrying), hanging some items such as sheets or towels an a clothes line to dry, drying only full loads of clothing, washing only full loads of clothing, use dishwasher only when it is full, hand wash dishes, lowering thermostat on hot water heater, take showers instead of baths, time showers, turning off lights when you leave a room, cutting usage time of radio, television, or stereo, lowering thermostat on heating or raising thermostat for cooling, opening windows when possible instead of using air conditioner.)
We have discussed how electricity is used in your home and how we could cut the use of electricity. In our first project to alter lifestyles, we are going to look at the problem of energy conservation. In this project, you will be divided into teams. Each team will work toward conserving electricity in their homes. We will have awards for both the team and the individual who does the best job of conserving electricity.
Each month you will bring a statement from your parents that tells me how many kilowatt hours of electricity your family has used that month. You will obtain this information by reading your electric meter. Your parents will then sign a note saying this is the correct reading on your electric meter. Tomorrow you will bring in your first reading. How many of you do not know how to read an electric meter? (Allow for response. At that time teach students how to read the electric meter.)
(Draw two sample meters an the chalk board or overhead transparency. One meter should have four dials and one should have five. Put in hands so that the reading on one meter is 3541 and the other is 91560.
An electric meter may have four or five dials on it. If there are four dials, the meter measures the number of kilowatt-hours in thousands. If there are five dials, the meter measures the number of kilowatt hours in ten-thousands.
The hands on the dials move in both clockwise and counter-clockwise directions. To determine the direction of the hand, you can look at the order of the numbers. The hands will move in the same direction as the numbers. Are there any questions?
There are two rules to remember in reading your electric meter. First, read and write down the numbers from right to left. Second, if the hand is between two numbers, write down the lower number. Do you understand?
I am going to show you how to read the first meter. Beginning from the right, the hand on the first dial is between the I and the 2. I will put down the number 1. The next dial has the hand an the 4, so I will write down the number 4. The third dial has the hand between the 5 and the 6, so I will write down the number 5. The last dial on the left has the hand between the numbers 3 and 4, so I will write down the number 3. The correct reading for this meter is 3541. Do you have any questions?
Now, lets read the second meter together. (Go through the dials on the second meter with the students helping you.) That's very good.
(Draw a third meter on the chalk board or transparency.)
Here is a new meter for you to try. You tell me what to write as you read each dial. (Go through the dials on the third meter with the students telling you what to record.)
(Draw a fourth meter on the chalk board or transparency.)
I want you to try this meter on your own. If you have a problem, raise your hand and I will help you. (Allow the students time to read this meter.) Tell me what you have recorded for each of these dials. (Go from right to left with the students giving you each reading.) Did everyone get this reading? (Allow for response.) Do you have any questions?
(Draw 4 new meters on the chalk board or transparency.)
I have drawn four additional meters for you to practice reading. If you have any difficulty, raise your hand and I will help you.
(Allow time for all to finish. Go over the correct answers to the meters you have drawn.)
Does anyone have any questions about how to read an electric meter? (If there are no questions continue by handing out worksheets that explain how to read an electric meter.)
You can take these worksheets home with you and use them as you read your electric meter.
You will want to save them to remind you how to read the meter in later months.
We are going to make a contest of our project to conserve electricity. The contest will last 6 months. (The number of months is optional. You can conduct the contest for one month or the entire school year.) Each month when you bring in your new information, we will calculate the percentage of change based on your number of kilowatt hours.
In calculating the percentage of change we will figure the percentage of increase or decrease for you individually and for your team. If your number of kilowatt hours has increased you will have a positive percentage; and if your usage has decreased, you will have a negative percentage. The team and the person with the lowest percentage of increase in the number of kilowatt hours over the duration of the contest will be our winners.
(Make sure the students understand that in a contest lasting this long there will be increases in energy usage. This can't be avoided in the winter. Stress that the goal is not to avoid an increase but to keep the increase to a minimum.)
Try to make this project a family effort. If you as an individual work at conserving electricity, what effect would you expect this to have on the rest of your family? (Responses should include that the family might follow the example set by the student.) Often times we are not aware that other people watch us and the example we set. We tend to forget that our friends, younger brothers or sisters, and sometimes people we don't even know observe what we are doing and will often copy our actions. If we set a good example in our lifestyle decisions, then perhaps other people will follow our examples.
Do you have any questions about what you are to do for tonight? Does everyone know how to read your electric meter? I am going to give you one more meter to read. (Draw one new meter on the board.) Everyone tell me what you read from the first dial, (pause) the second dial, (pause), the third dial, (pause), and the fourth dial, (pause). That's right, the correct answer is _______________. Raise your hand if this is what you read. (Make sure all hands are raised.) Don't forget to read your electric meters and bring the reading on a note signed by your parents with you to class tomorrow.
INSERT PAGE WITH DIALS
Second Class Period
(prior to class, prepare a chart for each of two teams. It will be easier if you have already divided the class into teams and have the names on the chart before beginning the day's lesson. You can use the Project Team Chart which follows this lesson to record the information. You might consider putting this chart on poster boards for a display that will be easier to see. Record information as rapidly as possible to leave ample time for writing public service announcements.)
Yesterday we started a project that should make you more aware of your lifestyle in regard to energy conservation. The first thing we will do today is to record the information you have brought to class about the readings of your electric meters. Raise your hand if you remembered to bring this information with you. (All should respond by raising their hand.)
As I call your name, read out the reading on your meter. (You will went to collect the parent notes to make sure students have given the correct information.) You will read your meters again on the of next month. At that time you will calculate the percentage of increase or decrease in your kilowatt-hour usage.
(This part of the lesson involves the students writing and producing a public service announcement for use an your local radio station. If you choose to actually use the announcements, you will need to make arrangements with the radio station for recording the announcement. All radio stations are required to set aside a part of their air time for public service announcements. Most are very cooperative in arranging time for students to record their announcements and then using these over the air. You will also need to decide if you want to send all groups or to select one group that will record their announcement. If you select only one group, you will probably want to have outside judges to hear the announcements and select the one to be used. If you decide to use the announcements on the radio, you will need to allow extra time for the students to put the finishing touches on their announcements.)
(You may choose to have the students write and record the announcements. Instead of using the announcements for a radio station, you might have them played over the schools intercom system during daily announcements.)
Next, we are going to develop a project that will reach out to the members of our community. We will be trying to convince the citizens of our community to change an aspect of their lifestyle that is affecting the environment. What ideas do you have for reaching large numbers of people? On a scrap piece of paper, jot down the ways you would use in getting a message out to the entire community. (Allow time for students to list ideas. Make sure all are participating.) What ideas have you listed? (List these on the board. Their ideas will probably include television, radio, newspaper, handbills, etc.) Today, you are going to write public service announcements for use on the radio. This announcement will address an environmental topic of importance to our community. You will write an announcement that will make people want to change their lifestyles to help improve our environment.
First, I am going to divide you into groups of four people each. (Divide students into groups. Depending upon your class size you may want to make the groups larger or smaller.) One person in each group will be the announcer for the group. All of you will help in writing your announcement. Tomorrow, your announcer will present your public service announcement to the class. We will have judges here and the best announcement will be recorded later for use by the radio station.
(The following should be listed on the chalk board.
1. Discuss possible topics for the announcement.
2. Select a topic.
3. Discuss what you want to say.
4. Write your announcement in 30 - 45 seconds.
5. Select your announcer.
6. Announcer practice reading the announcement.
7. Present to class.)
On the chalk board I have listed the steps you should follow in preparing your announcement. You will want to select some topic that is important to our community. Your topics might include: (select those appropriate for your community) recycling, conservation of energy, conservation of water, acid rain, the effects of increases in population on the community, littering, water pollution, air pollution, or the dumping of toxic waste.
After discussing the topics and making your selection, discuss what you want to say in your announcement. Make sure that what you say is accurate.
Next you will write your announcement. It should be 30 - 45 seconds in length. Make sure people can understand what you are trying to say, and stick to your topic.
You may decide to write a jingle or perhaps a poem. Be original.
After you write your announcement, select your announcer. You may decide to use only one announcer, or you may decide to use more then one. That is up to your group. After you have decided, practice presenting the announcement to the others in your group. As the announcer reads, you will need to listen to make sure that people will understand the message you are trying to deliver.
You will have the remainder of the period to complete this assignment. Does anyone have any questions? (Answer any questions about the assignment.) You can start on the assignment.
Today you have utilized one method of getting a message to the members of your community. What have you learned about writing public service announcements? Is it difficult to write something that will make people want to change their lifestyles? Why do we need to make people more aware of environmental problems? (Use the response and ask if all students agree.) Does everyone agree with this reason? Raise your hand if you agree.
Tomorrow you will have the opportunity to present your announcements to the class.
Third Class Period
(This class period will be used for the presentation of the public service announcements to the class and to the judges. You may want to bring a recorder to class to record the messages.)
(Use two teams for collecting aluminum cans, paper, or glass or recycling.
Students can bring in receipt from recycling center for proof of amount recycled. Have prizes for the team and student who have brought in receipts for the greatest amount of materials recycled.
Use the same format as the electricity conservation project, but use water conservation instead. Students can learn to read their water meter and calculate how many gallons less are used from one month to the next as a result of conservation.
Begin a campaign to convince parents to purchase eggs in cardboard cartons rather than Styrofoam cartons.
Begin a campaign to contact local service stations and find out what they do with their used motor oil. If they are not now recycling it, try to convince them to do so.
Begin a campaign to convince the food services department of your school system to stop the use of Styrofoam items in all school cafeterias.
Produce a video tape on an environmental topic for use in your school system.
Produce a sign with Print Shop on where to find recycling centers locally. Have the signs copied and post them in local groceries and businesses.
If you are near an elementary or middle school, conduct a poster contest. The posters should campaign against littering, water pollution, air pollution, noise pollution, or some other community problem. Prior to the contest publicize what you are doing in local newspapers or on your local radio station. Be sure to put the winners pictures in your local paper. Place the posters in the windows of businesses in your community.)
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