This week, and for the first time, we have a guest author writing the blog post - Lindsey Wright from OnlineSchools.org.
Teaching Energy Conservation to Students Leads to a Lifetime of Environmental Responsibility
When students are young, their minds are ripe for taking in information of all kinds. They soak up data like a sponge soaks up water, and they aren't yet set in their ways. It is at this stage that people are most receptive to learning about energy conservation and discovering all of the ways this awareness can be applied to their everyday lives.
Sometimes it helps to get students up and moving to illustrate a particularly useful point. If you’re in a classroom, ask the students to perform a physical task for thirty seconds or one minute. Perhaps they do jumping jacks or jog in place. Whatever they do, at the end of the specified time period they should be in some measure tired or worn out. This demonstrates the usage of energy and illustrates the point that our bodies are much like lamps, computers, and cars in that they require energy to run. Conserving energy saves resources, so turning off appliances, like getting a good night’s sleep, helps sustain energy supplies.
Similarly, when energy conservation learning is closely tied to the everyday lives of students, the lessons are far more meaningful. Take, for instance, a Department of Energy suggested lesson plan that leads students to compare different light bulbs. What makes this lesson plan so successful? It relates to something with which even the youngest students interact on a daily basis. They find light bulbs throughout their homes, schools, daycare facilities, and everywhere else they venture. By learning about light bulbs, and about how the use of different types affects energy consumption, children learn that the choices they make can have a direct impact on the environment. Better yet, this lesson plan also allows students to explore ways to save energy at home and everywhere else they go.
If your classroom has access to computers and the Internet, it's also a good idea to conduct a lesson where the students browse websites designed to educate them about energy conservation. The government provides a number of useful resources that are written and designed specifically to appeal to young people and the part they can play in conserving energy. Such sites provide interesting facts and statistics in ways that are accessible to young children. They also make excellent launching points for group discussions about how to cut unnecessary energy usage in the home.
Teaching energy conservation is a worthy goal for all educators. When children are in their elementary and middle school years they are generally receptive to new concepts and ideas, making this an ideal time in which to introduce the idea of green living practices. When they become familiar with such principles at so young an age, they are far more likely to make energy awareness a part of their everyday lives as adults.
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