Activity Introduction

Quick summary: Students collect data at home about their family’s energy consumption over one day. Students then identify potential energy reduction strategies.

Essential questions:

  • How much energy do students personally use?
  • How much energy do the families of students use?
  • What actions can we take to reduce energy consumption?

N.B. Confirm that this activity complies with your school’s privacy policies. Your school may require you to send a letter home with the students requesting that students collect data.

21st century skills:

personal energy use skills

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions:

Year 5 Mathematics

  • Pose questions and collect categorical or numerical data by observation or survey (ACMSP118)
  • Describe and interpret different data sets in context (ACMSP120)

Year 5 Science

  • Scientific understandings, discoveries and inventions are used to solve problems that directly affect peoples’ lives (ACSHE083)

Year 6 Mathematics

  • Interpret and compare a range of data displays, including side-by-side column graphs for two categorical variables (ACMSP147)

Year 6 Science

  • Energy from a variety of sources can be used to generate electricity (ACSHE100)
  • Scientific understandings, discoveries and inventions are used to solve problems that directly affect peoples’ lives (ACSHE100)

Syllabus Outcomes: SC4-7WSMA3-18SP, MA3‑1WM, MA3‑3WM.

General capabilities: Critical and creative thinking, Personal and social capability.

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability OI.7., OI.8.

Relevant parts of Year 5 Mathematics achievement standards: Students pose questions to gather data, construct data displays appropriate for the data, and interpret different data sets.

Relevant parts of Year 5 Science achievement standards: Students discuss how scientific developments help us solve problems.

Relevant parts of Year 6 Mathematics achievement standards: Students interpret and compare a variety of data displays.

Relevant parts of Year 6 Science achievement standards: Students explain how scientific knowledge helps us to solve problems and inform decisions.

Topic: Energy

Time required: This activity can be set as homework or set over the period of one whole day.

Level of teacher scaffolding: Assist students in analysing their energy usage and participate in the activity if you are really keen! Engage students in a discussion around the results.

Resources required: Student Worksheet – one copy per student OR computers/tablets to access the online worksheet. One home electricity bill.

Digital technology opportunities: Digital sharing capabilities.

Keywords: Energy, home, audit, conservation.

Cool Australia’s curriculum team continually reviews and refines our resources to be in line with changes to the Australian Curriculum.


Teacher Worksheet

nudge-light-photoframeTeacher preparation

Overarching learning goal: Students will understand how much energy they personally use, and how much their families might use. Students will recognise actions they and their families can take to reduce their energy consumption.

Teacher content information: Energy is the lifeblood of our modern life. It powers our industry, it fuels our cars, and charges our iPhones. The problem is that much of our energy is produced by burning fossil fuels like coal, and this has a range of environmental, social and economic impacts, one being the emission of greenhouse gases.

Cool Australia Presents... Energy (Shortened Version) from Cool Australia on Vimeo.

Teaching sequence

This activity can be set as homework or set over the period of one whole day. 

Work through this resource material in the following sequence:

Step 1. Explain to students that with all this talk about saving energy it might be a good idea to work out how much you're using right now. If you decide to d

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Student Worksheet

Thought starter: How much energy do you use on average over one day?

What to do:

By using Table 1 on the next page and the instructions below!

  • Write down the name of the appliance in column A.
  • Use the tables provided with the activity sheet to approximate the watts of the appliance (students should not poke around the back of appliances looking for labels).Write down the Watts for that appliance in column B.
  • Estimate how many hours are spent using each appliance and write it down in column C. The fridge will be difficult as it regulates itself when it cuts in and out. How might students work out how long the fridge operates?
  • In column D work out the units of electricity used. To do this: Multiply Watts by hours used (column B x column C), Divide by 1000 and write the answer into column E.
  • In column F write the cost by multiplying the units used by the price per unit. You can find the unit price on the electricity bill. It is usually represented as rate c/kWh (cents per ki
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