Lifestyles have changed a lot over the past 80 years. Your students will discover just how much has changed when they audit all of the electronic devices in their family home and then interview an older person about their energy use when they were younger. Students will investigate the effect these changes in energy use have on the natural world and our general happiness. The big question is: Are we happier now that we have more 'stuff' in our lives?
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Step 1: Prior to begining this activity ask the class to brainstorm a list of appliances and gadgets we use now in our homes today. How many of these items do we own? How often do we replace these items? For examples our TV and mobile phone?
Step 2: Students will audit their own home for the number of appliances and gadgets they own. They should fill this in on the Student Worksheet. After they have completed this they will then interview an older person and make a comparison of the way they lived 'back in the day'.
Before students take their interviews home:
- Send a letter home to parents so that they are aware of and can support their child's learning.
- Review good interview techniques.
- Give students a deadline.
- Provide students with a way to privately speak to the teacher if they are going to have problems finding someone to interview.
Step 3: Consolidating information
- Ask students to look at their information and write a dot point list of the three to five most significant differences between then and now.
- Ask students to select five gadgets/appliances and make a simple bar graph that quantitatively compares the data.
- Ask students to answer the conclusion questions.
Step 4: Grandparent Incursion
Bring in one of the student's grandparents to class and have a discussion about the differences between their time and now. Can they conclude if all the new appliance and gadgets have improved people’s lives or made them happier?