Greening Up


SD 46 OR#1 Sechelt
  • Grade 8
  • Grade 9
Photo Essay (3–10 images)

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ProjectSPIDER is a Middle Years program that is part DL, part attendance and community-based with teachers from SD46.  As part of our science program, students engaged in an Energy Awareness unit in conjunction with their "electricity" unit.  The extension of typical electrical comprehension to include personal "energy use and action" made this area of study much more personalized and real-world.

Students began learning about electricity in a series of very hands-on labs.  They learned about circuits, fuses, batteries, cells, power, load and much of the standard electricity language as per learning outcomes for the high school grades.  They then built their own motors and machines.

 Once students had a solid understanding of electricity and what it is, and how it is used/harnessed, the classes turned to the direction of ENERGY, and how it is used in our society.

Part 2 of our unit was centred around Greening Up:  How is electricity 'wasted' in common settings (school and home)?  Students learned about energy use of common household items by detecting and measuring watts with "Kill-a-Watt" devices.  They took readings and examined projected cost calculations to determine which items drew the most energy in their homes, and discussed how they might decrease their energy consumption both at home and in the school.  Students learned about reading their hydro bill, and gained an understanding around the step 1 and step 2 billings.

Part 3 of our unit involved learning about energy alternatives, and about looking into the future and how our society might choose to take more positive and direct action with regards to energy use. Students attended a workshop with a local teacher, Jay Walls, who specializes in understanding solar power and its possibilities in our BC climate.  They did experiments and took readings with solar panels without precipitation, and then simulated rain and compared their readings.  Students also examined energy use with a hybrid car, and had an "under the hood" tour of a local hybrid vehicle.

Part 4 involved students looking at their own energy use, and choosing an initiative that they could commit to...whether it was small or large...to reduce their personal energy footprint.  They are aiming to weather strip one of the school locations to minimize draft.  They have been taking personal 'pledges' to try to reduce energy (students who don't ride their bikes are riding them, students who haven't hung laundry are hanging it, for example).

The extension of electricity, which is a standard unit in school science, has been made much richer with the personalization-factor, and with learning about home and school energy use and conservation.  Green Up!