Lesson 2: Check the Clock!
Two (2) paper towels, water, Worksheet 2, pens or pencils
Language Arts, Science, Math, Social Studies
1. Tell students to make a list of electrical items that they use every day on scrap paper. Write the following on the board: 6-8 a.m.; 9-11 a.m.; 12-2 p.m.; 3-7 p.m.; 8 p.m.-12 a.m.; 1-6 a.m. Have students note what time of day they use the most electricity. Ask: Do you see any patterns?
2. Explain that people use the most electricity from 6-8 a.m. and 3-7 p.m. That means that there is less electricity used late at night, very early in the morning, and in the middle of the day. Ask students why they think this might be.
3. Tell students that if everyone uses their most powerful appliances at the same time, it can be hard for the power plants that make electricity to keep up. To demonstrate this concept, wet a paper towel and hold it stretched tightly with both hands. Ask students to place a pen or pencil in the middle of the paper towel. As a class, count how many pens or pencils the paper towel can hold before it rips. Write that number on the board.
4. Wet another paper towel and hold it stretched out tightly with both hands. This time, ask students to place their pen or pencil anywhere on the paper towel, as long as they don't overlap. See how many pens or pencils it holds this time. Write that number on the board.
5. Explain to students that a higher concentration led to the first paper towel breaking sooner. But spreading out the pens and pencils allowed the second paper towel to hold more. Tell students that, as with the paper towels, it is better to spread out your electrical usage. You can do this by running your dishwasher, washing machine, and other appliances overnight.
6. Divide students into small groups and distribute copies of Worksheet 2.
7. When students have completed the worksheet, guide them to have a group or class discussion about their choices and about which energy-saving actions they may be able to commit to at home.