In this lesson, students will learn about how families can prepare for a potential power outage or loss of electricity.
Skills supporting learning standards: Making inferences, interpreting illustrations, critical thinking, sorting, participating in group discussions
- Power Prepared! Create a Lights-Out Kit Student Activity Sheet printable
- Whiteboard and markers
Step 1: To start, have students work in small groups to brainstorm all the things they and their families do or use in a typical day that require electricity. Encourage students to think about an array of items, such as lights, appliances (stoves, washing machines, dishwashers, refrigerators, etc.), TVs, computers, phone chargers, types of transportation, etc.
Step 2: Invite the groups to share their lists. Write their responses on the board.
Step 3: Tell students that sometimes storms or dangerous weather can cause the electricity or power to go out. It might be out for a few hours or for several days. Ask students:
- If the electricity did not work or if the power went out, what could you not do?
Step 4: Explain that families can create a lights-out kit so they have resources and supplies organized and ready if the electricity goes out. Remind students that stores might be closed when a storm knocks out the power, so families should plan what they might need if they can’t get to the store. Ask students:
- What do you think families would put in a lights-out kit? What do you think families should have ready when they know a storm is coming that might cause them to lose electricity for a few hours or a few days?
Step 5: Record students’ responses on the board and ask them to explain their responses. Answers might include food, water, flashlights, etc.
Step 6: Encourage students to consider how they would find out what was happening with the storm if they could not turn on the TV or computer to learn more. Also encourage them to think about how much food and water they would need. At least a three-day supply per person is generally recommended.
Step 7: Next, distribute copies of the Power Prepared! Create a Lights-Out Kit Student Activity Sheet printable. The page features images of items families should put in a lights-out kit to prepare for a potential power outage, as well as images of items families would not need in a lights-out kit. Have students circle the images that would go in the kit and cross out items that would not.
Step 8: Review the answers below and ask students to explain why each item would go in a lights-out kit or not. Do all students agree?
Lights-Out Kit Items:
- books and games
- bottled water
- food that does not need to be cold (granola bar and bread)
- fully charged cell phone
- first aid kit
- battery-operated radio
Items Not Needed:
- baseball bat and ball
- milk and ice cream
Step 9: Have students work in teams to brainstorm additional items families might need to prepare and have ready in case of a power outage. If desired, you can send students to the Department of Homeland Security’s Ready website for kids for reference. Answers might include medicine (stores might not be open for several days), money (banks may not be open, and cash machines will not work without electricity), gas in the car (gas pumps will not work without electricity), etc. Note: If families have to leave their homes due to potential storms or power outages, they would need to prepare additional items.
Step 10: When done, send home the Power Prepared! Create a Lights-Out Kit Student Activity Sheet printable with students and encourage them to talk with their families about creating a lights-out kit. There is a note at the bottom of the page with a link to the Department of Homeland Security’s Build a Kit page for kids to prompt discussion.
Making inferences, interpreting illustrations, critical thinking, sorting, participating in group discussions