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Real World Learning Objects: Science
Is your electricity clean?


Student performance with this RWLO could be assessed using the rubric below. Each level of performance describes what students should be able to do beyond the performance at the previous level.

A. Energy conversion
Given energy in one form find the equivalent in a different form
Cannot perform the conversion Can convert a given amount of kWh to a form of energy Can convert a given number of kWh from one form of energy to another Can express energy amounts from one form to another
B. Electricity sources
Identify the sources of energy used to produce electricity
Gives incorrect sources and/or incorrect percentages Names correct sources with incorrect percentages or vice-versa Identifies correct sources and correct percentages for local production of electricity

Can perform objective for multiple regions of the country


C. Cost
Estimate the cost of electricity consumption

Cannot calculate the cost of a given consumption Calculates correctly cost of an amount of kWh Calculates the amount of kWh a given budget can purchase

Writes a detailed budget for a typical household

D. Environmental footprint
Determine the amount of pollution generated by a given energy consumption

Cannot determine the amount of CO2 produced for a given electricity consumption Calculates correctly annual emissions of major pollutants for a given consumption Calculates correctly tree acreage needed to absorb CO2produced for a given energy consumption Can estimate environmental footprint of an entire city or region

The rubric can be applied to the activity described elsewhere in this RWLO, or it could be used with a separate set of questions. The questions can either be structured as specific calculations, or as more open-ended tasks. A few examples are provided here. Instructors can use them as guides as they develop questions to fit their individual courses.

Examples of questions:

A. Energy conversion

1. How many kilowatt-hours of energy are available in a fast-food meal consisting of a burger, fries and a soda?
2. How many flights of stairs would you need to climb to use 1 kWh of energy?
3. How many kilowatt-hours would do you use when you mow your lawn?
4. How big a block of ice could you melt with the energy used by your MP3 player when you listen to music for an hour?

B. Electricity sources

1. What percentage of the electricity produced for New York City by Consolidated Edison (zip code 10001) comes from Nuclear energy?
2. What is the leading source of energy used to produce electricity in your state?
3. For which of the five largest cities in the United States is Natural gas the leading source of energy for electricity production?

C. Cost

1. What would be your electric bill if you washed 30 loads of clothes in a month? Assume that a kilowatt-hour costs $0.10.
2. How much money could be saved monthly in your area by reducing electricity consumption by 10%?
3. How many kilowatt-hours would you use in a month if your TV was on 120 hours per month?

D. Environmental footprint

1. How much CO2 (in lbs/MWh) is produced in the New York City region?
2. In Washington State, hydropower is the main source of energy used to produce electricity. How different would your annual emissions be if you lived in Seattle, WA (assuming the same electric consumption)?
3. Use the maps located here to compare the emissions in your state to the emissions generated in Texas.