Time: Approximately 60 minutes
Materials: A recent electric bill. Computer with Internet access
Prerequisites: Students should be familiar with the following concepts:
- Electric energy and electric units
- Chemical identity of the main air pollutants
This background can be provided as a part of a lecture or by using online resources provided in the content material
Implementation: This RWLO can be used either in the classroom as a group activity or as a homework project. For maximum benefit students should work individually or in pairs. Pairing students with students from other institutions, preferably from a different region of the country, could enhance this activity. The activity described here is geared for an audience of non-science majors in a general education science class at the college level.
- Ask students to determine their average monthly consumption of electricity in kilowatt-hour. This can be done in a number of ways:
- Students can use a recent electric bill and read the number of kilowatt-hours used.
- Students can estimate their energy consumption following the energy calculation instructions. This option would require students to collect the relevant information prior to conducting the activity.
- Students can also be given estimated energy consumptions.
- Make students express their monthly electricity usage in a different form of their choice using the converter available at this site: http://www.wattsonschools.com/calculator.htm
- Students then go to the Power Profiler located at http://www.epa.gov/cleanrgy/powerprofiler.htm and do the following:
- Identify the fuel mix used to generate electricity in their region.
- Find the amount of air pollutants produced by their energy use.
- Calculate number of acres of trees that would need to be planted to absorb the carbon dioxide produced by their electricity consumption.