National Energy Awareness Month: 6 Ways to Learn About Energy and Conservation
Disclaimer: The U.S. Department of Education does not mandate or prescribe particular curricula or lesson plans. This information is provided for the visitor's convenience and is included here as an example of the many resources that parents and educators may find helpful and use at their option. See the full FREE disclaimer.
October is National Energy Awareness Month, aimed at promoting the importance of energy for our sustainability and environmental well-being. This national effort provides an opportunity to help your kids understand the concept of energy, and the role energy plays in the world around them. Fostering strong connections with energy and technology can create appreciation for the ways energy is a part of their lives, and helps them be mindful of the need for energy conservation to ensure future well-being.
- Find out what energy is: Understanding the importance of energy can promote understanding the need to conserve it. Ask your kids what they think energy is, explaining that energy gives the power to make something work, and comes in multiple forms, such as heat, light, motion, and chemicals. Try some online games to facilitate understanding.
- Conduct science experiments: Have some fun with your kids demonstrating these concepts with experiments that use common household items. Build your own innovative, energy-saving technology in the convenience of your own kitchen. Help your children expand their inventive minds by using a pizza box to create your own solar oven or a rain machine using water, salt, a bowl, and plastic wrap.
- Check out your house for ways to conserve: Try promoting smart energy practices with your kids by walking around your household and asking them to point out any equipment you could unplug that is not being used as a way to conserve energy. See who can remember to turn off lights in his or her room before heading to school.
- Learning with art: For younger kids, try using illustrations that they can color to demonstrate concepts like solar power, wind power, and water power. Or try an activity book that may help solidify energy-related concepts. For older kids, see if they can think of how they might draw different forms of energy. For example, they could draw stretched rubber bands to depict stored mechanical energy.
- Read about energy: Kids also can read about energy and test their knowledge online. Books that are online, that have a more in-depth topical focus, can help older kids learn about the various forms of energy.
- Stay active by using some calories: Burn some energy by playing outside with your kids. See if kids remember the importance of shutting off lights going outside, and the benefits of saving energy when possible. In the meantime, playing outside also helps foster an active lifestyle, and can be an opportunity to promote a connection between your children and their environment. Don’t forget to fuel up on healthy snacks for the energy you’ll need when engaging in outdoor activities.
These are just a few ideas to help your kids understand what energy is, benefits of use, and importance of using wisely.
This feature is based on a blog post that originally appeared on free.ed.gov, a site that is now retired. Please visit ed.gov/FREE for more information.
Last Modified: 12/01/2015