How much electricity do we use?
1. Begin by asking students all of the different ways we get our electricity. Be sure they
mention coal and other fossil fuels as well as renewable sources like solar, wind, water, etc.
2. Then ask them how much they think electricity costs. How is that measured?
3. Direct them to this website that lists the cost of electricity per state:
4. As a whole group, show the students how to read this table, and that there are different
rates depending on if the electricity is used by a residence, a company, for industrial
purposes, or by transportation.
5. There are several ways this data can be used to generate a bar graph. One bar graph
generator can be found here: https://nces.ed.gov/nceskids/graphing/classic/bar.asp
6. Discuss the required information for the bar graph. What information should be on the
x axis? The y axis? What is a good title? What units of measurement are required? Guide
them to set up their graph properly.
7. Using the column for the residential rates for the most recent year available, have them
locate the 10 states that have the lowest cost of electricity. A reminder about reading
decimals might be needed.
8. Have students generate a bar graph for the 10 states with the lowest cost of electricity.
9. Then, show them the bar graph (the second one on this website):
https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/national/power-plants/. Compare the states
with the lowest cost of electricity with the states that use the most coal to generate their
electricity. Discuss the correlations the students notice
1. Review the lesson from yesterday.
2. Today, students will look at data about use of energy by various devices:
3. Have students choose 5 devices that they use in their daily life. Use the energy calculator to estimate the number of hours each day they use that device, then calculate the amount of electricity used. They should make a list of the 5 devices and the cost, including the unit. The calculator will give you the option of Cost Per Hour, Cost Per Day, Cost Per Month, Cost Per Year, or kWh Per Day. You will want to choose one and have them use that consistently across their devices for a consistent comparison.
4. Then show them the pie chart generator:
https://nces.ed.gov/nceskids/graphing/classic/pie.asp. Discuss how to set it up correctly.
5. Have the students input the data for the devices they chose.
6. Once their pie chart is generated, they should interpret them by answering these questions:
a. Which device uses the most electricity? Why?
b. Which one uses the least? Why?