A  Week's  Worth  of  Energy
Grades 3-5

A Week’s Energy Use


There are various ways to conserve energy in the home.

Objective: Students will:

• Read their electric meter for a week and will determine how much energy their family uses in one week.

• Students will read their electric meter for a second week while implementing energy conservation measure and will determine how much energy their family conserved because of the conservation measures.

State Standards:


Understand energy, its transformations, and interactions with matter.

Explain the principle that energy is conserved, neither created nor destroyed.

Identify how technological advances have changed humankind’s use of energy.


45 minutes


2 Week Meter Reading Record sheets


Discuss with students how monitoring their daily electrical consumption requires the daily reading of their electric meter.
Explain to students that all single-family dwellings and multi-family dwellings have an electric meter. Have students find the electric meters in the houses in their neighborhood.
If a student lives in an apartment (multi-family dwelling) it may be more difficult to find the electric meter
Students will be using the first week’s readings as a basis for their home’s electrical use. Encourage students to simply read the meter without consciously thinking about energy conservation.
A house’s energy usage can vary from week to week because of behavioral differences. Have students keep a short journal that notes any unusual changes in energy consumption.

Tuesday – family had take out pizza for dinner and didn’t use the oven at all

Thursday – Dad washed 8 loads of rags he had piling up in the garage.

Saturday – We had 3 out of town guests staying with us and they each must have showered twice a day!

Sunday – We used the wood stove for heat tonight instead of the electric heater.

Have students offer other examples that demonstrate a behavioral difference in energy conservation.
Have students complete Meter Reading Record each day. Students should bring their daily kWh usage to school daily. This data will be compiled on a graph to show the energy difference among households.
After one week, students should implement energy conservation measures whenever they can.
Pass out Energy Conservation tips for ideas on how to conserve energy.
Have students compare the energy use for the two weeks. Have students write down the energy conservation measures they implemented during their second week.
Discuss the results of the two-week experiment. If the results didn’t come out exactly how expected, discuss possible reasons.
Discuss the reasons for the difference in energy use from household to household.
On the board, list factors that may have had an effect on the differences in energy use, e.g. size of house, type of heating system, age and efficiency of appliances, adequate or inadequate insulation, dirty filters, etc.

Teacher Information
Prepare by going over instructions in “How to Read Your Electric Meter.”

Download a blank energy audit worksheet.