Getting Started

Imagine you have $15 a week to cover the cost of lunch. The school’s cafeteria offers a variety of delicious and nutritious items to choose from. Each day you select and eat the healthy foods you like. One thing that is different about this cafeteria is that the prices of the foods items are not listed. At the end of the week, you are billed for your lunch food. Let’s hope you have enough money!

How would you feel about selecting items for lunch each day? How would you make your selections?

In many ways, the above scenario is similar to the way people pay for electricity.  Electricity is one of the few things we use first and pay for later. Throughout the month people use electricity in their homes for many different things. At the end of the month, the homeowner receives a bill for the total amount of electricity used during the previous month. The appliances in our homes aren’t marked with price tags so we don’t know as we turn them on them how much electricity they use.  Another thing that makes it difficult to keep track of how much electricity our homes are using is we can’t see electricity!

You’re invited to help a homeowner - a “mystery person” and/or your own household - examine the different types of electricity data available including data from new tools that allow the homeowner to monitor how much electricity they’re using while they’re using it. You’ll engage in a series of investigations and activities using these new tools and other resources to answer questions about home electricity use.  Along the way you’ll learn more about electricity - how it’s measured, how customers are charged for their use and how much electricity common household appliances use. As you engage in this work, be sure to keep a good science notebook; record your ideas, what you’re finding out, and the new questions you have. You’ll use your findings to make recommendations for conserving electricity. Let’s get started!

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