Choosing household lighting
Classroom Activity for 11-14
What the Activity is for
To establish that individual choices can make a difference, eg when comparing lamps.
What to Prepare
- two mains lamps of equal brightness, one energy saver (compact fluorescent) and one filament, say 100 watt, complete with their packaging
- this interactive (see below)
What Happens During this Activity
Compare the brightness of the two lamps. They should provide equal illumination, but the conventional filament lamp will cost more energy per second to run (about four times as much typically). Now compare how warm they feel by holding the hand a short distance away.
Show the interactive.
Work out with the class how many such lamps they have in their homes. What savings could be achieved if they all swapped? Now work it out for the whole school. This will be a very good practice of estimating – always work to one significant figure only! How many people have to change so that we can shut down one 100 MW power station? Perhaps we could avoid all the arguments about wind turbines in remote areas of natural beauty if we all demanded a bit less energy.
Lamps are easy to compare as most homes are lit using electrical power. Whilst it would be very useful to compare lighting with heating, it'll only be a minority of homes that are
all-electric, and so such comparisons are harder to do without much more conversion work. However, if your class can cope with the numbers and arithmetic, this is well worthwhile, if only to convince them that
turning a light off to save energy is not the most effective of actions.
Download the interactive for this activity.