The new term – and particularly the new school year – is the perfect time to rethink how you approach your subject and seek out new ways to bring it to life for your students. And so the Pod, EDF Energy’s award-winning schools programme, has put together a selection of lesson ideas and resources to get you started.
1. Go for a global view of energy
Did you know that Australia has the world’s largest known resources of uranium? Or that Morocco plans to capitalise on its hot climate to generate a third of its electricity from solar power? Or how different our own energy mix is to that of France, our neighbour across the English Channel?
The Pod’s map of the global energy mix gives a fascinating overview of the variety of sources used to generate electricity in different countries, and supports learning in geography and science. Students can explore the topic further by dividing into groups to complete the Power Around the World and Renewables in the Developing World activities; both link to the curricla for science, maths, geography and social studies, and include homework tasks to further develop understanding.
2. Make science topical and relevant to the next generation
It’s an exciting time in the energy industry: renewable power is becoming a bigger part of the mix, and new technologies are transforming the way it works and giving households more autonomy over their energy use. To help students understand these changes, the Pod has created two new activity packs.
Keeping the Lights on is about energy storage – one of the biggest topics in the sector right now – and has curriculum links with science, English and technology.
The Internet of Energy is about predicted changes to the way we will buy electricity in the future, which is likely to be led by networked home appliances that can talk to one another.
There are links to the science and technology curricula in the first part of the activity, as students research the ‘internet of energy’.
In the second part, students can boost their creative and literacy skills with an exercise asking them to write a letter from 2051 describing this connected world.
3. Take a look at the power balance
Helping young people understand their place in the world has never been more important. Subjects such as geography, social studies, science and personal and social education give students the opportunity to learn about their responsibilities towards local and global issues, and the impact human actions have on the planet. The Pods Powerless activity pack supports student learning about the differences between the developing and developed world through the topic of energy poverty. They will start out by researching the problem and look at some possible solutions and then go on to use their literacy skills – selecting their language, style and tone carefully – to write a persuasive article raising awareness of the issue.
4. The cost of energy
It’s important that young people don’t just learn about where their energy comes from, but how much it costs. The Energy Analyser activity challenges them to use real-life data from EDF Energy customers to answer a series of questions about electricity consumption, linking physics to maths.
Cross-curricular learning is also at the heart of the Money Manager activity. Students are put in charge of a family budget and must make decisions around their home’s electricity use to balance the books. They learn how different appliances use different amounts of power, what a kilowatt hour is and how to work out the cost of their electricity.
5. Join a nationwide campaign
Switch Off Fortnight is a fun, national campaign that can get the whole school involved in energy awareness. It takes place from 20 November to 3 December, with thousands of schools taking part (and making significant savings on their energy bills as a result).
We have a huge range of resources to support your campaign, from energy-themed lesson plans, activities, films and assemblies. There are also games – such as Power Patrol – which can be found in the Students Area and provide an interactive way of teaching students about energy.
Schools that sign up early receive a free resource pack containing stickers, posters, infographics and certificates to encourage participation and get everyone working together towards a shared goal. If you’re interested in taking part, you can sign up at https://jointhepod.org/campaigns/switch-off-fortnight-2017.
You can download hundreds of free teaching resources on energy, science and sustainability and sign up to our campaigns when you join the Pod, EDF Energy’s award-winning schools programme. To find out more and sign up, visit https://jointhepod.org/registration.