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Regional Focus

  • USA - Midwest
  • United States

Lights Out Day

Author: Climate Generation
Grades: 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th
Subjects: Science, Social Studies, Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Earth Science, Economics, Civics, History, Geography, English Language Arts, Math, Art, Justice, Health, Climate Action
Resource Type:
  • Project
Synopsis
  • This resource provides a real-world activity for students that will allow them to take immediate action to reduce their carbon footprints, reduce pollution, and reduce their school's energy bill.
  • Students organize, plan, and encourage participation in Lights Out Day - turning off as many lights as possible in their school for one school day. 
  • The resource details how students can make it a school-wide activity, with some links to information specific to MN.
Teaching Tips

Positives

  • Students have the opportunity to plan, promote, and participate in an action with their peers, with positive and immediate results.
  • Students could incorporate posters, presentations, or student videos to help the class promote the activity school-wide.
  • Other solutions (such as changing out light bulbs to more efficient types, only replacing a portion of the bulbs, and turning off lights when not in use) could be investigated and implemented as well.  
  • This activity could be expanded to encourage students to shut off their lights at home whenever possible.
  • Math teachers could use the unit rates (cost per kWh) at the bottom of the page to demonstrate real-life math applications. 

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students should have some basic knowledge about electricity generation, air pollution, and greenhouse gases.  
  • The first link under "More Resources" requires sign-in information to access. 

Differentiation

  • The Lights Out Day initiative brings awareness to the incredible amount of energy used for our daily activities and demonstrates that simple actions can have a substantial and immediate impact, especially when we work together.
  • If there isn't enough daylight on Lights Out Day, there should be a plan B or alternate day identified.
Scientist Notes

The resource spotlights the need to reduce electricity consumption, especially from fossil fuels, which has increased carbon concentration in the atmosphere and carbon footprint in schools. The activity is only necessary for schools who consume electricity from non-renewable sources. However, it might cut down the electricity bill but can only produce an immediate outcome. You could conduct this activity maybe 2-6 times at most during the school year. Taking averages, you would notice carbon footprint and electricity bill would reduce but it will be negligible. This activity of course is important in a micro scale. It should be supervised by an energy specialist/technician to avoid casualties (electrocution). However, this activity is not a sustainable and permanent solution. Transitioning to clean and renewable energy sources is the solution.

Standards
  • College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Standards
    • Dimension 3: Developing Claims and Using Evidence
      • D3.4.6-8 Develop claims and counterclaims while pointing out the strengths and limitations of both.
  • College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Standards
    • Dimension 4: Taking Informed Action
      • D4.7.6-8 Assess their individual and collective capacities to take action to address local, regional, and global problems, taking into account a range of possible levers of power, strategies, and potential outcomes.
  • Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
    • Language
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.4.1 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.

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