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Author

Climate Generation

Grades

3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th

Subjects

Science, Social Studies, Economics, English Language Arts, Math, Climate Action

Resource Type

  • Project

Regional Focus

North America, United States, USA - Midwest

Lights Out Day

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  • In this school-wide project, students will organize and implement a Lights Out Day at school to reduce the school's carbon footprint and raise awareness about carbon emissions.
  • This project allows students to take immediate action to reduce their carbon footprints, reduce pollution, and reduce their school's energy bill.

Positives

  • This activity promotes cooperation among students and the school community as a whole. 
  • 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.

Additional Prerequisites

  • The project guide is designed for schools in Minnesota, so some of the linked resources are specific to Minnesota, but the project could be implemented in any school.
  • 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. 
  • Students should work to identify an alternate day in case there isn't enough daylight on Lights Out Day.

Differentiation

  • Students could make posters, presentations, or videos to help promote the project.
  • Students could investigate and research other solutions for saving energy (e.g., changing out light bulbs to more efficient types, replacing a portion of the bulbs, or turning off the lights when they are not in use).
  • 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. 

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 that consume electricity from nonrenewable sources. It might cut down the electricity bill, but it can only produce that 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 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.

This resource addresses the listed standards. To fully meet standards, search for more related resources.

  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • MS-ESS3-4 Construct an argument supported by evidence for how increases in human population and per-capita consumption of natural resources impact Earth's systems.
      • 4-ESS3-1 Obtain and combine information to describe that energy and fuels are derived from natural resources and that their uses affect the environment.
  • 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.
    • 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 (K-12)
      • 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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