Lesson 1:
Launch

(1 hour)

Summary
Students are informed of their roles as “Energy Detectives,” why conserving energy is important, and the challenges they have to look forward to.

  • Relevant Frameworks: SL4.1, SS & STE practices
  • Lesson Type: Standalone
  • Prep Time: None
  • Storage Space Required: None

Lesson 2:
Building Knowledge

(1.5 hours)

Summary
Students participate in vocabulary-building activities and choose their own paths for learning about types of energy and energy transfer.

  • Relevant Frameworks: RI4.3, SL4.1, SL4.4, L4.4, 4-ESS3-1, 4-PS3-2, STE practices
  • Lesson Type: Builds on previous lesson
  • Prep Time: Over 10 min
  • Storage Space Required: Tote bag

Lesson 3:
Story Time

(1 hour)

Summary
The class reads Energy Detectives, and students engage in corresponding literacy activities.

  • Relevant Frameworks: RI4.1, RI4.3, L4.4, ELA & STE practices
  • Lesson Type: Builds on previous lesson
  • Prep Time: Under 10 min
  • Storage Space Required: None

Lesson 4:
Energy Efficiency

1.5 hours

Summary
Students review important concepts pertaining to energy conservation and go on a scavenger hunt in search of examples of energy efficiency in their school building.

  • Relevant Frameworks: L4.4, SL4.1, SS & STE practices
  • Lesson Type: Builds on previous lesson
  • Prep Time: Over 10 min
  • Storage Space Required: Tote bag

Lesson 5:
Guest Speaker

1.5 hours

Summary
The teacher invites a community member to speak about energy efficiency.

  • Relevant Frameworks: SS, STE & ELA practices
  • Lesson Type: Builds on previous lesson
  • Prep Time: Over 10 min
  • Storage Space Required: None

Lesson 6:
Model Home

2 ½ - 3 ½ hours

Energy Detectives - Build energy-efficient model homes

Summary
Students design and build energy-efficient model homes.

  • Relevant Frameworks; SL4.1, 4-ESS3-1, 4-PS3-2, 3-5-ETS1-1, 3-5-ETS1-2, 4.3-5-ETS1-5(MA)
  • Lesson Type: Builds on previous lesson
  • Prep Time: Over 10 min
  • Storage Space: Rolling cart

Lesson 7:
Creative Writing

1 - 1 ½ hours

Summary
Students author a real estate listing for their model homes with a focus on energy efficiency and sustainability.

  • Relevant Frameworks: RI4.1, RW4.2, SL4.1, ELA practices
  • Lesson Type: Builds on previous lesson
  • Prep Time: None
  • Storage Space Required: None

Lesson 8:
Presentations & Reflections

1 hour

Summary
Students present their energy-efficient model homes and real estate listings to a live audience. They then reflect on the curriculum and what they learned.

  • Relevant Frameworks: SL4.4, 4-ESS3-1, 4-PS3-2, SS, ELA & STE practices
  • Lesson Type: Builds on previous lesson
  • Prep Time: None
  • Storage Space Required: None

Rationale

Heating and cooling of buildings is one of the main sources of greenhouse gas emissions in U.S. cities and towns. Burning of fossil fuels for energy results in high costs to residents as well as pollution that leads to environmental and health concerns.

Illnesses associated with fossil fuel pollution include chronic cough, asthma, lung cancer, bronchitis, and other respiratory ailments. Energy efficiency measures can support good physical and mental health by creating healthier indoor living environments, which include improved air temperatures, noise levels, humidity levels and air quality.

The book Energy Detectives was written by Madelyn Rosenberg, illustrated by Paul Meisel, and funded by Cooler Communities to help children better understand how to conserve energy at home. Our hope is that educators will read the book with students in the classroom and incorporate some or all of our accompanying solutions-based curriculum into their instruction.

Additionally, we hope children will learn to understand and advocate for changes to energy consumption in their communities. This starts with encouraging their adult family members to make changes to more efficiently insulate and power their homes.