TEACHER RESOURCE MANUAL
Unit: Electricity and Air Pollution
Grade Level: 6
This lesson is part of a series of instructional units developed by The Clean Air Campaign? in partnership with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Environmental Protection Division, Air Protection Branch, and the Georgia Tech Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics and Computing (CEISMC). The units were developed with input from teachers in the Atlanta Public Schools, Clayton County Schools, Cobb County Schools, Decatur City Schools, DeKalb County Schools, Fulton County Schools, Henry County Schools, Marietta City Schools, Rockdale County Schools, and several private schools. Their suggestions and comments were valuable.
The units are designed to inform students in grades 4-8 about air quality issues in metro Atlanta and Georgia, including issues related to science, health, and human behavior. The units utilize readily available resources, web-based resources, and print resources to teach air quality concepts. For more information about The Clean Air Campaign?, log on to
4 Air Pollution and Visibility ; Hazy Days
; Monitoring Air Pollution
5 Air Quality and Transportation ; The Six Infamous Pollutants
; Traffic Jams
; Green Vehicles
6 Electricity and Air Pollution ; Air Pollution and Electrical
; Light Bulb Pollution
7 The Impact of Air Pollution on ; Air Pollution and the Lung
Animal Systems Connection
; The Impact of Air Pollution on
an Animal System
8 Ground Level Ozone ; Air Pollution in Metro Atlanta
; Weather and Ground-level
The instructional units are designed to be integrated into existing content lessons. They can easily replace an existing activity. Therefore, issues relating to air quality can be woven throughout the curriculum for an entire semester or school year. This allows the teacher to focus on Quality Core Curriculum standards that must be taught at each grade level without having to find extra time in the curriculum to focus on air quality issues. Lessons can be accessed through the
Georgia Learning Connections (GLC) website (www.glc.k12.ga.us) and the
Environmental Education in Georgia web site (www.eeingeorgia.org).
These instructional units integrate technology based on standards suggested by the International Society of Technology Education (ISTE). Therefore, web resources are used extensively throughout most of the lessons. If web access is limited, then students may use library resources (books, encyclopedias, or journals) to gather information on specific topics. Print sources may be available from several government agencies, including the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.
thThe 6 Grade Unit
In this unit, students will explore how the production of electricity can contribute to air pollution; identify energy sources as renewable or nonrenewable; understand that energy savings can translate into pollution reduction; and analyze two types of light bulbs in terms of the energy they use and pollution associated with production of that energy. There are two lessons in the unit:
1. Air Pollution and Electrical Energy Production – In this lesson,
students will use online resources to explain how the production of
electricity contributes to the problem of air pollution. Students will find
and mark where power plants in Georgia are located on a map. They
will differentiate between renewable and nonrenewable energy sources.
Students will also construct a water wheel to examine hydropower as a
renewable energy resource.
2. Light Bulb Pollution - In this lesson, students will investigate how
conserving energy by using certain types of light bulbs can reduce air
pollution, when fossil fuels are used to produce electricity. Based on a
known relationship between power production in Georgia and
emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), students will learn how to calculate
the amount of CO emitted when energy is produced for each type of 2
light bulb. Each student will then conduct an “energy audit” at home, to
calculate how much pollution can be prevented by replacing
incandescent bulbs with more energy-efficient compact fluorescent
Power Point Presentations or Transparency Masters
Lesson 1: Air Pollution and Electrical Energy Production
; Sources of Energy for Electricity in Georgiaf.ppt – Graphics used by
permission from United States Energy Information Administration
; Electricity and Air Pollution.ppt - Sources of information: United States
Energy Information Administration and Environmental Protection Agency.
Graphics from Microsoft Clip Art.
Lesson 2: Light Bulb Pollution
; Two Different Kinds of Bulbs.ppt – Clip art from Microsoft Office.
In addition to the web resources linked in the unit, the following sites provide useful background information:
“A Short History of Energy” tells about sources of power historically used in this country. Check out links to other pages on this web site from the Union of Concerned Scientists, such as “Coal vs. Wind Power” and “State Clean Energy Maps and Graphs.” Relevant to Lesson 1.
USGS‟ Water Science for Schools website explains how hydrological power generation works, with an animated diagram. Links are provided to other information about hydro power. Relevant to Lesson 1.
The How Stuff Works website has this article and diagram on How Hydropower Works. Click also on “Inside the Generator” to see how a water wheel is used to generate power. Then, for fun, click on Hydropower Footwear to see how a water wheel is used to generate power in a new invention. Relevant to Lesson 1.
This British web site provides examples and background information on energy formulas, graphics for practice reading electric meters, and more information about energy. Recommended for teachers who would like to review the concepts and formulas presented in the Student Worksheet. Click on “Watt” and “Kilo-Watt” for relevant slide presentations. (Optional: This web site could also be viewed by students on an Internet-connected computer, printed on transparencies to be shown on an overhead projector, or presented to the class with a scan converter and monitor). Relevant to Lesson 2.
www.epa.gov/airnow/aqikids - A website for kids sponsored by the United
States Environmental Protection Agency. General information.
The Clean Air Campaign； has a free speakers‟ bureau. Teachers may
want to arrange for a speaker during the week of lesson. Requests for speakers can be made here:
Both lessons in this unit demonstrate that one‟s environmental responsibility
starts at home. The following few paragraphs are culled from lesson plan
handouts. The teacher will need to be familiar with this information before the start of the lesson.
- A typical household spends about 10-15% of its Energy-Saving Light Bulbs
annual electric bill on lighting, mostly due to inefficient fixtures and bulbs. Compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) use 66% less energy than a standard incandescent bulb, and last up to 10 times longer. While an incandescent lamp can be „on‟ for about 1000 hours, a CFL can be „on‟ for 10,000 hours before burning out. CFLs provide the same light output (measured in lumens) as standard incandescent bulbs, at lower wattage ratings. This means they use less energy and therefore contribute less to air pollution. Replacing a 100-watt incandescent light bulb with a 30-watt CFL can save approximately $50 in energy costs over the life of the bulb.
It should be noted that light bulbs, themselves, do not emit pollutants. Rather, when fossil fuels are burned to produce electricity, pollutants such as carbon dioxide are emitted. The less energy needed for a light bulb, the fewer pollutants are produced in the process of generating that electrical energy.
Measuring Electricity – Electricity is measured in units of power called watts.
This unit was named to honor James Watt, inventor of the steam engine. One watt is a very small amount of power. It describes the rate at which electricity is being used at a specific moment. A kilowatt (kW) represents 1,000 watts. The
amount of electricity a customer uses over a period of time is measured in
kilowatt-hours (kWh). Kilowatt-hours are shown on home electric bills.
For example, a 60-watt light bulb, burning 4 hours a day for 30 days, uses 7.2 kW of electrical energy in a month.
Sample Calculation: (60 watts) X (4 hours/day) X (30days) = 7200 watt-hours
7200 watt-hours/(1000 watts/kW) = 7.2 kW
Megawatts and Gigawatts - metric terms used to measure electricity in large quantities, such as the output of a power plant or the amount of electricity required by an entire city.
1 megawatt (MW) = 1,000 kilowatts (kW) = 1,000,000 watts (1 million) 1 gigawatt (GW) = 1,000 megawatts (MW) = 1,000,000,000 watts (1 billion)
The average size of US power plants is 213 MW. In 1990, if all US electrical generating plants were operating at full capacity at once, they would have produced 690 GW.
Light Bulb Cost-Effectiveness
The Light Bulb Pollution lesson includes formulas and sample problems for calculating the cost-effectiveness of a light bulb over its lifespan; and the quantity of carbon dioxide pollution produced when power is generated for a light bulb. It is important for a teacher to be familiar with these formulas before beginning the
lesson with students. Refer to the Student Worksheet and Worksheet Key at Step 3 for more information.
Formula for Calculating Light Bulb Cost-Effectiveness
Lifespan costs for one light bulb = (Energy Cost in kWh) X (Lifespan of light bulb, in hrs) X (Bulb wattage, in kW) + Purchase price of light bulb
Assumptions: Purchase price of incandescent bulb = $0.75/bulb
Purchase price of CFL bulb = $6.00/bulb
Energy cost= $0.075/kWh (7.5 cents per kWh)
Sample Calculation: (.075dollar/kWh) X (1000 hr lifespan of bulb) X (1 bulb)
X (0.060 kW)** + $0.75 bulb purchase price = $5.25 lifespan cost of a 60 watt
**Remember: To convert watts (W) to kilowatts (kW), divide by 1000
Example: A 60 watt/lamp x 1 Kilowatt / 1000 watts = 0.060 kW/lamp
Calculating Air Pollution Associated with a Light Bulb’s Energy Needs For every kilowatt-hour (kWh) of energy used in Georgia, an average 1.37 lbs. of
) is emitted into the air. (source: carbon dioxide (CO2
Formula for Calculating CO Produced when Energy for a Light Bulb is 2
The carbon dioxide pollution produced when energy for one light bulb is generated =
(1.37 lbs of CO/kWh) X (bulb wattage, in kilowatts) X (life span of light bulb, in 2
Sample Calculation for 60W incandescent bulb: (1.37 lbs CO/kWh) X (0.060 kW 2
per bulb)** X (1000 hrs. bulb life) = 82.2 lbs of CO produced by incandescent 2
lamp over its lifespan.
* Remember: 60 watts = 0.060 kilowatts