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Locate and Document Your Meter(s)

Authored by STEMhero

30 minutes
Primary subjects: 
Career and Technical Education (CTE): STEM, Mathematics, Reading or Language Arts, Science
Grade: 
6, 7, 8
5
Average: 5 (1 vote)
About

This lesson engages students as real-life data sleuths to find out how their homes measure water and energy use. After discussing the social and environmental purposes and processes of measuring usage, students learn about different types of meters, then investigate their own home and/or school building to assess which meters are in use.

Key objectives for students
Students will identify their personal connection to water, electricity and natural gas by locating meters monitoring their own homes’ utility consumption.
Secondary subjects
Civics and Government, Entrepreneurship
Topics
Water, Energy, Innovation, Engineering, Data
Skills
Collaboration, Critical Thinking, Systems thinking
Time Exercise Description
5 minutes Introduce Introduce the STEMhero unit
20 minutes Complete Complete the form
5 minutes Assign Assign Homework
Implementation
  1. Introduce the STEMhero unit with an introduction of the Essential Question for the week. Discuss initial reactions
    students have to the question.

    We will be spending class time and time at home for the next weeks being scientists and engineers, investigating our own home’s water, natural gas, and electricity use. We’ll use our phones or other electronic devices to help us experiment and complete the other student missions online. We will be reflecting throughout the unit on what it means to care for the environment and what it means to be responsible citizens, concepts you have learned about and discussed throughout your education.

    Over the next few weeks, we’ll be acting like scientists and engineers to investigate the water and energy use of our own homes and school. Sometimes, the total energy or water used by a building or person is called it’s footprint, because like footprints in sand, our energy and water consumption leave a mark on the world..

    Raise your hand if you have recently heard someone at home talking about the water, electric or gas bill? What did they say?
    Common answers: Bills are higher than desired; reference to a specific action that is causing the bills to be higher than desired or necessary.

    Why does it matter how much our home’s use?
    Common answers: Environmental benefits of using less; costs money; stewardship ethic not using more than we
    need, etc.

    How are our bills calculated? In other words, how do the people who provide our homes with electricity, water and natural gas know exactly how much our families used?
    Answer: Utility meters. Devices or machines designed and created by scientists and engineers measure exactly how much water, electricity, or natural gas passes through them and is used at our homes.

  2. Go to this page and complete the form together as a class:

    Viewing picture of electricity meter
    Alt text

    Teacher : Raise your hand if you have seen this where you live? Where was it (i.e. in the basement, on the side of your home, in the garage, etc…)? What type of utility meter is this in other words, does this meter measure the use of water, electricity, or natural gas?
    Answer: Electric meter, the meter that measures electricity usage.

    Teacher : Let’s try to name three ways that electricity is used in our homes Common answers: Lights, appliances, heating, water heating, air conditioning, electronics (computers, TVs)...

    Viewing the picture of natural gas meter
    Alt text

    Teacher : Raise your hand if you have seen this where you live? Where was it (i.e. in the basement, on the side of your home, in the garage, etc…)? What type of utility meter is this in other words, does this meter measure the use of water, electricity, or natural gas?
    Answer: gas (natural gas) meter, the meter that measures gas (natural gas) usage.

  3. Assign Homework: STEMhero notebook: Where’s My Meter? ( Bilingual )
    Students will identify and locate the gas, water, or electric utility meters at their home.*

*NOTE: The goal is for students to explore their home to determine which types of meters students have available to them. Not all students will have access to each and every type of meter, especially if they (1) live in a multi-family duplex or apartment building; (2) live in a home that uses well water. In fact, the different meter types that students can and choose to measure provides a natural way to create small groups in class of students all tracking the same meter type. This will help later when students can help each other make sure they are taking meter readings correctly.

Reflection Questions

In what ways do water, electricity, and natural gas shape my life and my community?

Assessment Opportunities

Online missions: Where’s My Meter?, How to Take a Reading and Meter Reading Practice

STEMhero Notebook Resources

Standards assessment

The Stage 1: Identify and read real data sources module overall is aligned with the following standards:

  • CCSS ELA-­Literacy.RST (6­8.3-6­8.4); ISTE: (3, 3b, 6, 6a)
Professional Development Opportunities

Learning seminars or webinars are available by request (additional charge for in-person training)

Comments

Susan Richardson's picture
Sat, 05/27/2017 - 15:48

Susan Richardson

Pro Reviewer
5

Quite a few of my students reside in a mobile home or apartment, so only electric meter may be viewable. Also, maybe need to caution students to take a "buddy" to do this when parents are not home.