Published on April 23, 2014
October is Energy Awareness Month! All around the world, people use energy everyday. From the lights we turn on in the morning, to the gas that is used to power our cars, to the computers we type on, to the stoves we cook our food on, to the electric alarm clock we set before we go to sleep-- we all are using energy. Are we using too much electricity?
Energy is essential to living, but often we waste electricity when we could be conserving it. The impact of our daily energy consumption has a negative impact on our planet. It's time to think smart about energy. What can students do to conserve energy and think about sustainable use of electricity?
This month littleBits challenges teachers and students to harness your inner inventor and dive into our littleBits Energy Design Challenge:
How can you use littleBits to bring awareness to everyday energy consumption? We can't wait to see what you dream up!Overall project: 5 E’s
Before embarking on this integrated unit, we suggest students begin with a hands-on, open-ended exploration of littleBits, combined with a study of energy: What is energy? Where do we get it? How do we use it? How can we best conserve it?
Engage: Ask students to brainstorm the ways they may be wasting energy in their daily lives-- at home and in school. Think: water, electricity, heat, etc. What behaviors or tools are you already using in your daily life that help reduce energy consumption?
Explore: Use littleBits to answer the Design Challenge. Merge littleBits with materials to begin iterating and inventing.
Explain: How is energy lost in a system? What is Vampire Energy? Why is energy conservation important?
Elaborate: What resources are you conserving with your invention? Can you use or alter your invention to measure energy use? What Dream Bit would you create to improve your invention? How might you use littleBits to create an energy generating machine?
Evaluate: Students should be able to explain key concepts and information acquired in the lesson.
Resources for Teachers on Energy Awareness Month:http://www.need.org/needpdf/SavingEnergyTeacher.pdf
Credits: littleBits Education
Disclaimer: This project involves close proximity to an electrical outlet. Note, Bits should never come in contact with an electrical outlet! Adult supervision is required.
Did you know that even when many common household electronics are turned off, if they are plugged into an electrical outlet, they are still using energy? Vampire Energy, also known as Phantom Load or Standby Power, is the wasted energy used by these products when they are turned off, yet still plugged in.
The Vampire Energy Projector is made with littleBits and visually displays the “vampire” energy being sucked out through the plug when it remains in the outlet.Are you curious to learn more about Vampire Energy? Check out: (http://www.howstuffworks.com/everyday-tech/vampire-power.htm) and (http://www.treehugger.com/gadgets/the-visual-display-of-vampire-information.html)
How bright is your bulb? Test the effects of an energy-saving bulb and compare it to a regular incandescent lightbulb with the same wattage.
The Bottle Bulb is the brilliant invention of a Brazilian mechanic named Alfredo Moser. In 2002, Moser discovered a way of lighting his house during the day without using any electricity. He used little more than plastic bottles filled with water. In the last two years Moser’s innovation has spread throughout the world. It is expected to be in one million homes by early 2014.
We made a small dark chamber with a light sensor and a bargraph in order to measure how bright a light bulb is. The brighter the light bulb, the more LEDs on the littleBits Bargraph light up.
TEACHER RESOURCE for Bottle Bulb: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-23536914http://aliteroflight.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Liter_Of_Light-How_to_build_a_Solar_Bottle_Bu...
Saving Energy by Day: We don’t need electric lights all the time. Daylight usually does the trick, but it is often habit to turn lights on during the day. How can we be more thoughtful about our energy use?For this project we created a circuit that lives on the windowsill and on your light switch. When it is bright outside and you flip the light switch, the lamp questions you, “Are you sure? Why?”