From Grid to Home
This one-period classroom activity is designed to have students analyze energy use, cost, and source patterns from household to regional scales and relate these patterns to CO2 emissions. This idea was generated at the Teaching Energy Workshop.
Grades 6 - 20
This activity can be adapted for various levels.
Skills and concepts that students must have mastered
Understanding of Excel (or could do graphing by hand with younger students)
Basic math skills for calculations
How the activity is situated in the course
Stand alone exercise or as introduction to the Lifestyle Project
Content/concepts goals for this activity
- Analyze energy source, usage, and cost by region of US
- Compare household energy use to regional norms
- Calculate household CO2 emissions based on electricity source
- Discuss ways to reduce electrical footprint
Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity
- Interpretation of tabular and graphical data
- Ability to analyze energy use patterns
Other skills goals for this activity
- Communication via writing and oral presentation
Description of the activity/assignment
Students use their household electric bills and available online data sets describing US regional electricity use, cost, and source to explore household energy use on personal, regional and national scales.
Determining whether students have met the goals
Students will create bar charts to summarize the regional data, participate in a discussion of how their electric bills compare to the regional average and the possible reasons for variation, and calculate their CO2 emissions and write about how to reduce their electric use.
Teaching materials and tips
Activity Description/Assignment: Grid to Home Worksheet (Microsoft Word 312kB May19 09)
- Instructors Notes:
- Solution Set:
- Grid to Home Dataset (Excel 19kB May19 09)
This map, arranged by census region, illustrates the diversity of fuel use and shows how the electricity generation mixes in various regions of the country differ.
Average Monthly Electric Bill by Sector, Census Division, and State 2007, from the Energy Information Administration.