common new year resolutions by daftpunk


									                NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION
               By Carolyn Flanagan, Hacienda Environmental Science Magnet
                       San Jose Unified School District, California

Overview: Students will brainstorm with their families about ways the family can save
energy at home; then they will share the ideas generated at home with their class at school.

Objectives: Students will:
   1. Help their families to recognize energy waste in the home and work with their
       families to change behaviors and possibly change actual physical structures to save

Time: 15 minutes initially at school, 30 minutes at school after home sessions
      Unlimited amount of time at home

Subjects: Science, Social Studies, Language Arts

Suggested Grade Level: All

Vocabulary: budget, conserve, draft, caulking, insulation, filter, thermostat, compact
fluorescent light (CFL), incandescent, appliance, EnergyGuide labels, recycle, environment

Materials: A letter home explaining the connection between what the students are learning
at school and how it can be practically applied at home.

BACKGROUND/CASE STUDY                             differently. Making resolutions to
                                                  implement changes is often a part of
                                                  celebrating the New Year, so I thought
As part of our study of energy in my
                                                  perhaps the students could enlist the
science classes (grades K-5) at an
                                                  support of their families at this special
environmental science magnet, we
                                                  time of year to brainstorm what could be
conducted an energy audit of the school
                                                  done differently at their homes and to
and implemented changes to save energy,
                                                  actually take action on their plans. I
and thereby saved money and helped the
                                                  suggested that they just make one family
                                                  resolution, so as to increase the
                                                  possibility of success.
Then we discussed how we could get
families to make changes at home.
                                                  To encourage participation, I offered a
Actually making behavioral changes is
                                                  group reward for the class at each grade
hard to do, and people sometimes put off
                                                  level with the highest level of
taking action on changing physical
                                                  participation. Twenty-five classes
structures and appliances, as well as
                                                  participated with an average rate of 63%.
behaviors. Children are often more
                                                  Several classes had 100% participation.
motivated than adults to do things

Alliance to Save Energy’s Green Schools Program                                        1 of 3
                                                  phantom load etc. Notice the
I also made my own resolution (turning off        difficulties involved in making changes
a certain light when not in use). The             and have the class brainstorm ways to
students enjoyed reminding me when I              overcome the difficulties.
forgot, and this elicited discussions about
how difficult it is to form new habits.       II. At Home (unlimited time)

After students brought back their             A. Send home a “Happy New Year” letter
families’ resolution (written on the back        asking families to make an “Energy
of the letter sent home, so as not to use        Saving New Year’s Resolution” this
more paper), the classes discussed what          year. Explain the reasons for having
went on in their brainstorming session.          the families participate. Perhaps,
Topics included what ideas were                  offer an incentive to those who
generated, whether or not the people             participate or to the class, if a
involved were willing to make changes            predetermined level of participation is
(including the students), and how the            achieved.
changes would be implemented. At the
end of the school year, we again discussed    III. In Class (est. time: 30 min)
the resolutions. Some families had even
documented their electrical use reduction     A. Discuss the results with the class,
and the resulting monetary savings.              focusing on how difficult situations
                                                 could be overcome and how the
PROCEDURE                                        students as individuals were
                                                 instrumental in helping their families
I.   In Class (est. time: 15 min)                become aware of problems and find
                                                 solutions for them. Optional:
A. Teach this lesson in connection with          Students can work in groups each
   the study of energy use and                   focusing on one area--turning off
   conservation so the students will have        lights, limiting appliance use,
   ideas about how to identify problem           conserving water, etc. The groups
   areas and possible solutions. (Try            then present each family’s idea for
   some possible lead-up lessons from            that topic (groups can develop a skit,
   the Green Schools Program’s                   poster, song etc.).
   Elementary Instructional Resources
   such as “Plugging the Leaks,” “Bright      IV. Optional Follow-up
   Ideas,” and “The Appliance
   Explosion”.)                               A. Devise a way to periodically check
                                                 with the students on how their family
B. Discuss and try to make some energy           is doing. Issue a follow-up assignment,
   saving changes in the classroom such          resolution or home energy audit.
   as using natural daylight instead of          Have an end of the school year report
   electric lights when possible, keeping        and celebration.
   classroom doors closed, using paper
   wisely, unplugging appliances with a

Alliance to Save Energy’s Green Schools Program                                    2 of 3

             Happy New Year to all [your school] Families!
In connection with [your school’s] participation in the Green Schools Program, we thought
each [your school] family might be willing to make a family New Year’s Resolution about a
way to save energy. How about having a brainstorming session to generate ideas of possible
and useful ideas? In class, the students often think of ideas that adults miss, so we imagine
the same thing might happen in your home. Please write your family’s energy saving idea on
the back of this paper and have your child return it to school to share in science lab, so we
can all benefit from everyone’s thinking. Thank you for helping the home and school to work
together for the benefit of all.

                                      Courtesy of Hacienda Environmental Science Magnet,
                                                    San Jose Unified School District
                                                            Carolyn Flanagan
                                                            Marcus Clark
                                                            Nancy Davenport

Alliance to Save Energy’s Green Schools Program                                        3 of 3

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