Energy Monitoring

Monitoring school energy consumption (PDF)
Schools tend to be high-energy users with stretched budgets and can benefit financially from controlling their energy consumption. The pupils monitor on a regular basis the school consumption of energy such as gas, electricity, district heating or oil. Through the monitoring the pupils become aware of the school energy consumption and what they themselves can contribute to a reduction.

In the Active Learning toolbox you find a number of activity sheets with suggestions for fun and engaging activities within six topics. The activities have been tried and tested by school teachers and children from 15 different countries. The step-by-step descriptions are followed by useful material and references.
The material intended for teachers is marked with  in the top left hand corner, while hand-out material intended for the children is marked with .

Relevant references to national curriculum can also be found for each activity  

The topics are...
 Energy monitoring Lighting 
Space heating   Appliances 
Hot & Cold water Transport 
Space Heating

Give the pupils knowledge about energy conservation and energy efficiency, including cost implications. Increase their awareness of the “thermal climate” in their classroom and what influences it. The focus in these activities will be insulation, heating and cooling, windows and an introduction to the sun as a renewable source to energy.

The energy house (PDF)
Heating and cooling of a building is the end-use that consumes most energy in a household. The pupils design an “energy house” and decide how to insulate it. They build the house and test its ability in various positions to keep a bag of ice cold.

Special energy investigators
Increase the pupils’ awareness of the thermal climate in their classroom and what influences it. The pupils investigate hot and cold spots in the classroom, monitor the level of draught in the classroom with a “draft-o-meter” and carry out an experiment with hot and cold cans.

Ventilation aspects in school (PDF)
This activity educates the children about energy efficiency of windows. The pupils check the windows for draughts and learn how to prevent them with simple measures and how to properly ventilate the class room with minimum heat loss.

Solar ovens (PDF)
The sun is our most abundant source of renewable energy. In this activity the pupils build different types of solar ovens. They measure and compare the performance of their ovens by melting chocolate in the oven. A “tasteful” way of learning about renewable energy.


As everyone travels more often and our journeys become longer, the issue of how and why we get around becomes ever more relevant. The way we travel has changed significantly within the last generations. We take many more journeys by car and less walking and cycling every year. The transport issue absolutely affects schools and pupils - not only in terms of the environmental impact, but also in terms of the pupils’ health, fitness and not least road safety.

CO2 footprint of the journey from home to school (PDF)
The choice of transport from home to school has an impact on the environment. The pupils record the distance they travel from their home to the school and the time it takes to cover that distance. Calculate the resulting daily CO2 emissions and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of different modes of transport.

Travel habits now and then (PDF)
With this activity the pupils investigate the various types of transport and their impact on our environment. They apply their own travel experiences and interview parents and grandparents to find out how travel habits have changed through the generations and reflect on the energy perspective of past and present modes of transport.

Inspector McCar (PDF)

Out in the traffic the pupils observe 100 vehicles and register type of vehicle and the number of persons in the vehicle. The pupils then discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the various vehicle types and the possibilities for reducing energy consumption and pollution. What are the benefits and difficulties of sharing cars?

Construct your own vehicle (PDF)
Every type of transport needs energy to move forward. The pupils construct vehicles of their choice from waste material and find ways to make the vehicles move forward. They then test the vehicles and discuss speed and distance and what sources of energy are available to us for propelling our vehicles and which sources are renewable.

Hot and Cold Water

These activities makes the children understand that water is a finite limited natural resource, which we tend to waste a significant amount of every day. The children will also see the potential of renewable energy when using their self-made grass- and sun boilers.

Throwing money down the sewage (PDF)
Drinking water is a limited natural resource and we tend to waste a significant amount every day. Let the children observe and record the consumption of water at home. The pupils will hopefully learn to take responsibility and limit the water waste through simple measures.

Tiny drops – Huge waste of water (PDF)
Pupils can have a significant effect on water consumption at school and at home. The pupils record malfunctioning taps and toilets as well as taps that have not been turned off properly and measure how much water is wasted when taps are dripping.

Make your own grass boiler (PDF)
The pupils turn a bucket and fresh grass into a grass boiler that can heat water if just left to stand. The pupils track the water temperature development. The results can be compared to the results of the sun boiler (see next activity). The pupils gain an understanding of the use of renewable energies and biomass, and their importance in the fight against climate change and the depletion of fossil fuels.

Make your own sun boiler (PDF)
With a large box, black tissue and tin foil the pupils construct a sun boiler and try to heat water. The best location and wea

What would the world be without electricity and electric appliances? We all use numerous electric appliances every day. These activities teach the pupils the importance of energy efficient behaviour and how we by simple changes can help protect the environment and save time and money.

Energy label detectives (PDF)
The pupils are introduced to energy labelling of appliances – “A” is better than “G”. They then visit a local shop and try to identify which is the appliance with the worst rating and which is the appliance with the best rating within each group of appliances and what are their prices.     

Standby power in my home (PDF)
We hear from the media and research projects that “standby power” consumes large amounts of energy and millions of € every year. Is this true? The pupils measure the standby electricity consumption of some typical household appliances, and compare it with the total energy consumption of the device.

Race of the pots (PDF)
Heating up water for tea, potatoes, pasta … is an everyday activity. The pupils race each other in heating up a pot of water. A simple behavioural change such as using a lid can bring about energy savings as well as save money and time – in other words be crucial in winning the race of he pots.

Electricity counts (PDF)
At home the pupils make a list of electrical appliances, their wattage and the amount of time they are used. Back in school they calculate the energy consumption and discuss the impact that the number of hours of use of use as well as the wattage itself has in the total household energy consumption.

One day without electricity (PDF)
What do we use every day that demands electricity? And what would a day without electricity be like? Through discussions the pupils reflect on what our forefathers did before electricity was discovered. Then they try to live one day without using electricity and discuss what they experienced.
ther conditions are tested and results can be compared to that of a grass boiler (see previous activity). It is obviously best to test the sun boiler on a hot and sunny summer day.

Lighting is one of the most visible uses of electricity in our everyday lives. It is also an element which we have easy control. It does not require much to get into the habit of switching off the light when leaving a room. In other words it is easy to reduce the waste of energy and it is without hassle or loss of comfort. In the proposed activities the pupils are made aware of their actual need for light and the possibilities to avoid waste.

Guardian of the light (PDF)

Lighting is one of the most visible uses of electricity in the pupil’s everyday lives. The pupils measure the amount of time that the light is on and track how the need for light depends on the weather. They then try to reduce the unnecessary use of lighting and calculate the energy savings.

Switch me off (PDF)
Even you pupils can contribute to energy saving and practice energy efficient behaviour. The pupils make colourful stickers that are placed next to the light switches to remind everyone to switch the light off when not needed.

Switches mapping (PDF)
The pupils map the location of the light switches and the lamps they are connected to. Knowing which switch controls which lamp is the first step to practicing energy efficient behaviour and switching off unnecessary light.

Shine a light on savings (PDF)
Through examination of light bulbs, web search and shop visits the pupils find out about the range of bulbs and their energy consumption. They then survey their home or the class room and calculate the amount of energy that could be saved through installation of energy efficient bulbs.

The path of the sun (PDF)
The pupils observe and log the path of the sun across the sky and how this varies according to the time of day or season. They then relate their findings to exploitation of solar energy and renewable energy in general.