The next few slides contain some practical ideas, but you could ask the students to make some suggestions at this point.
You could broadly introduce the concept of ‘being green’: caring for, protecting and improving the environment, both locally and globally.
Nearly everyone uses energy, water and transport, and produces waste, every day. That ’s why there are areas of our lives where we can all be greener. Point out that everyday we use energy to power transport, for cooking, heating and lighting our homes, and to power all the gadgets we use. We take a clean water supply for granted for washing, cooking, cleaning and much more. Water: A running tap uses over 6 litres of water per minute. Source: www.greenboxday.co.uk Transport: Using public transport reduces pollution and traffic jams. Source: n/a
These simple measures are great first steps towards being greener. What other ways of saving energy at school can students think of? e.g. Wear warm clothes rather than turning the heating up during cold weather When using computers, only print things if you really need to Use low energy bulbs Fact: Leaving a 60W light bulb on for one hour every day of the year uses the same amount of energy as watching the TV every evening for a month.
These simple measures are great first steps towards being greener. What other ways of reducing waste at school can students think of? e.g. Re-use plastic bottles Use both sides of a piece of paper Only print if you really need to Fact: Plastic can take up to 500 years to decompose. To emphasise how long that is, point out to the children that 500 years ago in Spain, people were still living in castles!
These simple measures are great first steps towards being greener. What other ways of saving water at school can students think of? e.g. Collect rainwater to water plants Fit water saving devices in toilets Fact: 150 litres of water would fill 455 soft drink cans!
How many students already use green transport? How many times a week? If students don ’t walk, cycle or use public transport, what are the reasons? How could these reasons be overcome? Fact: In the morning almost one in five cars on the road are taking children to school.
It ’ s important that we all try to be greener.. What actions can you all take to make your school a greener place? Start by concentrating on easily achievable goals, like turning off lights when you leave a room, or not leaving taps running. Because students can easily succeed with this type of activity, it will provide an incentive to get involved and generate enthusiasm for changing their behaviour. Ideas include: Turn off gadgets Say goodbye to standby Switch off lights Don ’t leave taps running Re-use plastic bottles - fill with tap water Sort your rubbish for recycling Re-use bags – say No! to plastic Cycle or walk to school Use public transport Wear warm clothes rather than turning the heating up during cold weather Use both sides of a piece of paper Only print if you really need to Use low energy bulbs Use recycled toilet paper Collect rainwater to water plants Fit water saving devices in toilets Use rechargeable batteries rather than disposable ones Plant trees in the school grounds
Slide 1: title screen Tell the children that you will all be discussing energy in today ’s assembly. The presentation consists of 12 slides, each with teachers ’ notes. The notes are designed to help you present some key ideas and hold discussions about some of the issues with the children. There are some opportunities for extending the presentation for older or more capable pupils, particularly on slide 8: global warming and slide 11: renewable energy . Suggestions and information are included in the notes for these slides.
Slide 2: introduction Show the children these pictures and ask them to describe what they can see. What do these pictures make them think of? Explain that we need energy to do things like power our vehicles and provide us with heat and electricity. Our modern way of life depends on energy. Also introduce the idea that there are many different ways of producing the energy we need. Some methods have been around for a long time, other methods are newer. Begin the assembly.
Slide 5: where does energy come from? Ask the children to think of all the places the energy they use comes from. How does energy get into our house? Wires, pylons, plugs etc. Batteries How does energy get into our cars? Petrol & diesel How is the energy made? Power stations burn fossil fuels to make energy Cars burn fossil fuels to make energy
Slide 3: what do we use energy for? Ask the children to think of all the different things they use energy for. If necessary, you may like to distinguish between the two types of energy we use: The energy need to survive and grow – e.g. eating food for energy Energy we create to make our lives easier – burning fuel to heat homes, power cars etc. Talk about the difference between the two. Explain that it is the second type we are thinking about when trying to be more sustainable. You could list the examples the children think of – fuel for cars, electricity of TVs, mobile phones etc, gas for cooking and so on.
Slide 4: ways we use energy Everyday we use energy to power transport, for cooking, heating and lighting our homes, and to power all the gadgets we use. We take a clean and heated water supply for granted for washing, cooking, cleaning and much more. Talk about how hard life would be if we didn ’t use energy: How would you stay in touch with your friends without a mobile phone? How would we wash our clothes with washing machines? What would it be like to wash without any hot water? How would you go on holiday without cars, trains, boats or planes? What would you do in the evening without a TV or computer? We take the energy we use for granted.
Slide 6: fossil fuels Most of our energy comes from FOSSIL FUELS : COAL, OIL and GAS . They are burned at power stations, in cars and in our homes to make energy. Why are they called fossil fuels? Fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas are formed in the ground from the remains of dead plants and animals. They are fuels made of fossils! It takes millions of years to form fossil fuels. Fossil fuels store energy. Burning them releases the energy for us to use – for example, as electricity.
Slide 7: why is burning fossil fuels bad? Ask the students to make some suggestions at this point. They might think of the pollution that burning fossil fuels can cause, from car exhaust fumes to power station emissions. Are they aware of climate change and global warming? Do they make the link between these issues and energy use? The next slide will help you to explain this.
Slide 8: global warming Burning fossil fuels is bad because: Burning them produces lots of carbon dioxide. This is causing global warming . Also, it took millions of years for nature to create fossil fuels, but we are using them up very quickly. Once we have used them all, they will be gone for ever. Our energy comes from transforming one form of energy into another that is more useful to us. For example, car engines convert the chemical energy in petrol into heat energy, and then to kinetic energy that moves the car forward. This transformation produces waste. When we burn fossil fuels, we release the carbon they contain (which millions of years ago was CO2 in the atmosphere) back into the atmosphere as new CO2. CO2 is one of the gasses responsible for global warming. EXTENSION If appropriate, you could explain in more detail what causes climate change: What causes climate change? There is strong evidence that this climate change cannot be explained by natural causes alone. So what is happening? In the Earth ’ s atmosphere are gases called greenhouse gases . These gases let sunlight and heat in, but only let some of the heat back out. They soak up heat and send it back towards the Earth, making it warm enough for people, other animals and plants to live on. This is called the greenhouse effect because it works the same way a greenhouse does – letting in sunlight and trapping the heat inside. The more greenhouse gases there are in the atmosphere, the more heat that gets trapped. This causes the temperature to go up. So global warming is being caused by an increase in the amount of greenhouse gases. Where do these extra greenhouse gases come from? They are being made by us: humans. The greenhouse gas we release most of is carbon dioxide (CO2). CO2 is produced when fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas are burned to make energy.
We need to: Use less energy Use more renewable energy sources Ask the children for their ideas about using less energy. Ask the children to think of ways of producing renewable energy. Do they know what renewable energy is? Fact note: Renewable energy is energy generated from natural resources, such as such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, and geothermal heat. These are considered renewable sources because they are continuously and naturally replenished. You could make lists, dividing the ideas into the two categories above.
Use less energy These are easy things that everyone can do every day. Ask the children to think of other ways in which they could use less energy. You could make a list. For example: Use energy-efficient light bulbs Walk, cycle or use public transport rather than a car, whenever possible Use rechargeable batteries Wash clothes using lower water temperatures – switch machines to 30 degrees Shut curtains Avoid draughts – block gaps under doors Don ’t overfill the kettle – only boil as much water as you need Make sure washing machines and dishwashers are full before running them Put lids on saucepans when boiling water Take a quick shower rather than a bath Turn your heating down by a few degrees Dry clothes on washing lines and racks, rather than in a tumble dryer Don ’t put wet towels or clothes on radiators – it stops the heat getting out Unplug phone chargers when you have finished charging Make sure new appliances are energy-efficient Make sure buildings are well insulated
Use renewable energy Renewable energy comes from sources of power that will never run out and produce almost no CO2. Using these sources reduces pollution will reduce the effect of climate change. Using renewable sources will also ensure that we leave some resources for future generations to use. Ask the children how they would feel if their children, or their children ’s children, suffered because there was an energy shortage. EXTENSION The best sources of renewable energy – wind, solar, waves and tides – are not highly concentrated forms of energy in the way that fossil fuels are. Instead of the tens of fossil fuel power plants in the Spain currently, many thousands of renewable energy installations will have to be built, taking up large portions of land and, in the case of wind, being very visible. Renewable sources are, by their nature, found in remote and beautiful places. To bring power to the places people live, many more power lines will have to be built. Increased use of renewable energy will change the way a lot of the countryside looks. What do the children think about the environmental trade-offs that will have to be made to increase renewable energy production?