Pupils get excited about energy

Here are the top five takeaways from her article in Primary Geographer.

If we are going to produce new generations of energy-aware adults, it is vital that we educate pupils about how our energy use links to climate change.

Alex Green, LESS CO2 Programme Manager

1. Start with the basics

Introduce the pupils to important vocabulary and have them discuss what equipment at home or in the classroom uses energy. Keep explanations simple, positive, and relatable, and encourage discussion. With more advanced pupils, explain the basic concepts of relative wealth, and how different life would be without energy access.

2. Demystify the concept of energy and climate change

Explain how using too much energy from fossil-fuels rapidly changes the climate and the weather we experience and creates problems all over the world. Encourage pupils to think about the ecosystem as a whole: the importance of looking after our environment to help ourselves, the climate, the world, and the plants and animals that inhabit it. 

How do you explain energy to pupils? You cannot see or feel it, and it involves using lots of technical terms and processes that some adults find hard to grasp.

Alex Green, LESS CO2 Programme Manager

3. Link the weather and climate

Have pupils discuss the immediate impact of their behaviour on local and global climate, focusing on news coverage of extreme weather events around the world. Teach them about the different types of extreme weather. Ask them what recent weather abnormalities they are aware of and discuss the links to climate change.

4. Engage outside of the classroom

Energy-focused activities outside of the classroom help build on their learning. Organise an assembly for the pupils to present their energy savings to the school and encourage other teachers to include sustainability in their curriculum. Challenge pupils to apply their energy saving practises at home.

When energy and sustainability are integrated into learning they can be used as linking threads between curriculum areas.

Alex Green, LESS CO2 Programme Manager

5. Power to the pupils

Once the pupils know the energy-saving basics, give them the responsibility for energy use in the classroom and in the school. Have them design energy-saving posters and hang them up around the school. Empowering the students to embrace and enforce energy-saving measures allows them to develop a sense of ownership and take pride in their understanding of the topic.

Visit the LESS CO2 website to find out how your school can save energy.