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Sustainability Lesson Clearinghouse

Make Reminder Plates for Light Switches and Thermostats

Lesson Description:
Students will create reminder plates to be hung by light switches and thermostats in their homes or classrooms. They can make their own original designs or embellish the templates provided below.

Eco-fact: Compact fluorescent light bulbs not only last longer, they are more energy efficient than incandescent bulbs.

Before activity:
  • The US Department of Energy suggests these thermostat temperatures.
  • Winter: 68 degrees while you are awake, 53 to 58 while you are asleep or away. You can easily save energy in the winter by setting the thermostat to 68°f while you're awake and setting it lower while you're asleep or away from home. By turning your thermostat back 10°–15° for 8 hours, you can save about 5%–15% a year on your heating bill—a savings of as much as 1% for each degree if the setback period is eight hours long.
  • Summer: 78 degrees while you are home, higher when you are gone. In the summer you can follow the same strategy with central air conditioning. Keep your house warmer than normal when you are away and lower the thermostat setting to 78°f (26°c) only when you are at home and need cooling.

Procedure:
  • For a measuring activity students can measure drawing paper or cardboard and cut to these specifications:
    • Paper or cardboard cut into 2 inch by 3 inch rectangles for light switch
    • Paper or cardboard cut into 6 inch by 4 inch rectangles for thermostat
  • Students can write the following messages on the reminder cards:
    • Always turn off the lights when not in use. 
    • Use natural daylight as much as possibe.
    • (For winter) set your thermostat to 68 degrees while you are awake and 53-58 degrees while you are asleep or away.
    • (For summer) keep your house warmer than normal when you are away and lower the thermostat setting to 78°f only when you are at home and need cooling.
  • Students can design and draw small pictures or logos to decorate their reminder plates.

Adaptations:
  • Students can use the provided cards to below and add their own art work. the illustrated version below can be shown to students as examples for art work.
  • Teacher can provide younger students with pre-cut pieces of paper and cardboard. Students can write a sentence and decorate reminder cards.

Lesson Type:
  • Project

Sustainability Topic:
  • Energy

GEF Program Category:
  • Green Energy Challenge

Time Needed:
30 minutes
Materials Needed:
  • Paper or cardboard cut into 2 inch by 3 inch rectangles for light switch
  • Paper or cardboard cut into 6 inch by 4 inch rectangles for thermostat

School or Group:
GEF
Contact Email:
service@greeneducationfoundation.org
Lesson Documents:
application/pdf thermostat-cards-sample.pdf

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Center for Green Schools