Simply Electric

28 Feb 2018
BySophia L '24

Earlier this year, sixth-grade math students in Ms. Flores's class undertook a study unit on electrical energy. In our electrical energy unit, we learned about adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing decimals. In addition, we learned how to read electric meters and convert watts to kilowatts, as well as various strategies to save electricity.

Our electrical energy unit began by looking at electric meters. We learned how to read the electric meters and how each meter represented a different place value. We also found out that, using the tick marks between each number, we were able to estimate what number the next dial on the right was pointing to, regardless of whether we could see the dial or not.

After that, we learned about watts, kilowatts, and wattages. We learned that there were 1,000 watts in one kilowatt and, using that knowledge, we were able to understand the conversion of watts to kilowatts and vice versa.

After understanding the difference between watts and kilowatts, we learned how to calculate the wattage of an appliance by looking at the difference between two electric meter readings, each read at a different point in time. With knowledge on how to find wattages, we looked at electricity bills and how to find the cost per hour of using an appliance.

The electrical energy unit culminated in a partner project that presented all of the things that we had learned thus far. The students in my class had a large variety of presentations--from poster boards, to slideshows, to coded presentations and games on Scratch. Some students made interactive visuals using LED lights that could switch on and off, flip-up signs, and even a house that depicted the different electrical appliances used inside. Each presentation had unique features that made them exciting and entertaining.

I had a lot of fun working with and learning about decimals in the electrical energy unit. This unit was particularly intriguing to me because it was relevant to the real world, because people regularly have to pay electricity bills and use electrical appliances. Reading about ways to save electricity was also interesting to me, because I had never really thought about how much excess electricity is being used. I also was impressed by the number of different energy-saving techniques that other people in my class had thought of, and had written about, in their presentations. Learning about electricity and how people in the real world use it made me want to learn more about the topic and incorporate the techniques and strategies that I learned into my life.