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Energy awareness

Unit of work

6 lessons

MakeCode, Python

7-11 yrs, 11-14 yrs, 14-16 yrs

A unit of 4, 5 or 6 lessons exploring energy use around us. Students learn how we can monitor our use of energy and use this to make decisions about how we can save energy, save money and have a positive impact on climate change.

Students use micro:bits to monitor electric light use, learn about how to collect good data and present it in order to help inform decisions about changing behaviours.

Computer systems:



Global Goals:

13 Climate




Data handling




Working scientifically

Overall key learning

  • to understand Global Goal 13 (climate action) and why it's relevant to us
  • to think about energy use around us and how we can use data to make decisions and drive change in behaviours
  • to understand what ‘good data’ looks like and plan the collection of good data
  • to collect, process and analyse data, visualising it to make it easier to interpret and present.
  • to use the information collected to make suggestions for reducing energy use, saving money and reducing our impact on climate change
  • to calculate energy use in kWh and cost
  • to present complex findings and demonstrate skills used in a way that is appropriate to a given audience
  • can understand and apply the fundamental principles and concepts of computer science, including abstraction, logic, algorithms and data representation
  • are responsible, competent, confident and creative users of information and communication technology

Additional skills

Researching, presenting, collaboration, evaluation.

Lesson 1: Energy around us

Students relate the UN Global Goals on Climate action to the use of energy in their school or home and start planning where to use the micro:bit to collect data about electric light usage.

Key learning:

  • Understand what UN Global Goal 13 (climate action) is and why it’s relevant to us
  • Understand how our energy use can have an impact on climate change
  • To consider and plan how we might monitor our energy use at home or at school and how awareness can drive changes in behaviour
Lesson 1 details

Lesson 2: Energy data planning

Students program a BBC micro:bit to measure light readings and plan where reliable energy usage data can be gathered.

Key learning:

  • Understand the importance of planning when collecting data to ensure it is reliable
  • Program a micro:bit to take measurements of environmental data (a light meter to measure light levels)
  • Understand the importance of baseline measurements and calibration when collecting data
Lesson 2 details

Lesson 3: Energy data collecting

Students program and calibrate their micro:bit light timers and place them in their chosen locations to record energy use data.

Key learning:

  • To calibrate and deploy a data logger (micro:bit light timer)
  • To collect environmental data (light usage) over time
Lesson 3 details

Lesson 4: Energy data processing

Students collate, process and analyse light usage data. They plot simple charts to help them to visualise data, spot patterns and suggest solutions to modify behaviour and save energy.

Key learning:

  • Collate and process numerical data
  • Present numerical data in visual form
  • Analyse data and make inferences from it about energy use
  • Use these inferences to make proposals to modify behaviour to save energy
Lesson 4 details

Lesson 5: Energy use calculations

Students build on previous lessons, analysing energy use patterns by calculating the amount of energy used and its cost.

Key learning:

  • Calculate the amount of energy used in kWh given the time and power consumed by electric lighting
  • Calculate the cost of energy used from previously recorded data
Lesson 5 details

Lesson 6: Energy presentations

Students review all their findings from previous lessons and create a presentation which they could give to the rest of their class, year group, school leadership, parents or governors.

Key learning:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of factors affecting the reliability of data collection.
  • Show how data can be analysed to drive decisions to encourage behaviour change.
  • Explain how problems were approached and the skills used.
  • Present complex information in a way that's appropriate to the audience.
Lesson 6 details