In this activity, students creatively put into practice everything they have learned about energy transfers, types of resources, and energy conservation. The activity requires students to design their own home that meets specific criteria for reducing, reusing, and recycling resources. Students are also required to indicate how they will eliminate use of nonrenewable resources. Additionally, students are being called upon to identify energy transfers in their home. Finally, this activity also includes a self-reflection that can be used as a formative exit ticket to make sure the learning sticks!
This activity is provided in Rich Text Format, which means that it is compatible with all word processing programs and can be easily edited by the teacher to allow for easy differentiation based on your classroom's needs. In my class, this activity allows for easy differentiation in that the students could work solo, in pairs, or in small groups. I let the students take the lead, and although the activity has "house" in the title, students are invited to create any type of structure, like a restaurant or a school. They love including personalized details, and they always surprise me with their creative energy-saving solutions! I've used this activity during an observation, and the students were all animatedly engaged. Although you could have the students create the final product by hand or on the computer, I like to let the students use poster paper so that we can proudly display their work in the hall when they are finished. Time and preference allows me to have the students present their work to the whole group, but you could instead have the students present at the small group level to others in their workspace or you could incorporate a Gallery Walk activity.
I work with sixth-grade students who are itching for independence, so they always jump right in to the opportunity to design their own dream home. They also love working together as a whole group in a jigsaw process, so they will link their homes together to form a subdivision, or they will cooperatively "assign" different building types so that the entire class creates an energy-efficient city. And the absolute best of all: the students leave me speechless with their thoughtful attention to energy conservation and understanding the impact of their footprint in the world. I hope you enjoy using this activity in your classroom as much as I do!