Educating for Sustainability


UNIT: Green Building Context for Electric/Magnetic forces, Energy, Waves and Signals

LESSON: What are the Patterns of Electricity Use?

Part of the lesson series “Green Building Context for Electric/Magnetic forces, Energy, Waves and Signals”. Designed for middle school physical science, students read an article about peak and base load and find out the importance of when energy is used.

Lesson Specs

Suitable for Grades

6th Grade
7th Grade
8th Grade

Satisfies Academic Standards: 

MS-PS2-3 - Electric & Magnetic Forces
OSPI ESE 2: The Natural & Built Environment
OSPI ESE 3: Sustainability & Civic Responsibility

Sustainable System Focus:

Buildings and Urban Planning

Academic Subjects


Submitted by:

Jeffrey Burgard

Last Updated:

Content Connection

  1. This activity an introductory lesson is to raise awareness of the cycles of energy use and the first things they can do to help
  2. Principle
  3. Power stations transform kinetic energy to electrical energy by spinning coils of copper wire in a magnetic field
  4. Application
  5. More creative ways are needed to spin coils of wire in a magnetic field to generate electricity

Community Relevance

Energy consumption fluctuates throughout the day and is referred to as peak and base loads. Adjustment in when people use electricity can lessen the difference between the two reducing the need for polluting and expensive peak load plants helping to meet community energy goals

Lesson Plan


  1. Teacher
  2. Powerpoint Slide: How electricity is generated
  3. Powerpoint Slide: Scientific Principles
  4. Student
  5. Article - How electricity is made and used Base and Peak Load
  6. Scientific Principles and Applications Summary Table
  7. Time needed: 1 class period
  8. -Hand out a copy of the How electricity is made and used Base and Peak Load to each student
  9. -Use the Powerpoint How electricity is generated to describe the common way having students enter a brief description of each method in the table as you go, (See slides)
  10. -Have students turn to the Peak and base load Article included in the handout. -----Have them read and answer the questions silently.
  11. -Have them discuss their answers and then facilitate a discussion around what they read and the “Peak and Base load” graphic in the slides.
  12. -Conclude with what the “What they can do to help slide.”

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