Teaching pack: Where does our energy come from and how much do we use? – Year 4

Explore the advantages of renewable energy, how solar power is benefitting communities in India and how we can reduce our own energy use.

We have developed this teaching pack to help educators explore with students in Year 4 the link between climate change and our use of energy from carbon-emitting fossil fuels. Most importantly, the pack is also brimming with ideas about the role children can play and the difference they can make in halting climate change.

In the pack, you’ll find a planning overview for a half-term’s teaching and learning. This maps out National Curriculum-linked content across a range of subjects and can be used as a framework to explore the enquiry question: ‘Where does our energy come from and how much do we use?’ 

Linked to the principle of Health, this enquiry of learning offers children and their teachers opportunities to find out how our reliance on fossil fuels impacts the future health of the planet and all life on it, to learn about the benefits of renewable energy and to understand how measuring the energy we use can help us identify the steps we must take to reduce our consumption.

This learning links to SDG 7 (Affordable and clean energy) and SDG 13 (Climate Action).

What’s in the pack?

This pack contains lesson plans and accompanying resources to explore this enquiry question over six weeks through three key subjects: maths, English and geography.

Geography unit

In geography, children learn about the region of Ladakh in India, where many people live without access to electricity, and about the work of Global Himalayan Expedition (GHE) in bringing solar energy to remote villages here. Lesson plans for all six of the geography activities outlined in the planning overview, along with the resources needed to teach them, can be found in this pack from p. 68 onwards.

English unit

The lesson plans and resources needed to teach the unit of English learning outlined in Week 3 of the planning overview is also included in the pack. In this unit, the children take on the role of a GHE volunteer on an expedition to bring clean energy to Ladakh. They write a recount describing their experience.

Maths investigations

The six maths investigations outlined in the planning overview give the children the opportunity to use real-life data to find out how much energy we use in our daily lives and how we can reduce this. The lesson plans and resources required by teachers to lead these investigations are provided. 

‘100 Club’ Energy Challenge

With a sustainability focus on climate change and energy use, the learning culminates in a Great Work that sees the children challenge their families and local community to reduce energy use through the ‘100 Club’ Energy Challenge. This provides the perfect opportunity for children to take their school energy monitoring home and see if they and their families can keep their electricity consumption below 100 kWh (kilowatt hours) each week. A printable resource with instructions explaining how to take part in the challenge is included for children to take home, along with certificates to issue to successful households.