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There's a Thief in my Kitchen

That ceiling light may be stealing money from your family, heating up the room in summer and adding to greenhouse gases. This activity allows students to compare energy used by pairs of incandescent and compact fluorescent light bulbs. Some of the energy used by light bulbs is converted to heat energy, since this is not the intended use; this heat energy is considered waste.
Using this lesson in your classroom

Students calculate the cost of the energy used to operate a common 3 bulb light fixture. They then compare the costs and amount of CO2 produced for similar incandescent, compact fluorescent, and LED light bulbs. Energy savings translates to saving money and savings of CO2 produced.


A short laboratory activity is also included. This allow students to visualize why two bulbs that give off the same amount of light, use different amounts of electrical energy. Transforming electrical energy to light energy is the purpose of light bulbs. Electrical energy that is transformed into heat energy is wasted since this is not the purpose of light bulbs.


Materials Included:

  • There's a Thief in My Kitchen! Student Worksheet
  • There's a Thief in My Kitchen! Laboratory Activity
Grade Level:
Grades 4 - 9
4.4, 5.1, B INQ.1, B INQ.3, B INQ.3, B INQ.4, B INQ.5, B INQ.6, 7.1, C INQ.1, C INQ.3, C INQ.5, C INQ.7, C INQ.9
Teacher Materials
There's a Thief in My Kitchen Lesson [428.0 KB]