We completed the Energy Mix Pod activity. We chose this activity
because it fitted well with our plans for the term. We had already
committed to take part in Switch-Off Fortnight, and it was a good
way to involve the whole school in the debate. It also was a new
and exciting-sounding Pod activity. Our main aim was to raise
awareness of energy sources and the importance of energy
Firstly, we downloaded the excellent Energy Mix resource pack
from the Pod website. This provided lots of ideas to help us run
the project, including lesson plans and details of the different
energy sources the pupils would be learning about.
The Pod's plans were then woven into our own half-termly class
cross-curricular planning, which includes as many areas of the
curriculum as possible, ensuring the activity was broad and
interesting. Next we undertook a survey to ascertain what the class
thought our UK energy mix should be. At this stage, the pupils had
only a limited knowledge of energy sources. We discussed how we
would have a debate involving the whole school at the end of the
After this, we filled in the initial audit from the Pod website
and began to research energy sources such as coal, oil, gas,
nuclear, solar, water and wind. Curriculum areas including
literacy, history, geography, citizenship and science were covered
in the activity. For instance, pupils were very interested to learn
how Victorian children, much younger than themselves, had to work
long, hard hours in the coal mines.
The pupils grew very familiar with the terms 'renewable and
non-renewable' energies during the course of the project. They were
able to identify fossil fuels and knew how they were formed. They
soon began to have opinions about the good and bad aspects of all
the energy sources we studied.
The main challenge was to ensure that pupils researched the
topic sufficiently before going ahead with the debate. Also, the
interest generated by the activity meant that we were in danger of
over-running the allocated time scheduled to complete the
Pupils were all allowed to write at least one post each for our
activity blog. This created a great deal of interest and
They discussed the Energy Mix activity with parents, who also
became interested, sending pictures and information from home. One
boy made an amazing windmill with his dad to illustrate to the
audience during the debate how wind power worked.
The children were given freedom as far as the research went, and
were encouraged to complete their studies at home with their
families if they had a particular interest in any of the sources of
We also allocated more formal lessons - for instance, learning
about the sun for solar energy, electricity in science and studying
regions in the world where coal and other fossil fuels are
Throughout, children were encouraged to discuss their findings
with the rest of the class and were able to give their opinions on
the various sources of energy being studied at any one time.
We used the Pod's 'Green Assembly' for the whole school at the
beginning of the activity, which ensured everyone knew about the
project the class was undertaking, as well as raising awareness of
climate change and the effect of global warming.
We utilised The Pod's Energy Mix resources, especially the
lesson plans, which we adapted to use with our 7-year olds. The
speaking and listening and citizenship aspects of the plans were
particularly effective. We used the internet as well as eco books
and resources we have at school to help research the topic.
We always involve our school families in our Pod activities by
letting them know what we are doing at the beginning of each
project. The Energy Mix activity, like previous ones, allowed
parents to take part and contribute to their children's learning,
giving them an insight into what their children were doing at
The Energy Mix was a very successful activity and we achieved
our aims and more. The children are now very knowledgeable about
energy sources and are able to make informed choices and decisions,
expressing their views confidently. The impact of the activity was
seen when we repeated the original survey and children then knew
that fossil fuels are not the most sustainable source of
The more cross-curricular the project, the more successful it
will be; the children will have opportunities to cover a variety of
subjects. Also, giving pupils as much ownership of the activity as
possible, as well as involving parents and grandparents, will
ensure that taking part will have a positive impact on their
learning and understanding of sustainability issues.
Our eco work is an important, on-going part of what we do as a
whole school. We are always looking for ways to raise awareness of
environmental issues for our pupils, parents and wider community.
We have several activities we undertake annually such as Fairtrade
fortnight, a 'mufti day' for Earth Hour, plus our favourite Pod
activities. We love the world we live in and want to maintain it
for the sake of future generations of children.