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Comparing the Energy Efficiency of Different Light Bulbs (Developed by SEPUP)

kit #206RS

Students apply their understanding of the concepts of energy transfer and transformation to compare the efficiencies of two different types of light bulbs.

• They compare the amount of thermal energy transferred by a small incandescent bulb and a small LED bulb.
• They use their measurements to calculate the efficiency of the bulbs to produce light by measuring how much “wasted” thermal energy is “lost.”
• They also compare “lifetime” costs for different types of bulbs and consider the trade-offs involved when deciding which type of bulb to purchase.

Accommodates unlimited classes, each with 8 groups of 4 students.


Note: This kit requires the use of the following items that are not included in the kit:

8 graduated cylinders (at least 1-mL resolution)

8 timers

8 new or reasonably fresh 9-volt batteries

supply of room-temperature water

  • NGSS Related Performance Expectation

    MS-PS3-4: Plan an investigation to determine the relationship among the energy transferred, the type of matter, the mass, and the change in the average kinetic energy of the particles as measured by the temperature of the sample.

    MS-PS3-5: Construct, use, and present arguments to support the claim that when the kinetic energy of an object changes, energy is transferred to or from the object.

  • Disciplinary Core Ideas

    MS-PS3.A Definitions of Energy:

    Temperature is a measure of the average kinetic energy of particles of matter. The relationship between the temperature and the total energy of a system depends on the types, states, and amounts of matter present.

    The term “heat” as used in everyday language refers both to thermal energy (the motion of atoms or molecules within a substance) and the transfer of that thermal energy from one object to another. In science, heat is used only for this second meaning; it refers to the energy transferred due to the temperature difference between two objects.

    MS-PS3.B Conservation of Energy: The amount of energy transfer needed to change the temperature of a matter sample by a given amount depends on the nature of the matter, the size of the sample, and the environment.

  • Science and Engineering Practices

    Analyzing and Interpreting Data: Analyze and interpret data to provide evidence for phenomena.

    Planning and Carrying Out Investigations: Conduct an investigation to produce data to serve as the basis for evidence that meet the goals of the investigation.

  • Crosscutting Concepts

    Energy and Matter: The transfer of energy can be tracked as energy flows through a designed or natural system.

    Connections to Nature of Science: Science Addresses Questions About the Natural and Material World: Scientific knowledge can describe the consequences of actions but does not necessarily prescribe the decisions that society takes

  • Common Core State Standards


    MP.2: Reason abstractly and quantitatively.

    6.EE.A.2: Write, read, and evaluate expressions in which letters stand for numbers.


    RST.6-8.3: Follow precisely a multistep procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks.

Content List in Comparing the Energy Efficiency of Different Light Bulbs (Developed by SEPUP) is as follows:

Quantity Description

8 9-volt battery harnesses with an LED and socket

8 bulb socket and thermometer holders

8 hot bulb trays

8 flashlight bulbs

8 metal-backed thermometers

32 Student Worksheet and Guides

1 Teacher’s Guide

Number of students per class
maximum 32
Number of groups per class
maximum 8 groups of four students
Number of classes
unlimited (no consumable items in materials kit)

This kit requires one-two ~50 minute class periods to complete.

Title Item # Price Quantity
Comparing the Energy Efficiency of Different Light Bulbs 206RS $177.05