Activity Image
Back to Dave's Conservation Challenge Conservation

Lighting Smart

Learn about energy-efficient lighting and challenge your students to use natural light.

  • Grades 4-7
  • Game
  • 45 mins


In the first week of Dave's Conservation Challenge, students learn about different types of lighting and take part in a lighting challenge to save energy.

What you'll need

  • “Lighting types” pictures (project onto screen or print one copy) 
  • “Match light” template  (print one set per student or pair of students)
  • Scissors


Lighting smart

  1. Explain to your students that this week we’ll be learning about different kinds of lighting to identify what lighting is the most energy efficient. Ask students to share what it means to be energy efficient and then explain that energy efficiency simply means using less energy to perform the same task. 
  2. Display the “Lighting types” pictures to show different kinds of lighting. Share with students that in our homes and at school we use both natural lighting and artificial lighting like incandescent, CFL (compact fluorescent lights) and LEDs (light emitting diodes). Have students consider that natural light uses the least amount of energy but also is a good option for productivity and happiness (see teaching notes below).
  3. Discuss that natural light is not always feasible and that the most energy efficient lighting available are LEDs. Share a few facts about LEDs:
    • use at least 75% less energy than a regular light bulb
    • last at least 15 years based on regular household use of 3 hours a day
    • come in a variety of sizes and colours
  4. Ask your students to list some reasons why saving electricity is important. Here's a few thought starters:
    • help the environment and combat climate change
    • conserve natural resources
    • help our family save on their energy bills
  5. Provide each student or pair of students with the “Match light” template and have students cut them out to make memory match cards. Alternatively, students can create their own cards by copying the information from the template.  Explain that they'll be playing a game to match lighting questions and answers, while challenging their memory skills. 
  6. Students start by placing all 16 cards face down on a surface and two cards are flipped face up at each turn. The player picks up the 'pair' if the icon on the cards match and reads out the question and answer. If the cards do not match, both cards are placed back face down and each player tries to memorize where the cards are placed. The game ends when all the pairs have been matched, and all the questions have answers.   

Lighting conservation challenge 

  1. Challenge students to get lighting smart by powering down for one hour every day this week and using only natural light. Have the students brainstorm how and when this would work best, like at home over dinner, or at school during lunch. Ready, set, lights out!

Additional Information

  • Assess students’ ability to share discuss, listen to each other and challenge their memory
  • Assess students’ participation and cooperation in individual or group work 
  • Assess students’ understanding of the different types of lighting and how natural light can be a great option
  • Students can participate in these activities in school or at home. Students at home that do not have access to a printer can copy out the information on the cards to play solo at home or with a family member. 
  • Recycle the matching game after playing or take it home to play again and test your family’s knowledge and memory!

Artificial light

Artificial light uses energy, so we can save energy by choosing natural light if possible and by turning off lights and understanding what types of lighting use the least amount of energy. By saving energy we help to protect our environment and save money in our homes.  These are three types of artificial light we commonly use in our homes:

Incandescent lighting 

This is the oldest technology and the least energy efficient. We can save energy in our homes if when replacing light bulbs we choose a more energy efficient option.  

CFL compact fluorescent lighting

In the mid 1980’s CFLs were introduced to the retail market but although they saved energy compared to incandescent lighting they were expensive so market uptake was slow. Nowadays CFLs are an affordable energy saving option to incandescent lighting.  

LED lighting 

LEDs are the most efficient and newest lighting technology. Ranging from street lighting, to holiday lights to lights in our homes, LEDs are being used more and more. This lighting has a longer lifetime and uses 75% less energy than other lighting (incandescent and fluorescent lighting). There is also a range of daylight LED bulbs, which provide an alternate to natural light if that is not accessible. Go to for information on LED lighting.

Natural Light

Using natural light helps us save energy as we can turn off artificial lighting but the following are also benefits to our health:

  1. Helps improve mental health
  2. Improves sleep
  3. Increases ability to concentrate and learn
  4. Helps our bodies to produce vitamin D which help us build and maintain teeth and bones and absorb calcium

(Source: Daylighting Guide for Canadian Commercial Buildings)

Tips to increase natural light and conserve energy

  • Keep blinds or curtains open to let in the natural light
  • Decorate with bright reflective colours and/or use mirrors
  • Get outside and exercise

Young people can take action

A greater understanding of energy-efficient lighting empowers students to practice energy conservation and care for their near environment. With your help, we can foster a culture of Power Smart youth in British Columbia together. 

Energy conservation and clean energy

We use energy in our daily lives in many ways. We use it to get to school, power our lights, cook our food, heat our homes and to make and transport goods. Some of our energy comes from clean renewable sources like the sun, wind and water. Fossil fuels (coal, oil and natural gas) are also used as energy sources. They come from ancient plants and animals, and when burned, release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and water vapour, trap heat from the sun and warm the Earth. 

Choosing renewable energy sources helps reduce the impact of our energy use on the environment. In B.C., most electricity is generated from water, a clean and renewable source. Non-renewable energy sources have a greater impact on the environment than renewable energy sources. Burning fossil fuels for energy releases greenhouse gases and carbon into the environment that had previously been trapped underground.

This activity provides a link to the core competencies of the curriculum. The activity engages students in learning about different types of lighting, which options are best and how we can all participate in using less energy. 

Relevant core competencies:


  • Connect and engage with others (to share and develop ideas) 


  • Critical thinking: Analyze and critique

Personal & Social

  • Personal Awareness and Responsibility: Self-regulating
  • Social Awareness & Responsibility: Contributing to community and caring for the environment

The activities also connect to a variety of grade-specific curricular competencies and content in a variety of subjects including Science, Applied Design, Skills and Technologies, and Physical and Health Education.