Pupils investigate the school's thermostats

10 Investigating energy usage KS1, KS2

The temperature in a classroom is normally controlled by a thermostat on the wall where you can set the temperature of the classroom, or by thermostatic radiator valves which are connected to each radiator. Look around the room you are in and see if you can spot how the temperature in a classroom is controlled – is there a dial for the temperature on the wall, or is the temperature controlled by each radiator? In some schools there may be a central thermostat for the whole school. 

The best temperatures for schools are: 
  • Normal classrooms: 18°C
  • Corridors: 15°C
  • Areas with high levels of activity (e.g. sports halls): 15°C
  • Areas with low levels of activity: 21°C
  • Special needs schools or areas with very young children: 21°C
Ask your teacher for a thermometer and measure the temperature in your classroom. Is it too hot or too cold, or about right? If it is too hot or too cold, ask your teacher if you can adjust the temperature. If you have a dial on the wall (thermostat) turn it up if the room is too cold and down if it is too hot. You may have to wait for up to an hour for the temperature to change. 

If the radiator valves control the temperature, the valve is normally numbered, a bigger number means a higher temperature, a smaller number a lower temperature. Sometimes these valves become stuck, so if you can’t turn them easily then ask your teacher to help. Sometimes they are broken and stop controlling the temperature – it’s a good idea to ask the caretaker to check all the valves are working correctly in the school.

Once you have worked out how to control the temperature in your classroom, you could plan to do this for the whole school, but you might need some help and do some planning!
You can use this form Click here to record the temperatures in your school. 


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