Memorial Day & Energy

With Memorial Day coming up, families may be trekking far and wide to see each other over this long weekend. If driving, it’s important to consider the footprint your travel method has, as AAA reports that 37.6 million Americans are planning to travel by automobile this Monday. Pay attention to the Miles per Gallon (MPG) achieved by your vehicle – the higher, the better!



NEED has several activities to educate students on how to think critically about their transportation’s impact. There are two key activities in our Transportation Trio guide that help clarify the importance of knowing your own vehicle. 
  • Pretzel Power: Demonstrating fuel efficiency through pretzels, students will choose a car and simulate a round trip to visualize and understand the significance of MPG. Found on pages 15-18.
  • Road Trip: This activity helps students plan a road trip and calculate the total amount of fuel needed, the cost, and CO2 emissions associated with the trip. Found on pages 19 and 20.

Now that you’ve arrived at your destination…what do you do? Barbecue of course! An estimated 60% of Americans plan to barbecue over Memorial Day Weekend. But how? In the great debate around propane versus charcoal grilling, each one has its pros and personal preferences. Whereas propane is much more convenient, charcoal is renowned for its classic smoky flavor. In terms of energy and sustainability, though, propane seems to be the clear winner. The fuel burns cleanly with little escaped heat or smoke, emits less carbon, and requires less transportation to reach your grill.

Learn more about propane in our Energy Infobooks, free PDF download and available on four reading levels (primary, elementary, intermediate, & secondary).

As for which state has the best barbecue, let’s just agree it tastes great – and cooking food uses energy. Are you using charcoal or butane under your burgers? Flipping kabobs over propane or natural gas? Toasting pie iron pizzas over an open fire? Or being adventurous and cooking s’mores in a solar oven?  Having students think about the preparation of their travels or meals helps put a real-life perspective on energy use.