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Age Range: 11-14
Duration: 30-59 mins
  • Mathematics
  • Physics

Sustainable dancefloors: Fun STEM activity

Learn about dance floors that generate electricity and consider how output is linked to activity

The engineers behind the Watt Nightclub in Rotterdam turn the energy created by clubbers on the dance-floor into power for the lighting. There’s even a giant battery to monitor the energy and encourage the crowd to dance even more. Doing your bit for the environment doesn’t have to be boring!

This engaging STEM activity is perfect for KS3 students and gives them the opportunity to develop their understanding of graphs in an engineering context. Students will learn about dance floors that generate electricity and consider how output is linked to activity. There are a number of slides within the ‘Dance is Electric’ presentation that show different graphs and students are invited to develop their own descriptions to explain their shape.

Activity: Sustainable dancefloors

Download the ‘Dance is Electric’ presentation and show ‘slide 2’ to the students. Explain that these are simplified graphs which show the number of dancers and the amount of electricity generated on the same day at a nightclub with a sustainable dance floor.

Ask learners for the ‘headline story’ of the graphs – what does it tell you about the dancers?

Now show the story on ‘Slide 3’. What do the graphs for this scenario look like? You can discuss the fact that the graphs are simplified, showing the major features but not the detail, and that in mathematics we model complex situations by simplifying where possible in order to better understand the situation.

Show ‘Slide 4’ and ask the students to work in groups to decide what the graph for the number of dancers might look like, and then explain their reasoning. Can they give more than one solution? What is the story of the graph?

Discuss as a class what the amount of electricity is dependent upon (for example, the number of dancers, how energetically they dance). Also discuss how these variables can change, e.g., they can increase steadily, decrease steadily, or vary over time.

Some students may raise the issue of the type of music being played. Popular, lively tracks are likely to get everyone on the floor, all dancing energetically, whereas a slower and/or less popular track immediately following will reduce the energy output (as people dance less energetically and/or a number of people go to get a drink, etc.).

Tools/resources required

  • Projector/whiteboard

Suggested learning outcomes

By the end of this free resource students will have an understanding of linear functions in practical problems and they will be able to construct linear functions from real-life problems and plot their corresponding graphs. They will also be able to discuss and interpret graphs modelling real-life situations.

Download the free Sustainable dancefloors activity sheet below!

All activity sheets and supporting resources are free to download, and all the documents are fully editable, so you can tailor them to your students’ and your schools’ needs.

The activity sheet includes teacher notes, guidance, useful web links, and links (where appropriate) to the national curriculum in each of the four devolved UK nations; England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Please share your classroom learning highlights with us @IETeducation.


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