• About this module


    CFLs came to mind as the topic of this first module because CFLs seem to have many advantages (e.g., less power use for same amount of light), but they cost MUCH more than traditional light bulbs. People resist change in almost everything, and higher costs will keep many consumers away from buying something new. Consumers definitely have “sticker shock” when they see the price of a CFL compared to the price of a traditional light bulb.  The price of CFLs is decreasing, but it is likely CFLs will always cost more than normal light bulbs.

    There also is an interesting engineering twist to the CFL story. Engineers needed to do some new, challenging design work to get the electronics of the CFL into each light bulb.  For example, standard fluorescent lights (like those in many schools and offices) have a special power unit in the light fixture for the light bulb.  Recent advances in technology and manufacturing lead to bulbs that warm up quickly and can be used in the light fixtures made for incandescent bulbs.  Lastly, most of us tend to be users of technology – even things as common as electric lighting – with no insight into how these things actually work.  This module helps people not only to make wise decisions about using CFLs but also to know a bit more about light, lighting, and technology we take for granted.


    History of use

    The anticipated first classroom trials of this module will be in the Steelton-Highspire middle-grades mathematics classrooms in 2004-2005.

    Teachers in the Bellefonte School District will review the module in Fall 2004.



    This module was developed under the GE Math Excellence: Math in a “New Technology” Context project, funded by the GE Foundation.  The idea for a module on CFLs came from Liz Kisenwhether. Jianwu Ding lent technology context details about CFLs.  The mathematical problems for students were generated by Rose May Zbiek.  Shari Heller and Rose Zbiek developed the curriculum connections.


    Add GE disclaimer to all modules.