Lesson 1: Launch (1 hour)

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Learning Objectives

Students will be able to:

  1. Explain reasons it is important to reduce energy consumption.
  2. Create a model that illustrates their current understanding of a phenomenon.
  3. Generate ways of doing and thinking that are not so detrimental to the Earth.

Language Objective

Students will be able to:

  1. Describe a model that illustrates their current understanding of a phenomenon.

Slides for All Activities

5 minutes

Activity 1: Introduce students to their roles as “Energy Detectives”, and generate excitement about the challenges they have to look forward to.

Share “The Why” with students, so they understand the rationale behind what they are learning.

Materials & Prep

20 minutes

Activity 2: Students connect the concept of energy efficiency to healthier air and the environment.

  • Read together the front page of ‘Energy: Why does it matter?’ and check for understanding.
  • Read together the examples of individual, collective, and systemic changes in a community, and check for understanding.
  • Students respond to questions on the handout or in their science notebooks:
    1. Which change is the easiest to make and why?
    2. Which change would result in the greatest improvement to air quality and why?
    3. What can YOU do to encourage collective and systemic changes in your community?
  • Tell students to share their thinking with a classmate (e.g. elbow partner), and then select a few students to share with the class.
  • After sharing, make sure students understand that systemic change would result in the greatest improvement on air quality. These changes affect a larger population and are typically longer lasting because they are mandated by a government entity. For example, an ordinance banning plastic bags is going to have a bigger impact than a few stores deciding to stop using them. One way a student could encourage systemic change is by writing a letter to the city council in support of an ordinance. That said, collective change typically comes before systemic and is also impactful. Students can encourage collective change by encouraging family and friends to make changes or by creating awareness such as with posters. All this said, keep in mind that every change starts with an individual!
Materials & Prep

20 minutes

Activity 3: Uncover what students already know about energy, energy transfer, and energy sources.

  • Students preview a picture of Charlie & Annabeth’s homes from Energy Detectives, and complete a “See Think Wonder.” Elicit volunteers to share a “see”, “think”, or “wonder” with the class.
  • Students draw initial models (diagrams) of their current understandings of the cause(s) of differences observed between the two rooftops, including how energy fits into the equation. Give students the opportunity to share their models in pairs and then with the class.
  • In Lesson 8, students will draw a final energy model. For the teacher: Link to a final energy model exemplar.
  • Important Note: It is okay if students have misinformation at this time. In fact, it will help you to understand any preconceptions they may have. Instead of commenting on “right” and “wrong” ideas, you can say to any student things like, “Thank you for sharing,” “We’ll see how this all turns out,“ “We will create new models as we learn new information,” “It’s great to hear so many different ideas,” and “I love that so many students are taking risks,” etc.
Materials & Prep