Lesson 2: Knowledge Building (1 ½ hours)

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Learning Objectives

Students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of energy.
  2. Make observations to provide evidence that energy can be transferred from place to place by sound, light, heat, and electric currents.
  3. Generate ways of doing and thinking that are not so detrimental to the Earth.

Language Objective

Students will be able to: Describe different types and examples of energy transfer.

Slides for All Activities

20 minutes

Activity 1: Preview vocabulary.

  • Students copy the word and definition for both ‘energy’ and ‘transfer’ onto their “Frayer models.” They work on the remaining 3 boxes on their own. Select a few students to share their ideas with the class.
  • Students work on “Exploring the Root ‘Therm’” individually or in pairs. Select a few students to share out.
Materials & Prep

30 minutes

Activity 2: Build knowledge about types of energy and energy transfer in a UDL-inspired format.

  • Students may choose to work alone, with others (recommend 2-3 students), or with a teacher in a small group.
  • They have 6 options for knowledge building, including challenge level options (for students interested in content that is above grade level):
    • Option 1: Video, “Energy is always changing,” courtesy of Mighty Owl Science and YouTube.
    • Notes: (1) Tell students to pause the video to allow ample time to discuss concepts and record responses. (2) Students choosing this option also can complete the provided “Energy Video Questions” worksheet, which reviews information specifically from the video.
    • Option 2: Grade Level Article, “Electricity & Energy,” courtesy of ReadWorks
    • Option 3: Challenge Level Article, “There are three ways heat, or thermal energy, can be transferred,” courtesy of Newsela. Note: Five Lexile reading levels are available in Newsela.
    • Option 4: Podcast Episode, “The Electric Detectives with Mike Legatt”, courtesy of the children’s podcast, Tumble. Note: Relevant content begins at minute 2:13, with 13 minutes remaining.
    • Option 5: Challenge Level Virtual Simulation, “Thermal energy transfer,” courtesy of PBS Learning
    • Option 6: My Own Resource Idea - Students choose another way to build their energy knowledge (with teacher approval).
  • Questions for all options, to be answered in science notebooks or the provided “Universal Handout for Energy Knowledge Building”:
    1. Describe one piece of information from your resource that confirmed what you already knew about energy.
    2. Describe one new fact that you learned about energy or something that surprised you.
    3. List at least one question that you now have about energy or one energy topic you would like to learn more about.
  • Note: Please give space and opportunity for growth. If students are having difficulty writing, they might draw or demonstrate their thinking. If they are having difficulty drawing, they might demonstrate or write their ideas.

Option 1:

Option 2:

Option 3:

Option 4:

Option 5:

10 minutes

Activity 3: Jigsaw.

  • Students pair up with a partner, preferably one that chose a different knowledge-building activity. They each spend a few minutes sharing what they learned.
  • Invite students to share what they learned with the entire class.

20 minutes

Activity 4: Review what students have learned about energy so far.

  • Review vocabulary: Energy, transfer, energy transfer, heat transfer (extension terms: conduction, radiation, and convection).
  • Give students time to understand, discuss, and ask questions to assess their learning thus far.

20 minutes

Activity 5: Natural resources & the environment activity

  • First make sure students understand what a natural resource is, and why some are considered renewable and others nonrenewable. Use the Lesson 2 Slides to help you.

Option 1: Sorting Cards in Teams

  • Give each team a set of energy sources cards.
  • Tell each team to read the cards out loud to each other, and then place the cards in order of environmental impact, from least harmful to the environment to most harmful.
  • Tell them to defend their choices by using evidence and reasoning to support their claims (a.k.a. position in line).
  • Have groups share their orders, and try to come to a consensus on the order.
  • It’s okay if students have different responses and not everyone agrees; however, in general, the nonrenewable resources should be ranked as having a greater, more harmful impact.

Option 2: Sorting Posters as a Class

  • Give 9 students a poster with a type of natural resource and its description to hold.
  • One at a time, tell each student to read their sign out loud, and then place themselves in front of the class in order of environmental impact, from least harmful to the environment to most harmful.
  • Tell them to defend their choices by using evidence and reasoning to support their claims (a.k.a. position in line).
  • Other students can make suggestions about where they should stand as well. The class should come to a consensus at the end.
  • It’s okay if students have different responses; however, in general, the nonrenewable resources should be ranked as having a greater, more harmful impact.

Teacher Note: Much of the ‘air pollution’ is in the form of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide. Greenhouse gases trap heat in Earth’s atmosphere, which is a good thing, or our planet would be too cold for most living things to survive. However, when too much of these gases are trapping heat, such as due to the amount released from burning fossil fuels, it leads to climate change. Students will learn more about greenhouse gases and climate change in future grades. However, if you feel they are ready for it now, go ahead and discuss it with them.

Materials & Prep
  • Video on Natural Resources, courtesy of Cartoons for Kids!, Sandra Stoiber and YouTube.
  • Option 1: Energy source cards to sort in teams (recommend cardstock if reusing)
  • Option 2: Energy Sources posters for full class stand in order activity (recommend cardstock if reusing)

15 minutes

Activity 6: Exit Ticket

  • Tell students to complete the exit tickets in their science notebooks or on the provided “Lesson 1 Exit Ticket” handout.
    • 3 new facts
    • 2 new vocabulary terms
    • 1 question
  • Use exit ticket information as data to inform next steps.
  • Teachers also should check student exit ticket questions, and use those to help guide upcoming lessons. One technique is to post the student questions on chart paper (either re-write them, or paste on the actual exit ticket), and refer back to them at the end of each lesson to see if any have been answered. Some teachers like to categorize student questions. E.g. Questions about “energy conservation” in one category, questions about “energy transfer” in another, etc.
Materials & Prep

* Energy wasted refers to energy leaked, lost or transferred unnecessarily.

** Energy saved refers to energy conserved, hacked or used to its greatest potential. Energy leaks are absent or greatly reduced.