Planning Ahead: Teacher Preparation & Notes

Planning Ahead  |  Practices  |  Relevant Frameworks  |  Key Vocabulary Terms   |   Download PDF

About the Curriculum

  • Everything in this curriculum is optional.
  • While the curriculum was designed as a unit plan to gradually build knowledge and guide your students to deeper understandings about energy transfer and efficiency, each lesson or activity can serve as a stand alone lesson.
  • You are the expert on your students and your bandwidth. It is up to you to decide if you want to do every lesson exactly as written, complete only one or two lessons, and/or modify lessons.
  • If you have an existing science curriculum, please select the lessons or lesson components that would best supplement your current instructional plan.


  • Keep in mind that some classes may need more time than others. An activity that claims to take 30 minutes realistically may last 45 minutes.
  • Be flexible. Because class schedules and blocks of time vary, one lesson may take several days to finish.


  • Request Energy Detective books for you and each of your students. To order, visit
  • We highly recommend you sign up for a free educator account with Canva. With an account, you can save and make changes to any of our canva templates.
  • Gather materials and make photocopies for each lesson. Click HERE for a complete list of supplies.

Anticipating Student Needs

  • Read the Energy Detectives book on your own.
  • Look over the list of Key Vocabulary Terms.
  • Preview lessons and handouts, and scaffold for your students as needed.
  • Some students may enter with a better foundational understanding of energy than others.

Inviting Guests

  • If you plan to invite a guest speaker (Lesson 5), make those arrangements in advance. (sample email to potential guest speakers provided in lesson plan that follows)
  • If you plan to invite families or other school community members to hear the guest speaker (Lesson 4) or view student presentations (Lesson 8), choose dates early, and send out “save the dates.” (sample invitations provided in lesson plans that follow)