the National Energy Education Development Project
Available Languages: English, Spanish
This is a curriculum unit for middle school designed to introduce energy as a physics concept in five class sessions. It meets multiple NextGen Science standards through hands-on lab stations. Students investigate energy transfer, storage of energy, the difference between "energy forms" and "energy sources", and trace energy flow through systems. Creative activities include "Happy Sphere, Sad Sphere" for exploring kinetic vs. potential energy; solar panels and glow toys to learn about transformation of radiant energy; "Memory Metal" (nitinol wire) to explore how thermal energy is transformed into motion; and light sticks to investigate chemical energy transformation.
Each activity includes Teachers Guide, background information, detailed lesson plans, glossary, and example assessments. A full set of materials can be purchased from NEED or easily obtained through science supply retailers. The NEED Project is a national initiative to bring innovative curriculum materials in energy education to teachers and learners from the primary grades through college.
Lesson plans and Teachers Guide are available for free download and may be reproduced for educational purposes. Lab kits may be purchased from the NEED Project or obtained from science supply retailers.
chemical energy, chemical reaction, electrical energy, endothermic reaction, energy conversion, energy flow, energy forms, energy lessons, energy sources, energy transformation, exothermic reaction, light energy, nonrenewable energy, radiant energy, renewable energy, solar energy, thermal energy
Metadata instance created
May 9, 2013
by Caroline Hall
February 13, 2014
by Lyle Barbato
AAAS Benchmark Alignments (2008 Version)
4. The Physical Setting
4E. Energy Transformations
6-8: 4E/M1. Whenever energy appears in one place, it must have disappeared from another. Whenever energy is lost from somewhere, it must have gone somewhere else. Sometimes when energy appears to be lost, it actually has been transferred to a system that is so large that the effect of the transferred energy is imperceptible.
6-8: 4E/M2. Energy can be transferred from one system to another (or from a system to its environment) in different ways: 1) thermally, when a warmer object is in contact with a cooler one; 2) mechanically, when two objects push or pull on each other over a distance; 3) electrically, when an electrical source such as a battery or generator is connected in a complete circuit to an electrical device; or 4) by electromagnetic waves.
6-8: 4E/M3. Thermal energy is transferred through a material by the collisions of atoms within the material. Over time, the thermal energy tends to spread out through a material and from one material to another if they are in contact. Thermal energy can also be transferred by means of currents in air, water, or other fluids. In addition, some thermal energy in all materials is transformed into light energy and radiated into the environment by electromagnetic waves; that light energy can be transformed back into thermal energy when the electromagnetic waves strike another material. As a result, a material tends to cool down unless some other form of energy is converted to thermal energy in the material.
6-8: 4E/M4. Energy appears in different forms and can be transformed within a system. Motion energy is associated with the speed of an object. Thermal energy is associated with the temperature of an object. Gravitational energy is associated with the height of an object above a reference point. Elastic energy is associated with the stretching or compressing of an elastic object. Chemical energy is associated with the composition of a substance. Electrical energy is associated with an electric current in a circuit. Light energy is associated with the frequency of electromagnetic waves.
8. The Designed World
8C. Energy Sources and Use
6-8: 8C/M1. Transformations and transfers of energy within a system usually result in some energy escaping into its surrounding environment. Some systems transfer less energy to their environment than others during these transformations and transfers.
6-8: 8C/M2. Different ways of obtaining, transforming, and distributing energy have different environmental consequences.
6-8: 8C/M4. Electrical energy can be generated from a variety of energy resources and can be transformed into almost any other form of energy. Electric circuits are used to distribute energy quickly and conveniently to distant locations.
6-8: 8C/M5. Energy from the sun (and the wind and water energy derived from it) is available indefinitely. Because the transfer of energy from these resources is weak and variable, systems are needed to collect and concentrate the energy.
6-8: 8C/M8. People have invented ingenious ways of deliberately bringing about energy transformations that are useful to them.
6-8: 8C/M10. Some resources are not renewable or renew very slowly. Fuels already accumulated in the earth, for instance, will become more difficult to obtain as the most readily available resources run out. How long the resources will last, however, is difficult to predict. The ultimate limit may be the prohibitive cost of obtaining them.
11. Common Themes
6-8: 11A/M2. Thinking about things as systems means looking for how every part relates to others. The output from one part of a system (which can include material, energy, or information) can become the input to other parts. Such feedback can serve to control what goes on in the system as a whole.
12. Habits of Mind
12C. Manipulation and Observation
6-8: 12C/M3. Make accurate measurements of length, volume, weight, elapsed time, rates, and temperature by using appropriate devices.
6-8: 12C/M5. Analyze simple mechanical devices and describe what the various parts are for; estimate what the effect of making a change in one part of a device would have on the device as a whole.
This resource is part of a Physics Front Topical Unit.
Topic: Conservation of Energy Unit Title: Teaching About Energy
Exemplary curriculum unit to introduce energy as a physics concept in middle school. In this age bracket, students typically confuse energy forms and energy sources and think of "energy" as a fuel-like quantity that can be used up. This unit will help build a solid foundation to understand energy transfer, storage of energy, energy flow through systems, and the interactions that underlie energy transformation. Investigations are done at daily lab stations that promote inquiry. Resource is completely turn-key: teacher and student guides, background information, assessments, hand-outs, and more.
<a href="http://www.compadre.org/precollege/items/detail.cfm?ID=12741">National Energy Education Development Project. NEED Project: Science of Energy. Manassas: National Energy Education Development Project, 2012.</a>
National Energy Education Development Project. NEED Project: Science of Energy. Manassas: National Energy Education Development Project, 2012. http://www.need.org/files/curriculum/guides/Science%20of%20Energy.pdf (accessed 9 March 2014).
%0 Electronic Source %D 2012 %T NEED Project: Science of Energy %I National Energy Education Development Project %V 2014 %N 9 March 2014 %9 application/pdf %U http://www.need.org/files/curriculum/guides/Science%20of%20Energy.pdf
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