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published by the Integrated Teaching and Learning Program: Teach Engineering
written by the University of Colorado College of Engineering
This is an instructional unit for Grades 3-5 on the topic of energy, designed to integrate science principles with engineering practices.  It includes nine lesson plans and activities to introduce students to a range of energy types, including electrical, light, sound, and thermal. Through numerous hands-on activities, students explore a wide range of scientific topics related to the fundamentals of energy: kinetic and potential energy, light waves, reflection, refraction, convection, sound waves, volume, pitch, frequency, radiation, heat capacity, heat transfer, specific heat. These concepts are presented in the context of engineering applications pertinent to our everyday lives. Classroom activities are designed for easy set-up within the elementary classroom. This item is part of TeachEngineering.org, a digital library collection.
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Classical Mechanics
- Work and Energy
General Physics
- Curriculum
- Elementary School
- Instructional Material
= Best practice
= Unit of Instruction
Appropriate Courses Categories Ratings
- Physical Science
- Physics First
- Conceptual Physics
- Lesson Plan
- Activity
- Laboratory
- New teachers
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Educator
Format:
text/html
Access Rights:
Free access
Restriction:
© 2005 Regents of the University of Colorado
NSF Number:
0338326
Keywords:
electrical energy, energy, energy, energy conservation, kinetic energy, potential energy, solar energy, thermal energy, work
Record Cloner:
Metadata instance created February 20, 2007 by Caroline Hall
Record Updated:
March 29, 2014 by Caroline Hall
Last Update
when Cataloged:
October 1, 2012

AAAS Benchmark Alignments (2008 Version)

3. The Nature of Technology

3A. Technology and Science
  • 3-5: 3A/E3. Measuring instruments can be used to gather accurate information for making scientific comparisons of objects and events and for designing and constructing things that will work properly.
3B. Design and Systems
  • 3-5: 3B/E1. There is no perfect design. Designs that are best in one respect (safety or ease of use, for example) may be inferior in other ways (cost or appearance). Usually some features must be sacrificed to get others.
  • 3-5: 3B/E2. Even a good design may fail. Sometimes steps can be taken ahead of time to reduce the likelihood of failure, but it cannot be entirely eliminated.

4. The Physical Setting

4E. Energy Transformations
  • 3-5: 4E/E2b. When warmer things are put with cooler ones, heat is transferred from the warmer ones to the cooler ones.
  • 3-5: 4E/E2c. A warmer object can warm a cooler one by contact or at a distance.
4F. Motion
  • K-2: 4F/P3. Things that make sound vibrate.
  • 3-5: 4F/E3. Light travels and tends to maintain its direction of motion until it interacts with an object or material. Light can be absorbed, redirected, bounced back, or allowed to pass through.
4G. Forces of Nature
  • 3-5: 4G/E3. Without touching them, an object that has been electrically charged pulls on all other uncharged objects and may either push or pull other charged objects.

8. The Designed World

8C. Energy Sources and Use
  • K-2: 8C/P2. People burn fuels such as wood, oil, coal, or natural gas, or use electricity, to cook their food and warm their houses.
  • 3-5: 8C/E1. Moving air and water can be used to run machines.
  • 3-5: 8C/E2. Sunlight is used to run many devices.
  • 3-5: 8C/E4. Some people try to reduce the amount of fuels they use in order to conserve resources, reduce pollution, or save money.

11. Common Themes

11A. Systems
  • 3-5: 11A/E1. In something that consists of many parts, the parts usually influence one another.
11B. Models
  • 3-5: 11B/E3. A model of something is similar to, but not exactly like, the thing being modeled. Some models are physically similar to what they are representing, but others are not.

Next Generation Science Standards

Energy (4-PS3)

Students who demonstrate understanding can: (4)
  • Make observations to provide evidence that energy can be transferred from place to place by sound, light, heat, and electric currents. (4-PS3-2)
  • Apply scientific ideas to design, test, and refine a device that converts energy from one form to another. (4-PS3-4)

Engineering Design (3-5-ETS1)

Students who demonstrate understanding can: (3-5)
  • Define a simple design problem reflecting a need or a want that includes specified criteria for success and constraints on materials, time, or cost. (3-5-ETS1-1)

Disciplinary Core Ideas (K-12)

Definitions of Energy (PS3.A)
  • Energy can be moved from place to place by moving objects or through sound, light, or electric currents. (4)
Conservation of Energy and Energy Transfer (PS3.B)
  • Energy is present whenever there are moving objects, sound, light, or heat. When objects collide, energy can be transferred from one object to another, thereby changing their motion. In such collisions, some energy is typically also transferred to the surrounding air; as a result, the air gets heated and sound is produced. (4)
  • Light also transfers energy from place to place. (4)
Defining and Delimiting Engineering Problems (ETS1.A)
  • Possible solutions to a problem are limited by available materials and resources (constraints). The success of a designed solution is determined by considering the desired features of a solution (criteria). Different proposals for solutions can be compared on the basis of how well each one meets the specified criteria for success or how well each takes the constraints into account. (3-5)
Developing Possible Solutions (ETS1.B)
  • At whatever stage, communicating with peers about proposed solutions is an important part of the design process, and shared ideas can lead to improved designs. (3-5)
  • Tests are often designed to identify failure points or difficulties, which suggest the elements of the design that need to be improved. (3-5)
Optimizing the Design Solution (ETS1.C)
  • Different solutions need to be tested in order to determine which of them best solves the problem, given the criteria and the constraints. (3-5)

Crosscutting Concepts (K-12)

Cause and Effect (K-12)
  • Cause and effect relationships are routinely identified, tested, and used to explain change. (3-5)
Energy and Matter (2-12)
  • Energy can be transferred in various ways and between objects. (4-5)
Science is a Human Endeavor (3-12)
  • Science affects everyday life. (3-4)

Science and Engineering Practices (K-12)

Asking Questions and Defining Problems (K-12)
  • Asking questions and defining problems in grades 3–5 builds on grades K–2 experiences and progresses to specifying qualitative relationships. (3-5)
    • Define a simple problem that can be solved through the development of a new or improved object or tool. (3)
Planning and Carrying Out Investigations (K-12)
  • Planning and carrying out investigations to answer questions or test solutions to problems in 3–5 builds on K–2 experiences and progresses to include investigations that control variables and provide evidence to support explanations or design solutions. (3-5)
    • Make observations and/or measurements to produce data to serve as the basis for evidence for an explanation of a phenomenon or test a design solution. (3)
    • Make observations to produce data to serve as the basis for evidence for an explanation of a phenomenon or test a design solution. (4)
Scientific Investigations Use a Variety of Methods (K-12)
  • Science investigations use a variety of methods, tools, and techniques. (3)
Scientific Knowledge is Based on Empirical Evidence (K-12)
  • Science findings are based on recognizing patterns. (3-4)

This resource is part of a Physics Front Topical Unit.


Topic: Conservation of Energy
Unit Title: Teaching About Energy

This is a curricular unit for elementary grades 3-5 on the topic of energy.  It includes nine lesson plans and activities to introduce students to a range of energy types such as solar, thermal, wind, and electrical. Activities are presented in the context of engineering, allowing teachers to easily integrate the NGSS Science and Engineering Practices.

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Record Link
AIP Format
University of Colorado College of Engineering, (Integrated Teaching and Learning Program: Teach Engineering, Boulder, 2005), WWW Document, (http://www.teachengineering.org/view_curricularunit.php?url=http://www.teachengineering.com/collection/cub_/curricular_units/cub_energy2/cub_energy2_curricularunit.xml).
AJP/PRST-PER
University of Colorado College of Engineering, Teach Engineering: Energy (Integrated Teaching and Learning Program: Teach Engineering, Boulder, 2005), <http://www.teachengineering.org/view_curricularunit.php?url=http://www.teachengineering.com/collection/cub_/curricular_units/cub_energy2/cub_energy2_curricularunit.xml>.
APA Format
University of Colorado College of Engineering. (2012, October 1). Teach Engineering: Energy. Retrieved April 24, 2014, from Integrated Teaching and Learning Program: Teach Engineering: http://www.teachengineering.org/view_curricularunit.php?url=http://www.teachengineering.com/collection/cub_/curricular_units/cub_energy2/cub_energy2_curricularunit.xml
Chicago Format
University of Colorado College of Engineering. Teach Engineering: Energy. Boulder: Integrated Teaching and Learning Program: Teach Engineering, October 1, 2012. http://www.teachengineering.org/view_curricularunit.php?url=http://www.teachengineering.com/collection/cub_/curricular_units/cub_energy2/cub_energy2_curricularunit.xml (accessed 24 April 2014).
MLA Format
University of Colorado College of Engineering. Teach Engineering: Energy. Boulder: Integrated Teaching and Learning Program: Teach Engineering, 2005. 1 Oct. 2012. 24 Apr. 2014 <http://www.teachengineering.org/view_curricularunit.php?url=http://www.teachengineering.com/collection/cub_/curricular_units/cub_energy2/cub_energy2_curricularunit.xml>.
BibTeX Export Format
@misc{ Author = "University of Colorado College of Engineering", Title = {Teach Engineering: Energy}, Publisher = {Integrated Teaching and Learning Program: Teach Engineering}, Volume = {2014}, Number = {24 April 2014}, Month = {October 1, 2012}, Year = {2005} }
Refer Export Format

%Q University of Colorado College of Engineering
%T Teach Engineering: Energy
%D October 1, 2012
%I Integrated Teaching and Learning Program:  Teach Engineering
%C Boulder
%U http://www.teachengineering.org/view_curricularunit.php?url=http://www.teachengineering.com/collection/cub_/curricular_units/cub_energy2/cub_energy2_curricularunit.xml
%O text/html

EndNote Export Format

%0 Electronic Source
%A University of Colorado College of Engineering,
%D October 1, 2012
%T Teach Engineering: Energy
%I Integrated Teaching and Learning Program:  Teach Engineering
%V 2014
%N 24 April 2014
%8 October 1, 2012
%9 text/html
%U http://www.teachengineering.org/view_curricularunit.php?url=http://www.teachengineering.com/collection/cub_/curricular_units/cub_energy2/cub_energy2_curricularunit.xml


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