To see descriptions of all available curriculum by grade level, click here. To download a PDF of all available units, click here.

Energy Transformations

Energy Sort

Grades:
4-5
Lesson Number:
1
Description:
Students will be put in groups of six to eight students. Each group will have images of various items that produce heat (light bulb, hair dryer, refrigerator, computer, game system, television, car, motorcycle, microwave, space heater, etc.). The goal is to...
Energy Content:
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Learning Goal(s):
Students will begin to think about various appliances and items that they use and the energy that those items consume. Students will make connections between common objects in their lives and energy transformations taking place.
Pedagogy & Practice:
NGSS Science and Engineering Practices:
Author:
Eric Gronseth
Relevant NGSS PE:
Other Subjects Covered:
Estimated Activity Length:
40 min
Sources of Energy

Brainstorm Energy Source

Grades:
4-5
Lesson Number:
2
Description:
Students will individually brainstorm sources of energy. This process will take place on both an individual and on a group level, allowing for students to share ideas about their perceptions of energy. On a sheet of paper, students will write or draw...
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Learning Goal(s):
Students will begin to think about various appliances and items that they use and the energy that those items consume. Students will brainstorm ideas of energy sources without worrying about right and wrong answers. Students will create a visual reference for different types of energy resources with their classmates.
Author:
Eric Gronseth
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
40 min
Solar Water Heating Experiment

Setting Up the Experiment - Solar Water Heating

Grades:
4-5
Lesson Number:
8
Description:
Students will set up the experiment that they will use to determine the amount of energy from the sun that can be used to heat water and the variables that can help the exchange of heat most effectively. They will accomplish this through setting up simple...
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Learning Goal(s):
Students will use their previous learning about observation and solar power to set up an experiment to determine the amount of heat that can be collected in water containers from the sun. Students will determine three variables that affect the jug’s absorption and trapping of energy from the sun. Students will take data measurements from these set ups in order to make evidence-based conclusions from the experiment.
NGSS Science and Engineering Practices:
Author:
Eric Gronseth
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
40 min
Scientific Method

Setting Expectations for Science and Engineering Projects

Grades:
2-5
Lesson Number:
1
Description:
Begin this session by setting some ground rules for science discourse. Explain to students that as we work on this unit, and science in general throughout the year, they will be asked to share their thinking about science concepts.
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Learning Goal(s):
Establishing guidelines for the unit; students will also have a better understanding of the scientific method.
Author:
Mike Hellis
Estimated Activity Length:
30 min
Solar Circuit

A Simple Circuit

Grades:
2-5
Lesson Number:
4
Description:
Students make a hypothesis about how a set of materials should be connected in order to make a motor spin. Through guided trial and error students are led to the idea of a circuit as the proper way to connect the materials in order to make the fan turn.
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Learning Goal(s):
Students will be able to draw a simple circuit, label its parts, and show the direction/path that current is flowing.
NGSS Science and Engineering Practices:
Author:
Mike Hellis
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
50 min
Kidwind Small Water Pump

Making Observations and Recording Data for Solar Powered Water Pumping

Grades:
2-5
Lesson Number:
5
Description:
Students use a solar module and water pump to test how quickly one cup of water can be pumped.
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Learning Goal(s):
Students will be able to make observations and record data about how quickly a solar module will drive a pump to move water.
Author:
Mike Hellis
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
1 hour
Kidwind Small Water Pump

Solar Powered Water Pumping

Grades:
2-5
Lesson Number:
6
Description:
Students use a solar module and other materials in conjunction with a water pump to test how quickly one cup of water can be pumped.
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More Details Less Details
Learning Goal(s):
Students will be able to make observations and record data about how different materials affect the speed of a solar powered water pump.
Author:
Mike Hellis
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
1 hour
Kidwind Small Water Pump

Designing a Faster Water Pump

Grades:
2-5
Lesson Number:
7
Description:
Students use all their prior knowledge to design and construct a water pump that can pump 1 cup of water the fastest.
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Learning Goal(s):
Students will be able to use available tools to design and test a solar water pump, refine their design, test and finally evaluate their efforts. Through this process students will understand and gain experience with the engineering design process.
Author:
Mike Hellis
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
1 hour
Electric Current Induction

Wave Attenuator Unit Overview

Grades:
6-12
Description:
Through a series of learning experiences, students will experiment with the basic concepts of motion to electrical energy transformation. Students start by building a series of models that demonstrate the interactions between magnetic and electric fields...
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Learning Goal(s):
1. Students will demonstrate energy transfer through space using electromagnetic phenomena. 2. Students will design a model that demonstrates that a current-carrying wire can induce magnetism. 3. Students will define and build an electromagnet. 4. Students will demonstrate electromagnetic induction. 5. Students will describe and model the energy transfer and transformation in a wave attenuator. 6. Students will build a wave attenuator using a diagram and selected materials. 7. Students will test the model wave attenuator they built. 8. Students will investigate variables that may affect the output of an energy conversion device (wave attenuator). 9. Students will interpret data to identify which variables increase electrical output for these model wave attenuators. 10. Students will communicate results from scientific inquiry to identify factors that are important to optimizing the design of a wave attenuator.
Author:
Tabatha Roderick
Estimated Activity Length:
10 hours
Electric Current Induction

Introduction to Electromagnetism

Grades:
6-12
Lesson Number:
1
Description:
Through a series of goal-oriented activities and research, students will build physical models that demonstrate the interactions between magnetism and magnetic fields as well as interactions between magnetism and electric fields. Students will be challenged...
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More Details Less Details
Learning Goal(s):
1. Students will demonstrate energy transfer through space using electromagnetic phenomena. 2. Students will design a model that demonstrates that a current-carrying wire can induce magnetism. 3. Students will define and build an electromagnet. 4. Students will demonstrate electromagnetic induction.
Author:
Tabatha Roderick
Estimated Activity Length:
3 hours