Tuesday, April 23, 2013

ENERGY! Kinetic. Potential. Light. Heat. Motion ... And Beyond!

WHEW! We have finished our big energy unit, and I'm delighted with how it turned out {and it's up on TpT for you to use, if you're looking for some energy fun!}. The kids really got into sources of energy, types of energy - and we had some fun integrating reading and writing all the way through.

We started with hula-hooping, of course. {way back when I had the old header, remember?}  - We talked about kinetic and potential energy, and how we transferred energy from our bodies to the hoop!

We learned about several different types of energy, like light, heat, motion, gravitational, electric and chemical, and searched through several magazines to find different types of energy. We even discovered that energy can take multiple forms!

Soon we took things up a notch by learning about the Law of Conservation of Energy. We read a non-fiction passage {included in the unit on TpT} and made a quick anchor chart ...

Then began crafting our energy chains, to show the transfer of energy from one thing to another!

Then we started wondering ... how do we even know energy is out there? We can't see or feel it, most of the time. Enter ... ENERGY DETECTIVES! 

 I gave the kids bags with several items that related to one another (i.e. a sleepover). The kids had to use their inferencing skills to figure out a) what activity was being described, and b) why those items proved the existence of different kinds of energy. The kids had a blast, and then they created their own energy mystery bags! :)

Finally {we actually completed this project throughout the energy unit, but I think it'd be a great culminating activity}, we worked on some problem-based learning projects to sum-up what we know about energy. There were two different (differentiated) problems. First, the President of the Energy committee contacted our class with a unique problem ... 

What should we do? Create public service announcements, of course! The kids had to read a non-fiction passage {included in the unit}, and persuade their peers that kinetic (moving) energy is better for their bodies than potential {stored} energy.

It was a great way for them to practice more persuasive writing, AND they had the choice of how to do it. Several kids chose to write a script for a commercial, but many chose a poster. Here are a couple examples of their adorable work ...

The other group had a slightly more complex task - they were contacted by the President of the Energy Committee about the problems we're having with energy sources that pollute the earth. They were asked to pick an energy source, read a non-fiction passage {included}, complete a Web Quest, and design a persuasive PSA recommending more or less use of that particular energy source. They were also given choices of their presentation style. Here are two excerpts from their PowerPoint and cartoon presentations.

They did a great job, and I'm so proud! We had a GREAT time learning about energy, and integrating several other reading and writing skills into our work as well!

If you're interested in purchasing this unit, you can pick up the bundled resources here. The resources for this unit, sold separately, include:

Thanks for stopping by! 

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