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Feasting On Fuel: Renewables On America’s Farms

By some estimates, producing our food consumes about a fifth of the nation’s energy supply. It takes a lot of diesel to move tractors and semis around the farm, and electricity to pump water and dry grain. But some farmers are trying to cut back on the coal and gas they use and make our food system more energy efficient.

In this podcast from Inside Energy, learn about how farms are using renewable energy as a way of keeping costs down and utilizing creative solutions for greater sustainability.

Sun to Cheese

In this video, Ryan Morra,  Professional Learning Coordinator at Shelburne Farms in Vermont traces the energy and processes involved in making cheese all the way back to the Sun as an energy source.  By applying the idea of energy transfer to the real-life scenario of how cheese is made, teachers can then choose to actually make cheese with their students in the classroom. (3:11 minutes)

Girls of Energy: DOE

Girls of Energy is designed to ignite curiosity and engage young minds across the globe, and we are thrilled to bring it to you. It showcases exceptional women who are conquering today’s energy challenges and creating tomorrow’s technology solutions. Comprised of lesson plans, activities, and an engaging website, Girls of Energy highlights the importance of energy and how it improves the lives of our friends, neighbors, and family members. Exploring the cutting-edge energy research and technology being developed at the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Laboratories, Girls of Energy allows young women to see just how amazing a STEM career can be.

Teaching Channel

Teaching Channel is a thriving online community where teachers can watch, share, and learn diverse techniques to help every student grow.

“So great to see good instructions live with kids. There are lots of resources linked with each lesson on the site.”

In terms of content related to energy, see these highlighted resources:

  • Energy Across the Disciplines: Students design Rube Goldberg machines to study energy transfers and energy transformations. The teacher uses the machines to help students make connections between flow of energy in ecosystems of life science with that of physical energy to then discuss conservation of energy and how that is reflected across different disciplines of science.
  • Potential Energy: Problem Solving Skills: A lesson introducing middle school students to the idea of potential energy. Students work through text with background information on potential energy before working with simulations calculating the amount of potential energy in different scenarios in small groups to further their understanding.
  • Exploring Real World Energy Transformations: Lesson with stations and identifying energy transformations and transfers using real world examples students are familiar with
  • STEM Activity: Heat Loss: In this fun activity, students build a house and then measure the amount of heat loss within the structure.  After making adjustments in “insulation”, students measure the amount of heat loss again, prompting further discussion on home energy efficiency

 

60 Formative Assessment Classroom Techniques (FACT)

Here’s a nice list of formative assessment ideas we found online from Levy County School District in Florida. Teachers can use these approaches to check for student understanding and PD providers can use these with teachers to check for their understanding and also model how to implement these assessments.

For more on this, be sure to check out Page Keeley’s book, 75 Science Formative Assessments on her website, Uncovering Student Ideas. She has templates you can adapt for different types of assessments, plus a host of other resources.

PhET Simulations

The PhET online interactive simulations from the University of Colorado are free, research-based and research-validated, cover math and all the major sciences, and are translated into dozens of languages. The online teaching resources to support each simulation include a teacher’s guide from the PhET design team, plus classroom activities that clever teachers have already developed for a given simulation.  Here is a short list of suggested resources on energy:

  • The Energy Skate Park  (kinetic, potential energy)
  • Circuit Construction (electrical energy)
  • Energy Forms and Changes (energy states, forms, conservation of energy)
  • Generator (energy types, energy resources, magnetic fields)

And a long-time favorite, John Travoltage–where you can make John “Travoltage’s” leg rub to build up static so that he gets shocked when touching a doorknob!