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CLEAN Collection: Demonstrations

The CLEAN Collection is a hand-picked and rigorously reviewed collection of educational resources aligned with the Climate Literacy and the Energy Literacy frameworks, and the Next Generation Science Standards.

This short list of demonstrations include resources related to thermal expansion and sea level rise, fermentation, biofuels, and solar ovens.

Stretch Your Potential

From this activity from the How to Smile Collection, learners create a toy that demonstrates the First Law of Thermodynamics or the Law of Conservation of Energy. By stretching the rubber band on the toy differently, learners explore the effects of potential energy on kinetic energy. The activity webpage from the Children’s Museum of Houston includes a fun how-to video for learners and educators.

Energy: A Multidisciplinary Approach for Teachers (EMAT)

Energy: A Multidisciplinary Approach for Teachers (EMAT) is an online course for high school science teachers. We developed it for teachers, but it’s chock full of resources that teachers might use with high school students.

Energy ideas are fundamental to all areas of science. Our goal is to help teachers learn more about energy ideas and, in turn, help their students understand energy, too. When our kids understand key energy concepts, they will be better prepared to actively participate as citizens in making energy decisions as part of our rapidly changing economy.

BSCS developed the EMAT course in collaboration with Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB), the National Teachers Enhancement Network (NTEN) of Montana State University, the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL), and the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center (GLBRC).

Register with the Rise learning management system (it’s free) and then choose EMAT from the course catalog.

There are six units in the EMAT course:

  • Coal
  • Nuclear Energy
  • Wind
  • Geothermal Energy
  • Biofuels
  • Solar Energy

Each unit helps teachers learn key energy concepts and think about how to help students learn key energy concepts. As part of the course, there are a variety of materials to help both students and teachers:

  1. Animations—short animated videos that showcase important science and energy concepts
  2. Interactive Learning Experiences—interactive and fun opportunities to explore scientific ideas related to energy
  3. Classroom Videos—see how other teachers have engaged their students in teaching complex ideas related to energy

ASTC Dimensions: Looking Toward the Future of Energy

Dimensions, the bimonthly magazine of the Association of Science-Technology Centers, just won another award for this energy-focused issue. Communications Concepts, Inc. has given an APEX Award of Excellence (category: Magazines, Journals, and Tabloids—Green) to our March/April 2016 issue, Looking Toward the Future of Energy. The Green category honors publications covering topics including energy efficiency, conservation, the environment, and climate education. This issue features a mix of in-depth analysis and briefs of noteworthy events and resources for the informal education field. The insights to energy trends and practices featured here are beneficial for teachers, parents, and informal educators alike.

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)

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

 

Project Learning Tree

Project Learning Tree (PLT) is an award-winning environmental education program designed for teachers and other educators, parents, and community leaders working with youth from preschool through grade 12.  “You’ll branch out and leaf a better educator!”

PLT also provides professional development training for educators.

 

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!

NREL Energy Education Resources for Teachers

NREL(National Renewable Energy Lab) provides a variety of educational resources to help students, teachers, and parents educate their kids about renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies, including hands-on projects and curriculum suggestions for elementary school, middle school, and high school students as well as teachers.