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.
Ducksters is a kid friendly site with information on various subjects of learning including science. They have a section on energy and energy concepts that provides accessible background information to support students and their learning.
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.
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:
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:
Animations—short animated videos that showcase important science and energy concepts
Interactive Learning Experiences—interactive and fun opportunities to explore scientific ideas related to energy
Classroom Videos—see how other teachers have engaged their students in teaching complex ideas related to energy
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.
BEETLES stands for “Better Environmental Education, Teaching, Learning & Expertise Sharing” and is based at the Lawrence Hall of Science, University of California at Berkeley. The site focuses on experiential learning approaches, primarily for field instructors and outdoor education, but also for classroom educators as well. You’ll find lessons and associated video segments that demonstrate the lessons that center. The lessons are centered around beetles as a science topic for discovery. Also note the great questioning strategies the facilitators use to foster deeper discussion.
Natural Start Alliance focuses on nature play-based learning, providing research and resources for parents and teachers. You can find organizations including nature centers, nature preschools, advocacy groups, and state level organizations that support nature-centered early childhood education.
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!
This interactive map created by ArcGIS shows global energy production and reserves by country, including coal production, oil production and reserves, and natural gas production and reserves for 1990 to 2014.
The Utah Energy & Minerals Education Initiative was launched in 2015 by the Governor’s Office of Energy Development (OED) and a variety of partner agencies, industry associations and other interested parties, all of whom shared the goal of advancing the public’s understanding of energy production and use.
To date, the Initiative has included K-12 curriculum development, scholarships for high school students, research funding and a Utah Energy & Minerals Days event hosted in conjunction with the annual Utah STEM Fest. As OED and its partners continue to make progress, expanding workforce development activities, public forums, and other forms of outreach and advocacy, this site will be a resource for all content, notices and news related to our education initiatives.
Currently, the site has lessons for grades 3-9 in science, social studies, and math. Current events and news are also featured