Mon, Apr 23, 2012 10:31 PM
Energy: Pick and Choose elements for Lower El.
The Energy SciGuide is divided into three themes: Recognizing Energy, Thermal Energy, and Changes in Energy. Energy in motion, stored energy, and energy generated from heat are the guidelines to recognizing types of energy.
I really like the usage of the teacher resource links provided in the SciGuide. The sites that offer raw data information (Sun Source links) are extremely helpful in accessing information that fits my grade 3 benchmark about the sun’s energy (present in the form of heat and light energy). Students can see “real-life” data about the sun including sun spots on the SOHO link; on the “How the Sun Works” student link, there is embedded video links about the “Unfolding Universe” about the sun that might be independent study opportunities for students to view as extensions of their learning. The text is not geared for grade 3 students and seems a bit much, but the composition of the sun and its layers might be worth pointing out in comparison to earth.
Parts of the lesson plan for recognizing energy can be adapted for early elementary use—in the form of building a concept map as a pre- and post-recognizing energy forms task. The lesson, as a third-grade lab, needs to be adjusted to provide quick demos: standing in the sun, holding something up that the wind would catch, using sun-sensitive paper, rubber band for the different energy forms.
The Thermal Energy Theme focused on links that were more accessible to students. I loved BBC bitesize interactives and use them as part of my science instruction all the time. However, I would recommend the KS2 bitesize activitity of “Keeping Warm” which is more at my students’ level in measuring heat of polystyrene, cardboard, and foil. While it’s not an exact match, the interactives are specifically geared to my age-group.
The popcorn lesson for the lab can be achieved as a demonstration without the extensive task of having students write up a formal lab report. Third-graders would love to draw pictures of the kernels popping. The concept of explaining gas contraction for thermal energy seems a bit challenging at my level. Students can connect to steam rising by using hot water in a jar covered by a lid; this has a direct connection to the hydrologic cycle which IS a grade 3 learning objective.
Of the students sites associated with the theme of Conservation of Energy, “The Energy Problem” site with the bouncing spring is the most visual and easily communicated to students of any age. They can see the bars of the types of energy change and adjust over the spring’s period.
I had issues with the use of peanuts (due to student nut allergies) and the match/heat source required of this theme’s lesson so will leave that for middle school activities. I need to think a bit more on what lesson might best fit the needs of my students.
Since the SciGuide is intended for primarily upper elementary grades, many of the concepts need to be adjusted for presentation to my eight-year-old students. Most of the student sites need to be presented to third-graders in using “chunking” strategies and may best be used for pictures, simulations, and videos. The labs seem to be a bit extensive. I think that some teachers are looking for quick demos if students need more in-depth discussions or opportunities to question rather than extended 4-5 periods of lab lesson activities. I would have liked more visual student resources; many of the recommendations are very text-heavy, even for middle school students.
Overall the SciGuide did have extensive teacher background knowledge with genuinely useful pieces, but I think it’s primarily well-suited for middle and high-school use.