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Experience Energy

Elementary, Middle

Description

This resource is comprised of six lessons with the goal of helping students to gain a deeper understanding of energy, the connection between energy and the environment, how energy is used, methods of conservation and renewable energy solutions.

Lesson 1 - students will be introduced to potential and kinetic energy by completing a class mind map, an energy scavenger hunt, and working with energy sorting cards.

Lesson 2 - the students will trace the journey of energy from its production to its final destination and calculate the cost of energy as well as develop an understanding of the pros and cons of each type of energy.                                                                                                             
Lesson 3 - students will complete an energy audit of their school or classroom and calculate the cost of common appliances over time.                                                           

Lesson 4 - students will develop an understanding of energy efficiency from a water demonstration and graph data from Lesson 3.  They will also participate in an energy continuum game where they will be asked to clarify their opinions and thoughts with regards to energy conservation.

Lesson 5 - students will construct either a solar oven or a windmill. 

Lesson 6 - students will apply the knowledge learned from the previous lessons to design and create a model dream green school.                                                                      

 

General Assessment

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

The students learn how to complete an energy audit of their classroom or school.

Strengths

This resource has a number of strengths:

  • teacher-friendly materials with an abundance of background information
  • the format of the resource is well organized with all of the necessary resources 
  • there are links to additional information for the teacher
  • extension activities are included
  • the lessons are linked to the Energy Literacy Principles and the Next Generation Science Standards 
  • there are two options given for pre/post testing
  • the lesson offers a variety of engaging activities and hands-on learning

Weaknesses

The only weakness that this resource has it that it focuses on Minnesota, making some of the resources unusable for teachers in other areas.  Teachers will have to search for relevant resources for their area for some activities.

Recommendation of how and where to use it

This resource would be best used in a Science classroom or as a STEM activity.

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        • Data from circle graphs can be used to illustrate proportion and to compare and interpret.

Themes Addressed

  • Air, Atmosphere & Climate (1)

    • Climate Change
  • Energy (3)

    • Alternative Energy
    • Energy Generation
    • Energy Use

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Good

This resource allows the students to explore the topic of energy conservation through various activities in order to develop a better understanding of the topic.

Consideration of Alternative Perspectives:
  • Satisfactory: absence of bias towards any one point of view
  • Good: students consider different points of view regarding issues, problems discussed
  • Very good: based on the consideration of different views, students form opinions and  take an informed position
Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions Good

The resource activities address the importance of energy efficiency and renewable energy as critical solutions. Students assess their school's energy footprint to save energy, save money and model a sustainable, low carbon school.

Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions:

Effectively addresses the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.

  • Satisfactory: resource supports the examination of  these dimensions
  • Good:  resource explicitly examines the interplay of these dimensions
  • Very Good:  a systems-thinking approach is encouraged to examine these three dimensions
Respects Complexity Good

The depth of the activities and materials provided allow the students to gain a better understanding of the complexity of energy production.

Respects Complexity:

The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected.

Acting on Learning Good

Students will apply the knowledge and skills gained from previous lessons to the design and creation of a model dream green school. The appendix provides an action plan template to guide students in developing an energy action plan.

Acting on Learning:

Learning moves from understanding  issues  to working towards positive change — in personal lifestyle, in school, in the community,  or for the planet

  • Satisfactory: action opportunities are included as extensions 
  • Good: action opportunities are core components of the resource
  • Very Good: action opportunities for students are well supported and intended to result in observable, positive change
Values Education Very Good

In Lesson 4 the students are given the opportunity to clarify their beliefs and opinions on the conservation of energy through a continuum activity.

Values Education:

Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.

Empathy & Respect for Humans Poor/Not considered

This is not the focus of this resource.

Empathy & Respect for Humans: Empathy and respect are fostered for diverse groups of humans (including different genders, ethnic groups, sexual preferences, etc.).
Personal Affinity with Earth Satisfactory

The focus of the resource is to increase the connections educators and students make in their everyday lives and motivate them to positively reduce the impact that climate change is having on our environment.

Personal Affinity with Earth:

Encourages a personal affinity with -the natural world.  

  • Satisfactory: connection is made to the natural world
  • Good: fosters appreciation/concern for the natural world
  • Very Good: fosters stewardship though practical and respectful experiences out-of-doors 
Locally-Focused Learning Good

The local focus in this resource is on Minnesota. However, the resource could easily be adapted to other areas.

Locally-Focused Learning:

Includes learning experiences that take advantage of issues/elements within the local community. 

  • Satisfactory: learning is made relevant to the lives of the learners
  • Good: learning is made relevant and has a local focus
  • Very Good: learning is made relevant, local and takes place ‘outside’ , in the community 
Past, Present & Future Good

This resource does a good job of exploring the present state of energy consumption and gives a positive outlook for the future.  The past is not explored.

Past, Present & Future: Promotes an understanding of the past, a sense of the present, and a positive vision for the future.

Pedagogical Approaches

Principle Rating Explanation
Open-Ended Instruction Good

Although possible answers are given to the teacher for the activities or questions that are asked, the answers can be varied.

Open-Ended Instruction :

Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible; students are not steered toward one 'right' answer.

Integrated Learning Good
Integrated Learning:

Learning brings together content and skills  from more than one  subject area

  • Satisfactory: content from a number of different  subject areas is readily identifiable
  • Good:  resource is appropriate for use in more than one subject area
  • Very Good:  the lines between subjects are blurred 
Inquiry Learning Satisfactory

Lesson 1 begins to raise student awareness of common energy sources and uses. This lesson is the foundation as it aims to inspire more questions than it answers.

Inquiry Learning:

Learning is directed by questions, problems, or challenges that students work to address.   

  • Satisfactory: Students are provided with questions/problems to solve and some direction on how to arrive at solutions.
  • Good: students, assisted by the teacher clarify the question(s) to ask and the process to follow to arrive at solutions.  Sometimes referred to as Guided Inquiry
  • Very Good:  students generate the questions and assume much of the responsibility for how to solve them.  . Sometimes referred to as self-directed learning.

 

Differentiated Instruction Very Good
Differentiated Instruction:

Activities address a range of student learning styles, abilities and readiness.

  • Satisfactory:  includes a variety of instructional approaches
  • Good: addresses  the needs of visual, auditory &  kinesthetic learners
  • Very Good: also includes strategies for learners with difficulties
Experiential Learning Good
Experiential Learning:

Authentic learning experiences are provided

  • Satisfactory: learning takes place through ‘hands-on’ experience or simulation
  • Good: learning involves direct experience in a ‘real world context’
  • Very good: learning involves ‘real world experiences’ taking place’ beyond the school walls.
Cooperative Learning Satisfactory
Cooperative Learning:

Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.

  • Satisfactory:  students work in groups
  • Good: cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught and practiced
  • Very Good: cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught, practiced and assessed
Assessment & Evaluation Very Good

This is a very strong document in terms of assessment materials and guidelines for students' learning.

Assessment & Evaluation: Tools are provided that help students and teachers to capture formative and summative information about students' learning and performance. These tools may include reflection questions, checklists, rubrics, etc.
Peer Teaching Satisfactory
Peer Teaching:

Provides opportunities for students to actively present their knowledge and skills to peers and/or act as teachers and mentors.

  • Satisfactory: incidental teaching that arises from cooperative learning, presentations, etc.
  • Good or Very Good: an opportunity is intentionally created to empower students to teach other students/community members. The audience is somehow reliant on the students' teaching (students are not simply ‘presenting')
Case Studies Good

The case studies provided are included in the Appendices as additional information.

Case Studies:

Relevant case studies are included.  Case studies are thorough descriptions of real events from real situations that students use to explore  concepts in an authentic context.

Locus of Control Satisfactory

There are some opportunities for choice but most of the format of the lessons and the direction they will take is pre-determined.

Locus of Control: Meaningful opportunities are provided for students to choose elements of program content, the medium in which they wish to work, and/or to go deeper into a chosen issue.