Energy: What is it?

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SWBAT define energy and identify different types that exist. They also begin to define kinetic and potential energy.

Big Idea

Students will become engineers as they learn vocabulary and the definitions needed to understand energy.

Energy Notes and Discussion

10 minutes

I ask the class to get out their science notebooks. We are going to start to learn about energy and so many things that make it cool. First, we need to define it. I ask where I could find a definition. Students know to look in the dictionary. I choose a student to look up the definition. While they do that, the class and I brainstorm what we know about energy. 

I keep our ideas on the white board. I have the student read the definition to the class and we try  to form our own definition. When we do this, I tell the students we can change it if we don't like it after we learn more. We come up with "energy: it's what makes thing work". 

Can You Name Examples?

5 minutes

I ask if they can name any forms of energy. The popular answer is electricity. I then ask them about light, sound, and heat. We talk briefly about each of these. I then asked the class where we get these forms of energy. We discuss a dam, power plant, the sun, and food. I ask the class to add this to their notes. First, they need to add types of energy and then they need to add where we get it form. They can draw pictures if that is easier. 

Classifying Energy

10 minutes

We classify energy in two ways: potential and kinetic. Potential is the energy that is stored inside an object. I give them the example of a battery. It has stored energy and we use its energy when we use something that needs batteries. When we sit for too long we build up potential energy. I give them time to write potential energy into their notes and put their own definition down. 

The next type is kinetic. Kinetic energy is the energy of an object in motion. Anything that is moving has kinetic energy. I have the class give me objects that have kinetic energy. My example is a car or kid swinging has kinetic energy. Students add this to their notes. I add to this telling them that sound, wind, water, and light have kinetic energy. They immediately connect water to the river and the force it carries. 


10 minutes

To review our notes, we are going to play a game called Noted! To play I am going to ask a question related to what they have taken down into their journals. I might ask what is energy? Students would find the note in their journals and shout "Noted!" when they find it. I try to call on one of the first ones that has their finger on the note and their hand up. They will read back their note to me and I confirm or ask students to help out. I continue to do this as we review all the notes we have taken.