Energy Concept Mapping

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Students will be able to make connections between stored energy sources and actions.

Big Idea

The concept of stored energy and the conversion of that energy is a hefty concept for third graders. This lesson will allow children to grapple with the connection of the two.


5 minutes

"How are energies and actions related?". This will be our question to explore today.

I will ask the students to discuss this, based on their results from their work yesterday during our lesson, "Energy Makes What Happen?".

In having this discussion, I am hoping to not only review what the students experienced in the previous lesson, but to also obtain a command on their understandings and misconceptions.  During these quick questions, it is a good idea to have a notepad handy to jot down possible mini lessons.

Mini Lesson

10 minutes

To prepare the students for today's activity, I will ask them to consider the relationship between several items.  They are: an apple, energy, trees, humans, and worms. As a class we worked to make as many connections between these items as possible. 

The children immediately engaged in a conversation about what item "gave" energy to another. There were many connections discussed, but we finally created a concept map in which everyone agreed. 

Active Engagement

25 minutes

In order to allow student to explore their understanding about stored energy and actions from that energy, I placed the following words on the board: energy, light, heat, motor, motion, sound, battery, electricity, and candle.

I then prompted the students to work with a partner and make as many connections as they could. I also explained to them that if they thought there was a connection, but were unsure of the direction the arrow should be placed, they should just draw a line and we could put the arrows in later, after discussion.

As these students worked, I simply asked them to explain their map to me. As the student walked me through the map, I realized that I could help him use more precise vocabulary words to communicate his ideas, as well and help him make sense of how the ideas were connected. 

I then asked his partner to explain the map, according to his own thinking. In this second conversation, we were able to make more connections and discuss some misconceptions. I was happy to discuss with this group, as it gave me insight into the fact that I needed to create a lesson that was more focused on naming the stored energy first and then recording the action from the use of that energy. 

Sharing and Closing

10 minutes

Every group had a different map, so I asked each partnership to set out their work and have the students "tour" the room.  Following the tour, I gave each team 2 minutes to add to or change their own work.

This type of quick closing is a great way to engage students in conversations, revise work, and explore other thinking.