In this lesson students are introduced to the idea of energy as potential or kinetic as well as the law of conservation of energy and how energy can be converted between different forms.
For this lesson students need access to the internet through computers or tablets.
In this first section of the lesson students are asked to think about energy so that I can get an idea of their prior knowledge of the concept.
To do this I pose the following on the first slide of the unit6 lecture 1 PowerPoint:
What is Energy?
With your table group come up with a definition and examples of energy.
Record on your group’s whiteboard
I give students about 5 minutes to talk with their groups and have something written down. I then tell students that whomever was doing the writing should pass the board to someone else to share out. I then go around to each group and have them share out what they came up with.
Some examples of student responses include:
These are some examples of student whiteboards:
This movie is an example of students sharing out in the classroom.
By doing this I am able to check students prior knowledge about what energy is and look for misconceptions in regards to what types of things are energy and the idea of energy as both potential and kinetic.
This next section of the lesson is the meat of the lesson where I teach content related to energy basics. I present the information on the PowerPoint while students fill in content on the first page of their notes graphic organizer.
As I present this information there are a lot of examples so I make sure to help students see how the examples make sense. With the final slide in regards to the conversion of energy I talk with students about efficiency and how the amount of potential energy used as gasoline is technically only about 25% efficient in regards to what is used as mechanical energy to move the car where most of it is lost as heat.
This is a movie of my explanation of the transfer of energy and efficiency of light bulbs.
Here is a copy of a student's filled in graphic notes organizer.
In this section of the notes students have a chance to work with the forms of energy and see how energy is transferred through performing two computer activities. These activities are found on the second page of their notes graphic organizer.
I only have 8 desktop computers in my classroom so for the activities students are instructed to work with their table groups. I encourage them to make sure to all participate through taking turns controlling the mouse, to discuss the decisions that they make in regards to the lab protocols, and that they are all responsible for recording data on their papers.
I begin by explaining to students that they will be going up to their computers and doing these two activities. For more details on how I do this and some tips for using computers in the classroom see my reflection below on using computers in the classroom.
For the first virtual lab activity students are working with the Glencoe "How is Energy Converted from One form to Another" virtual lab.
For the second virtual lab activity students are working with one of the University of Colorado's PhET lab activities "Energy Forms and Changes"
This is a copy of a Student's filled in notes graphic organizer with the second page having answers for the two computer activities.