Radiation Energy

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SWBAT virtually conduct an experiment to explain radiation energy's ability to pop a kernel of popcorn.

Big Idea

Radiation energy is used in so many things, but is hard for students to see. In this lesson we use a virtual experiment on an iPad to play with heat, lens, and distance to pop corn.

Ready, Draw, Explain

5 minutes

For a fun warm up, I ask students to take out their white boards to play a game. I will give a type of energy and students will try to draw an example of that type. This will require students to explain their answers because it might not be clear how they are thinking without doing so. I start by asking them to draw kinetic energy. They then show me their boards and I choose a couple to explain their drawing to the class. I do a couple more and end with radiant energy. This one stumps most of them because we only briefly read about it in an article. I use the time to explain that radiant energy is often called light energy. Students are then able to draw a few examples. I then explain that light energy can also be microwaves and x-rays. 

iPad Experiment

15 minutes

For the experiment we are going to use the Radiation Gizmo. This online site has many wonderful online lessons and simulations that your students can do. I started by completing the 30-day trail and using it on my Promethean Board. When I do this, I use my iPad to connect to the projector so that the class can work and play with me. Students can then come up an manipulate the various buttons to perform the tasks on the Gizmo. 

For this lesson we begin by exploring the variables that are offered. We play with the adjustments, adding lenses, and changing the temperature. We then set up the first experiment. We place the heat at it's highest and then place the clear lens between the kernel and light source. Before I press start, I ask students to predict what will happen and get ready to write down what they observe. I then press play and then give time for them to write. We conduct the same experiment using various lenses and temperatures. The final experiment, we use the piece of card board to block the lens. We observe again, and instead talk about what didn't happen. I have them write a prediction into their journals. 

Radiation Energy Exploration

15 minutes

I do not add to their learning yet. Instead, I hand out student iPads so that they can learn the various ways we use radiation energy. I want students to see that it moves past just the sun and light. I ask every student to find an example and write it into their journal along with a reason it is an example. We will then discuss these as a whole class. I finish with explaining the importance of sunscreen by connecting their learning back to the piece of cardboard that blocked the heat.