What is Energy?

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Students will be able to describe and calculate kinetic energy and potential energy.

Big Idea

Students find out what energy is.

Energy Paired Reading

20 minutes

The goal of this class is to introduce the concepts of energy and how to solve for kinetic and potential energy. Students start out by reading about energy and obtaining more information about energy (SP8). Then students use computational thinking to solve problems using various energy equations (SP5). All of these skills work together to help lead students to understanding the energy conservation standards HS-PS3-1 and HS-PS3-2.

To start out class, I have students work with the person sitting next to each other during this reading activity. During a paired reading, I have students read one paragraph at a time. Students pull up the Energy Reading on their chromebooks so each student can see the reading. To do the paired reading, I have one partner read the first paragraph out loud. The other partner summarizes verbally the main idea(s) of the paragraph after it has been read. Then I have the partners switch roles to complete the next paragraph, until they have read the entire reading.

When the whole class has finished the reading, I ask students to tell me what the main points of the article are so we can start talking about what energy is. We end up discussing the analogies that are in the article as well as what the bar graph pictures represent in the article. I emphasize here that in each situation there is one or more type of energy that can be calculated. 

Energy Notes Recap

10 minutes

After the discussion about the reading, I have students tell me about they video that they watched for homework about the different types of energy, as seen below.

I make a chart on the board similar to the one that they took notes on (shown below). I make sure to emphasize the difference between each type of energy and I show them another calculation example of each type of energy. Students volunteer their answers and I try to call on as many students as possible to get most of the information as shown in the graphic organizer below. Students should already have this organizer completed from the homework but we discuss this as a recap.


Energy Problem Set

25 minutes

After a brief review of notes, I have students work with their table groups to complete the Energy Problems WS. I ask students to show all their work and to ask their group members if they need help solving a problem. Since these problems are pretty straight-forward, I try not to answer any questions about how to solve the problem. The expectation is that someone at the table that can help. As students work, I walk around to see which problems students are having trouble with so I can know what types of questions to revisit with the whole class. Overall students were able to use the equations to complete most or all of these problems accurately. The most difficult problems for students are the conceptual questions without numbers. Below is the work from one student on this problem set. If students did not complete the problems, they complete the remaining problems for homework.

Second Look at Energy Learning Targets

5 minutes

Since we are about halfway through the unit, I ask my students to self-assess on their Unit 5 Energy Learning Target Sheet to see their growth throughout the unit. I also do this to help show students the areas that they still should work on before the test at the end of the unit. My students rate themselves on a scale of 1-4: (1) Novice, (2) Apprentice, (3) Practitioner, (4) Expert. At this stage of the unit I am expecting the 1's to only remain in the targets we have not covered. As I walk around the room I make sure to note who still is marking 1's in targets we have covered so I can give them a little extra help.

Stoplight Exit Slip

5 minutes

To end class, I use a stoplight exit slip to see where my students are at. Each students takes a post-it note from the resource bin at the center of the table and chooses to stick that note to a red, yellow or green light. They complete the sentence starter on the light they choose.

The red light: Today my learning stopped because...

The yellow light: Today I considered a question, new idea or perspective...

The green light: Today I learned __________ because...

When students complete their sentence they stick the post-it note the appropriate color light which is at the front of the room. I do this closure activity to get an idea of where students are in learning the material. This exit slip is a way that they can anonymously express exactly what they are learning or exactly what they are struggling with.