The Great Energy Challenge

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SWBAT compare and contrast a variety of energy resources. SWBAT understand the benefits and side-effects of energy resources.

Big Idea

When people use energy, there are benefits and harmful side-effects. The goal is for students to understand how to live in a world with these challenges.

Bell Ringer - ExxonMobil Energy Quiz

5 minutes

ExxonMobil Energy Quiz (on YouTube)

Each energy quiz (video) is 30 seconds in length. These energy quizzes will: engage students in the lesson while prompting questions and discussion, test their knowledge, and teach them how much energy can be saved by taking small, easy actions. After each video, I ask students to Turn and Talk with their partner. This provides an opportunity for all students to participate in the discussion, process the learning, and have a meaningful conversation. During the discussion, students could (SP#1) ask questions to establish what they already know or determine what questions have yet to be answered.

 Smartphone: An Energy Quiz


Light bulb: An Energy Quiz


Sources of electricity: An Energy Quiz

Earth's Resources Unit: This is a short, interactive unit that students can be engaged in at the end of the school year. It helps keep students focused on science while learning important information about Earth's resources. As student's progress through the unit, they will work towards MS-ESS3-4 constructing an argument supported by evidence for how increases in human population and per capita consumption of natural resources impacts Earth's systems.

Unit Description: What are the advantages of using Earth's resources wisely? Where do we get energy? Students evaluate the biodegradability of renewable and nonrenewable natural resources while using critical thinking skills to create an energy exhibit focusing on energy sources.

Energy Resources Quiz

20 minutes

Energy Resources Quiz

Before students take the quiz, I ask them to make a foldable to record their thoughts and questions. Students glue the foldable into their Science Journal (Notebook) because then it will be in a safe place for future reference. The foldable is an efficient strategy for students to collect, record, and reference information for future use.

I direct students to take the Energy Resources Quiz by sending them a link through Google Classroom. This is a quick, easy, free, and efficient way to give students information. Students access the quizzes, decide which three (3) quizzes to take, take each quiz, and write in their foldable. 

From each quiz, students may learn that cause and effect (CCC#2) relationships may be used to predict phenomena in natural and designed systems (ie - digging up and burning fossil fuels causes pollution and dangerous greenhouse gases.)

There are a variety of quizzes for students to choose from. When students choose a quiz, they should record the name of the quiz on the front of the foldable. Then inside that section of the foldable students could write information or facts, ask questions, and/or draw diagrams/pictures. As students begin to obtain this information, they may (SP#7) engage in argument from evidence as they examine their own understanding in light of the evidence and collaborate with peers in searching for the best explanation.

Gallery Walk

15 minutes

A Gallery Walk

A gallery walk is a discussion strategy that gets students out of their seats and moving. This is especially important in middle school. Middle school students have a lot of energy, like to move around, and enjoy engaging in conversation. This strategy is flexible and offers variety for students of all learning levels.

I sort students into groups by using a deck of playing cards. These groups will work together during the gallery walk. Use the following directions to group students for adding variety to the lesson.

Playing Cards: Decide how many groups you want and what size. For example, if you would like to have 5 groups of 5 and you wanted to randomly put them into groups then get 5 Kings, 5 Aces, 5 2‟s, 5 Jacks, and 5 Queens (of course you will need more than one deck of cards) and shuffle them up. Deal out a deck of cards. Divide into two groups (red or Black), four groups (suits), three groups (face cards,odds, evens) or more. Pass them out and match up the five who get the kings, Queens, etc. Decks of Old Maid cards work well for dividing into partners.

For the Gallery Walk, I create an assortment of posters with sentence frames. This provides a place for students to start their reflection and begin the conversation. Some possible sentence frames include:

  • Taking this quiz helped me to...
  • I learned that....because...
  • I agree with....because....
  • I don't understand.....
  • Now I am wondering......
  • Graffiti (only drawings)


Student groups start at one poster and then rotate after a determined amount of time. I find that 2-3 minutes in enough time for student groups to write a response. 

Now...reflect. Direct students back to their first poster to read all the responses that were written, discuss what was learned, and come to a final conclusion.