Reflection: Complex Tasks Using Rube Goldberg Contraptions to Introduce Forms of Energy - Section 3: Students are Introduced to Rube Goldberg Cartoons


In a traditional science class students read about science and fill in answers, based on what they learned. Often there is only one correct answer, resulting in a right or wrong learning environment. Worksheets don't necessarily promote 3-dimensional learning or deep understanding. As a result, when you're planning lessons you should strive to pick the most useful tools that promote student-centered discovery.  

Graphic organizers are a great tool or strategy to incorporate into your daily lessons, as they impart student ideas and organization. In this lesson, students are given a Rube Goldberg cartoon and asked to identify the energy transformations that are occurring from one step to the next. To help students organize their thoughts, they were given a graphic organizer and encouraged to supply some useful information in each column. This was not collected and graded, rather students used it later to correctly identify what type of energy transformation was happening. As opposed to simply checking off the right answers and moving on, the graphic organizer helped create a structure to the lesson that allowed my students to do the heavy lifting.

  The Difference between Worksheets and Graphic Organizers
  Complex Tasks: The Difference between Worksheets and Graphic Organizers
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Using Rube Goldberg Contraptions to Introduce Forms of Energy

Unit 4: Energy
Lesson 3 of 10

Objective: SWBAT: Identify and define various forms of energy represented in Rube Goldberg Contraptions.

Big Idea: There are many opportunities to use Rube Goldberg Contraptions when teaching science topics. This lesson focuses on utilizing Rube Goldberg contraptions to model various forms of energy.

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