Energy lessons for middle schoolers
Consider your lesson plan, planned. Four standards-aligned teaching units take your middle schoolers through renewable energy, energy efficiency, home conservation and safety. They’re are inquiry-driven, hands-on, and designed to span multiple class periods.
1. Input vs. output
Using the Law of Conservation of Energy as a centerpiece, this unit explores the transference of energy between objects and the transformation of energy into different forms – potential and kinetic. Two experiments reinforce the Law of Conservation of Energy. The unit culminates with a deeper exploration of electric current and watts as a measure of power in order for students to assess how they might save energy.
2. Homing in on energy efficiency
Students evaluate the ways they utilize energy – particularly electric energy. They learn how rechargeable batteries charge and discharge energy. A fun activity illustrates the concept of charging and discharging energy. After assessing energy use and learning about power generation, students create a template to “audit” their energy use at home and determine how they can be more energy efficient.
3. Renewable energy challenge
This unit culminates in students participating in an engineering design challenge, building apparatuses powered by a renewable energy source. First, though, students learn about renewable energy through an interactive quiz and guided research. A smaller open-ended challenge lets students experiment with the transfer of energy. Each of the activities helps prepare students for engineering their final designs.
4. Proceed with caution
Students explore the science behind the dangers of electricity and natural gas and the actions they can take to avoid and minimize risk. An interactive quiz builds a foundation of safety understanding. Students learn how electricity moves in currents and about the risk of electric shock, as well how to recognize and respond to a natural gas leak. The lesson ends with students creating energy safety campaigns for younger children.
About the teaching units
These standards-aligned teaching units will help you and your students explore energy in inquiry-driven, hands-on ways.
Each unit is a downloadable PowerPoint (.pptx) presentation for you to use on your interactive whiteboard/display screen. Each unit consists of multiple activities and covers multiple class periods.
The slides have been designed to engage students in PowerPoint display mode. They have built-in animations, links to multimedia content, and key concepts and images that help drive learning.
Notes at the bottom of each slide provide implementation steps, recommended time parameters for covering content, assessment tips, and potential modifications. They also provide rationale for the instructional design and flow of the learning process.