In this unit, we will be studying energy – the ability to do work. Energy can exist in many forms such as light, sound, heat, and electricity. We will be exploring these different forms of energy and learning more about them.
Over the course of this unit, we will also be completing an energy group project. This will allow you and your group members to become an experts on one of the forms of energy that we study and share your knowledge of it with the class. As we go through this unit, some class periods will be designated as project work days, allowing most of your work on your project to be completed with your group in class. Complete project requirements and group evaluation forms can be found in the Resources and Documentation section of for this unit.
Lesson 1: What is Energy? In lesson 1, we will introduce the unit by discussing energy – the ability to do work. We will also be exploring the two major types of energy. Potential energy is stored energy, or energy that an object has because of its position relative to other objects. Kinetic Energy is energy that is doing work, or energy in motion. Energy can take a variety of forms such as sound, light, heat, motion, magnetism, or electricity. Even though the Law of Conservation of Matter and Energy tells us that new energy cannot be created and existing energy cannot be destroyed; the energy that is present in our universe is constantly being used, changing forms, and moving around Earth and throughout the universe. Download PDF Notes
Lesson 2: Sound Energy In lesson 2, we will explore the sound energy – the movement of energy through vibrations in the form of waves. Because they travel by vibrations, sound waves must have a medium to travel through. This medium can be a solid, liquid, or gas; however, sound cannot travel through a vacuum where no molecules are present to vibrate. As we study sound, we will look at the different characteristics of a sound wave such as wavelength, frequency, and amplitude. By changing these characteristics as we listen to a variety of sounds, we will also be able to observe how each of these characteristics can affect how our ears hear a sound’s pitch and volume. Download PDF Notes
Lesson 3: Light Energy In lesson 3, we will be discussing light energy. Light energy is a form of energy that we can see. Light is made up of waves of electromagnetic energy. Visible light makes up a small portion of the electromagnetic spectrum, which also includes radio waves, infrared waves, ultraviolet waves, x-rays, and gamma rays. Light travels in a straight line at the incredible speed of 186,000 miles per second. We will be also observing what happens to light waves when they strike another object or material. Depending on the properties of material, light waves can be reflected, refracted, or absorbed. Reflection occurs when light strikes an object and bounces back. Refraction is the bending of light waves as they pass through a material, as in the case of a rainbow formed by sunlight passing through water droplets in the atmosphere. Absorption occurs when light strikes an object and can no longer be seen. Download PDF Notes
Lesson 4: Heat Energy In lesson 4, we will be exploring heat energy. Heat is the transfer of thermal energy through vibrations between molecules. As the temperature of an object of substance increases, its molecules will begin to vibrate more quickly. In this lesson, we will also observe and compare the three methods by which heat can transfer. It is important to remember that heat will always transfer from a warmer object to a cooler object. Conduction occurs as heat transfers between two objects that are touching. Radiation describes the transfer of heat through space by electromagnetic radiation. Convection, the final method of heat transfer, involves the transfer of thermal energy through a current of liquid or gas. Download PDF Notes
Lesson 5: Electrical and Magnetic Energy Lesson 5 looks at two forms of energy: electricity and magnetism. Electricity is the flow of subatomic particles called electrons. As these electrons flow between atoms, they create electrical current. Electrons can also build up on certain materials creating a form of electricity known as static electricity. Materials called conductors and insulators affect how well electricity can flow. A material that is a good conductor allows electricity to flow easily through it. Insulators, on the other hand, prevent the flow of electricity. Magnetism is a form of energy found in magnets that can attract or repel certain materials. Magnets have a magnetic field, attract ferromagnetic materials such as iron and nickel, and attract or repel other magnets. Magnetic energy can be used to create both pushing and pulling forces. Download PDF Notes
Lesson 6: Mechanical Energy In lesson 6, we will be discussing mechanical energy, or energy of motion. An object can have mechanical energy because of its motion or its position. Motion can often occur as a result of other forms of energy. For example, electricity may be used to power a motor creating motion. Even though many people associate mechanical energy with motors and machines, this form of energy is also present all around us. Our bodies use mechanical energy to move by converting the stored chemical energy that we get from food. During this lesson, we will also be observing several examples of mechanical energy, as well as other methods for creating motion. Download PDF Notes
Lesson 7: Changing Forms of Energy The Law of Conservation of Matter and Energy teaches us that the amount of energy in the universe remains constant; energy cannot be created or destroyed. Even though new energy cannot be created, energy can change from one form to another. Lesson 7 explores how different types of energy can be used by changing its form. Virtually any form of energy has the ability to be converted into nearly any other type of energy. For example, when a light bulb is turned on, electrical energy flows into the bulb and is converted into light energy. In this lesson, we will examine a variety of methods by which energy can change forms. We will also discuss examples of how we use these changing forms of energy in our daily lives. Download PDF Notes
Lesson 8: Energy as a Resource In lesson 8 we will look at the importance of energy as a resource in our lives and to society. We will look at examples of non-renewable energy resources such as coal, oil, and other fossil fuels. While non-renewable resources can often provide relatively inexpensive sources of energy; their supply is limited, and in many cases, their uses can have other negative effects on our planet. We will also examine a variety of renewable energy resources including solar, wind, and hydroelectric energy. These renewable resources can often provide cleaner and more abundant sources of energy. We will compare these two groups of resources and explore advantages and disadvantages of each. Download PDF Notes
Resources and Other Documentation
Group Presentation: Forms of Energy For this project the class will be divided into six groups. Each group will prepare a presentation about one of six forms of energy – electrical energy, heat energy, light energy, sound energy, chemical energy, or mechanical energy. Each group will present important information about their form of energy, as well as a concept demonstration related to their topic. Each group member will be responsible for researching their topic, preparing presentation materials, and presenting their form of energy to the class. We will have several designated project work days during our science block as we go through this unit to allow class me to get the majority of the work for the projects completed.
Group Presentation: Presentation Evaluation Form While portions of group presentation grades will be based on my assessment of each group’s presentation and students’ individual work on the projects, a part of the grade will come from classmates’ evaluations. Each student will complete an evaluation form for each presentation except for their own group’s. Students will evaluate their classmates’ presentations based on the quality of information presented, visual aides and demonstrations, presentation skills, and group balance. The evaluation should also include something learned from the presentation and one question that you still have about the topic. When evaluating others’ work, it is important to remember to be fair and objective in your scores and assessments.
Group Presentation: Peer Evaluation Form An important part of any group project is the ability of each group member to be able to work together, share responsibilities, and contribute to the success of the group’s efforts. At the conclusion of the group project, each student will complete a peer evaluation form to assess each group member’s contributions. Each group member will be scored based on their research, attitude, reliability, teamwork, and overall contribution to the group. It is also important to consider specific contributions and areas for improvement for each group member. In addition to evaluating their group members, students will also assess their own group work. Remember that it important to remain objective when evaluating your group members’ work on your project.
Unit 4 Guided Notes The guided notes for each unit provide students with a printable copy of notes summarizing the content from each class. Blanks are inserted into the notes where key facts or content should appear. As information is covered during class, students should write missing content into the blanks to complete the guided notes. These guided notes may also be used as a review tool for unit tests. Students may print a copy of the guided notes and fill in the missing content. This can be checked using the complete PDF notes for each lesson.