Powering Up! : Researching Energy Choices

Deborah Jung, Media Skills, Winding Springs Elementary School

Final Unit (PDF)     Implementing Common Core Standards (PDF)

200 Word Synopsis

This unit was written to support homeroom instruction on the subject of energy for upper-elementary students by building background knowledge through hands-on and research activities in the Library Media Center during the span of an academic year. Because the topic is so vast, it cycles over and over in the curriculum, appearing in almost every grade-level in one form or another. Specific topics included in this unit are: Magnetism, Types of energy, Generation of electricity, Fossil fuels, Energy transfer, Alternative energy, and the effects of the sun on the Hydrologic Cycle. Note-taking will be taught using the Cornell method using print, webpages, electronic texts, animations and video recordings that link science content to real-world problems. As part of these note-taking exercises hypertext markup language (HTML) conventions will be learned and non-fiction conventions will be reviewed. Two techniques for forming essential questions will be introduced, Question Formulation Technique (QFT) and See, Clarify, Assess and Name (SCAN). We will review the Scientific Method and apply The Big 6 Research Method. All these activities are designed to reinforce classroom instruction. The research project is a student-led inquiry into a sub-topic of choice, while the experiments are directly related to science standards.