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Grades 3-5


Students are introduced to energy and the fact that some of our resources are limited. Through inquiry, hands-on activities and problem solving, students will increase their understanding of the wise use of coal and other non-renewable resources.
ITV Series
Science for You, ROCKS
Take A Look 1, ENERGY
Learning Objectives
Students will be able to:
Pre-Viewing Activities
Using the Fourth grade Utah State Science Core Topic: Utah Rocks and Minerals,discuss the value of rocks and minerals to Utah's economy. Describe careers and hobbies related to minerals and rocks. Relate how technology influences mining techniques. Evaluate the interaction of mining and the environment.

This concept is also covered in the Fifth grade science core in the section on conservation of natural resources. Students classify energy as renewable and non-renewable, and describe the role of technology in developing natural resources.

Teacher talk: "Class, can someone tell me the first thing they did when they got up this morning? Do you think it took energy? What do you think a good definition of energy would be? Let's list all of our ideas on the chalkboard and then decide what we want as our class definition."

Have different toys displayed in front of the class (jack-in -the-box, wind up toys, battery powered toy car etc.). Teacher talk: "I need some volunteers to come up and demonstrate how each toy works." Have students come up and then ask them general questions about energy. "How does the toy move? What kind of energy is it?"

This is a introduction and so students are encourage to come up with many ideas on their own. The correct answers will be reinforced in the main lesson.
Focus Viewing
To give students a specific responsibility while viewing the segments have them focus on some specific information that the video will provide them. For this first segment have them compare the definition that the class came up with for energy and how that relates to each toy they just played with. Teacher talk: "Students we are going to watch a short section of a video on energy. In it the teacher will give a new definition of energy than the one we have written as a class. When we pause the video I will ask you how the definition is different from the one we wrote."

Viewing Activities
1. START the video at the beginning of Take A Look I, "Energy". You will see a house and hear the Take A Look song playing. PLAY it through until Kate says "Anything that lights up, heats up, gets lifted up, speeds up, moves around, or grows has energy". PAUSE and write this definition on the board. Have students record this additional definition in their Science Journals.

2. RESUME playing the video and play until Kate finishes showing all the toys and how they relate to stored and moving energy. PAUSE when Kate says "Examples of energy are everywhere all you have to do is take a look." Pausing the video will give the teacher a chance to quiz the students and make sure that they understand the materials that they have just viewed and to set them up for the next section.

3. The next segment of the video is a short quiz for the students on three types of energy. When Jeff asks the questions PAUSE before the video gives each answer. This will give the students a chance to say the correct answers and involved active listening skills. Have the class respond together and then release the pause button to check their answers. Record the three types of energy in students journals.

4. For the next segment of the video each student will be recording in their science journals while they watch the video. Tell the students that they are going to watch a music video on energy. Every time they see energy at work to make a tally mark in their journal. RESUME video and watch the music video as the students make their tally marks.

5. PAUSE the video at the end of the song and instruct the students to add up their tally marks. While they are doing this visually rewind the video to the start of the song. Tell the students that they are going to view the music video again. This time try to list the different kinds of energy they see. PLAY through the song again. Get students responses as to number and kinds of energy they saw.

6. STOP the video at this point but do not rewind as you will come back to it after the next activity.

7. Place the copy of the Energy Source Flash cards on the overhead. Tell the students that some forms of energy are renewable and some and nonrenewable resources. As you place each one on the overhead have the students tell you if it is a renewable resource or nonrenewable resource. Record their answers on each picture as it is displayed on the overhead.

8. Play the game called Pass the Sack, from the book "Teach with Energy" from the National Energy Foundation. This game is found at the end of the lesson.

9. While the students are passing out the candy visually rewind the video to the spot where coal is being mined. After the game is played tell the students that we are going to do an experiment about a non-renewable resource that is found in Utah. Turn the volume off and PLAY the segment of the coal being mined. Sometimes it helps to turn off the sound so that the students are not distracted by the sound portion if it is not relevent to what you are talking about. Ask the student what kind of rock or mineral is being mined in the short segment. Some of the students may not have had a real experience with coal. Pass around small pieces of coal for students to view.

10. Place transparency of the map "Coal reserves in the United States" on the overhead. Discuss the key with the students. Pass out copies of the map to each student. Have them come up with their own colors for the key. Give them time to color their maps.

11. While the students are coloring their maps read them the picture book, IN COAL COUNTRY. This is a story told of being raised in a family of coal miners. It brings out the hard life of early coal miners and is a touching story. This story takes place in Ohio. Have students check their maps for coal deports in Ohio.

12. After their maps are colored ask them what states have the most coal? What states have the least? Where does Utah fit in the picture?

List the following facts about coal in their journals.

Coal is the most abundant energy source in the United States.

Two-thirds of the world's coal is located in the United States.

Coal is made from organic matter from about 300 million years ago.

86% of the coal is used to make electricity.

13. EXCHANGE Take a Look video with the Science for You, Rocks video. The segment that we are using is at the very end of the rocks section. Tell the students that we are going to do an experiment about coal mining. START the tape when you see the open mine blast.

14. When the narrator talks about diamonds we are going to pretend that we are mining coal not diamonds. STOP after he says "The neat thing about this experiment is that you can eat the results."
Post-Viewing Activities
1. First give each student a hard and a soft chocolate chip cookie on a napkin.

2. Tell the student that the cookies represents Utah's coal deposits. This is a change from the video that has the chocolate chips represent diamonds.

3. Instruct student to count how many visible chunks of coal are in their state (cookie).

4. Record data on the chalkboard. Have students also record their own in the journals.

5. Have each student predict how many coal deposits they think are in their cookie. Record predictions in journals.

6. Give each student a toothpick to mine their deposits. Have them just mine ONE cookie first. Make a pile of chocolate chips and one pile of the cookie crumbs.

7. Count coal deposits and record and compare with estimate.

8. Before they mine the last cookie give them instructions that this time they are going to try to do the least amount of damage to the land as possible. Instruct students to work carefully and offer a prize for the land that is the least damaged.

9. Ask which was more difficult to mine the first or second cookie? The hard of soft cookie? Who is going to fix the land after the mining of their cookie is done? What kinds of things could the land be used for after the mining is completed (housing developments, parks, golf...) Should there be laws about how much and what kind of mining can be done in the state of Utah?

NOTE TO TEACHER: This lesson should not give the impression that mining is bad and destroys the environment. We all depend on mining each day for the everyday items we use. Rather make sure the students understand that there are many non-renewable resources that we need to conserve and have laws to protect the environment.
Most mining companies do more than require to restore the environment when they finish using the area that they have mined.
Action Plan
Have the students take a walk around the school yard and list all the kinds of energy they see. Students may make posters advertising ways to save energy and display in the school halls. Students may be able to take a field trip to a coal mine in their area. Invite a guest speaker to come and tell the class about careers in the mining industry. Research projects on the mining industry could be assigned.

1. Have the students choose a letter of the alphabet and then find words related to energy beginning with that letter. Then label the word with the type of energy each word is.

2. List on a worksheet the headings: Light, Sound, Heat, Moving, Stored. Students list as many words as they can think of under each heading.


1. Use the chart from activity #1 under language arts and have students illustrate an example of energy to make a large energy bulletin board display.

2. Have the class create a mural illustrating the energy sources that we use each day. Start with first thing in the morning and end with going to bed at night.

3. Students create posters showing ways to conserve energy in their homes. Display posters in the hall.


1. Take students on a walk around the school and school grounds. See have many examples of energy they can record.

2. Make a solar cooker and have students cook marshmallows or hot dogs in them.

Master Teacher: Mary McMurtrey

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