The student is expected to differentiate among forms of energy, including mechanical, sound, electrical, light, and heat/thermal.
The student knows that energy exists in many forms and can be observed in cycles, patterns, and systems.
Energy Tutorial: National Fuel Cell Research Center (website) - Detailed descriptions of different energy sources employed for electricity generation, transportation, heating, etc.
Introduction to Energy: The NEED Project (PDF) - Explains different energy sources and the usage levels for various energy sources in the United States.
Heat and Temperature: Zona Land Education (website) - Article that clarifies the difference between heat and temperature, with links to further background content.
Using Heat from the Sun: BioEd Online (website) – Students investigate the power of sunlight to heat water.
- Supporting Lessons
- Assessment Ideas
- Literature Connections
- Additional Resources
Thermal Insulators and Conductors: The Low Carbon Partnership (website) - Test the ability of various materials to conduct thermal energy from the sun, or insulate against it.
Insulation: The NEED Project (PDF) - Test the thermal insulation capacity of various materials.
Elaboration Lessons and Extensions
Testing Materials for Thermal Conductivity: Texas State Energy Conservation Office (PDF) – Students investigate the thermal conductivity of various materials. (The student sheet is designed for 6th grade but the activity itself is appropriate for a grade 3.)
Have students answer some or all of the following questions in their notebooks.
- What would life on Earth be like if there were no sun?
- In what ways does the sun help plants and animals to survive?
- Why do people usually swim in the summer and not the winter?
- Why do people need air conditioners? What is life like for those who do not have or use them?
How We Know What We Know about Our Changing Climate: Scientists and Kids Explore Global Warming, Cherry, L., Braasch, G., Sobel, D. (ISBN: 978-1584691303)
Mr. Slaptail’s Curious Contraption, Tharp, B., Dresden, J., Moreno, N. (ISBN: 9781888997347)
The Sun. Ring, Susan (ISBN-13: 978-0736820226)
Arrow to the Sun. McDermott, Gerald (ISBN-13: 978-0140502114)
Heat: Brain Pop Jr. (website) - Background information and free series of activities focusing on the concept of heat.
The Greenhouse Effect: University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (website) - Useful overview of Earth’s atmospheric “greenhouse effect.” Includes links to related classroom activities (bottom of page).