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TEKS Objective

The student is expected to differentiate among forms of energy, including mechanical, sound, electrical, light, and heat/thermal.

Essential Understanding

The student knows that energy exists in many forms and can be observed in cycles, patterns, and systems.

Science Background

Electromagnetic Spectrum: NASA (website) - Introduction to the electromagnetic spectrum: radio waves, microwaves, infrared, visible light, ultraviolet, x-rays and gamma rays.

Electromagnetic Spectrum

Introduction to Energy: The NEED Project (PDF) - Explains different energy sources and the usage levels for various energy sources in the United States.

Introduction to Energy
The NEED Project,

Signature Lesson

Rainbow in the Room: BioEd Online (website) - Engage your students in the study of light by creating a circular rainbow for them to observe.

Rainbow in the Room
BioEd Online,

Characteristics of Light, Light Travels in a Straight Line: MnSTEP (website) - Students discover that light travels in a straight line using a flashlight and three cards, with a hole punched in each one.

Characteristics of Light, Light Travels in a Straight Line

Supporting Lessons

Splitting Light: CSIRO (website) - Students use a water-filled glass and sunlight to separate white light into its component “rainbow” colors.

Splitting Light
The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation,

Stations of Light: TeachEngineering (website) - Student groups rotate through four stations to examine light energy behavior: refraction, magnification, prisms and polarization.

Stations of Light

Elaboration Lessons and Extensions

Understanding Light: NASA (website) - Online guide and lessons on the colors of light, absorption and reflection of light, and the electromagnetic spectrum.

Understanding Light

Edison and the Light Bulb: Science NetLinks (website) - This lesson introduces students to the world of technology and inventions, helping them to understand the enormous impact of scientists and inventors in society.

Edison and the Light Bulb
Science NetLinks,

Making Light of Science: Science NetLinks (website) - Introduction to the electromagnetic spectrum, with a focus on visible light. Students learn that all light travels as waves, and that wavelength defines the regions of the electromagnetic spectrum.

Making Light of Science
Science NetLinks,

Assessment Ideas

Ask students to provide examples from real life of where and how light energy is used, and generate a class list.

Literature Connections

Edward Hopper: Painter of Light and Shadow, Rubin, S. (ISBN: 978-0810993471)

Animal Colors: A Rainbow of Colors from Animals Around the World, Fielding, B. (ISBN: 978-0979745546)

Day Light, Night Light: Where Light Comes From. Branley, Franklyn (ISBN-13: 978-0064451710)

The Rainbow and You. Krupp, Edwin (ISBN-13: 978-0688156015)

Related Science TEKS

(4.4A) Tools for Collecting and Analyzing Information
The student is expected to collect, record, and analyze information using tools, including calculators, microscopes, cameras, computers, hand lenses, metric rulers, Celsius thermometers, mirrors, spring scales, pan balances, triple beam balances, graduated cylinders, beakers, hot plates, meter sticks, compasses, magnets, collecting nets, and notebooks; timing devices, including clocks and stopwatches; and materials to support observation of habitats of organisms such as terrariums and aquariums.

(4.8B) Water Cycle
The student is expected to  describe and illustrate the continuous movement of water above and on the surface of Earth through the water cycle and explain the role of the Sun as a major source of energy in this process.

(4.10A) Adaptations
The students is expected to explore how adaptations enable organisms to survive in their environment such as comparing birds' beaks and leaves on plants.

Related Math TEKS

4.14D  The student is expected to use tools such as real objects, manipulatives, and technology to solve problems.

4.16B   The student is expected to justify why an answer is reasonable and explain the solution process.

Additional Resources

The Science of Light: Annenberg Learner (website) - Interactive website with simple activities and ideas that teach students about the characteristics of light energy, and how light is studied and perceived.

The Science of Light
Annenberg Learner,

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