Energy Switch: A Project-Based "Energy" Unit (PBL)
Summary: Students work for a company that specializes in helping cities convert to non-fossil fuel energy sources for their electricity production. Students learn about energy and apply their knowledge to choose an new energy plan for their client-city. They then create an advertising campaign to convince residents to make the switch.
Time: 8 days
Objectives: (Texas 6th grade Science)
The student will be able to:
1) Compare and contrast potential and kinetic energy.
2) Demonstrate energy transformations such as energy in a flashlight battery changing from chemical energy to electrical energy and light energy
3) Research and debate the advantages and disadvantages of using coal, natural gas, oil, nuclear power, biomass, wind, hydroelectric power, geothermal, and solar resources.
4) Design a logical plan to manage energy resources in the home, school, or community.
Materials: (per lab group) 12 in/ 30 cm ruler, rubber band, meter stick or measuring tape, chalk or masking tape
- Reading about climate change, greenhouse gases, and energy production.
II. Potential and Kinetic Energy Lab
-Lab to compare kinetic and potential energy.
III. Types of Energy Notes
-Notes: What are mechanical, chemical, radiant, nuclear, thermal, and electrical energy?
IV. Energy Transformations Notes and Activity
-Rotation activity: Practice identifying energy transformation in common objects.
V. Sources of Energy Introduction
- Reading: What are fossil fuels? How are they converted to electrical energy?
VI. Converting to Electrical Energy WS
- Worksheet: What are other energy sources? How do wind, solar, etc convert their energy to electrical energy?
VII. Sources Pros and Cons Reading
- Reading: More in-depth look at the benefits and draw-backs of other sources of energy.
VIII. Reviewing Energy Source Worksheet
- Worksheet: Reading comprehension check.
IX. City Analysis Worksheet
X. City Data Sheet
-Students analyze the climate, geography, and energy needs of a city to determine other possible energy sources.
XI. Advertising Campaign Project
-Project: Students create advertisements to convince city voters to make the switch to a new energy source.
XII. Teacher Pages
- Keys, notes, and additional information