Set of 11 investigations, engaging projects, and fun classroom activities for kinetic/potential energy, energy transformations, heat & thermal energy transfer (conduction/convection/radiation), insulators/conductors, and particle motion. Designed to SUPPLEMENT and add FUN to an existing unit. SAVE 30% when you bundle these 11 popular energy and heat activities!
Supports NGSS MS-PS3-2 MS-PS3-5 and MS-PS3-7.
Graph How Speed & Mass Affect Kinetic Energy: This activity has middle school students calculate (simple math, middle school appropriate) and GRAPH how the MASS and SPEED of different vehicles affects their kinetic energy (in two separate graphs). All data is based on realistic information about various types of cars, so this adds engagement for kids. INCLUDES KEY
Online Energy Activity: Explores the questions "How does SPEED affect energy?" and "How does MASS affect energy?" Students use a free and easy to access online program. They "play" with object size and velocity of objects in a catapult and then measure and record the resulting energy. It includes the manipulation of variables, the collection of data, and data analysis.
Energy Transformations Picture Cards Activity: Effective for true comprehension, this activity is designed to help middle school students recognize the energy transformations that occur in the world around us. Students are given 30 colored picture cards of things like hair dryers and solar powered cars and then complete a graphic organizer (1 page front + back) to record energy forms before and after. INCLUDES KEY
STEM Energy Transformation Toy Design PROJECT: Challenge students to create a toy based on ENERGY TRANSFORMATIONS using upcycled or recycled materials. Clear, simple instructions lead to GREAT projects with students of diverse abilities! Students can use whatever they have at home to design their toy, so it doubles as an upcycling project, as well. Past projects made out of simple upcycled supplies include a musical instrument made out of a toilet paper roll and elastics, a propeller boat made out if a water bottle, elastics and plastic spoons, and a helicopter toy made entirely out of free paint mixing sticks. This is a fun one, for sure!
3 Energy Review Games: 3 quick but fun energy review games, including "Taboo Review", Energy Chain, and an Energy "Cootie Catcher".
Fun Thermal Expansion Activity: Engaging and hands-on, but uses very UNcomplicated supplies! You need balloons, a ruler, and cold water - that's it! Use this quick activity to teach about thermal expansion and particle motion.
Model Convection Activity: This activity is very effective as either a student investigation or a teacher demonstration of a convection current. The supplies are simple - hot and cold tap water, large container, small beaker, rubber band, food coloring, and plastic wrap. The worksheet leads students (or the teacher performing the demonstration) step-by-step through a simple process, and then provides a section for observations and analysis questions. Year after year, this lab proves to be a "light bulb" moment when teaching middle school students about convection.
Insulator & Conductor Lab - Easy Supplies: This thermal energy transfer versus materials type lab results in wonderful graphs that clearly show how different materials act as insulators and conductors when they lose thermal energy at different rates. Also nicely shows that heat transfer occurs until equilibrium. In this lab, students put hot and cold water (separately) in Styrofoam cups, steel soup cans, and glass beakers. (Ask kids to bring in clean soup cans - then you have to eat less soup!) Students measure the temperature of the hot and cold water in the different containers over the course of one class period, and record their data. Because there is time between temperature readings, students are given a detailed drawing assignment (related to the experiment) to complete between readings. Then, students make 3 graphs - one for each container type - with a line for hot water and a line for cold water readings on each container type graph. (The graphs are provided so students only have to label the axis and plot their data.) There are also 5 analysis questions, including a Claims/Evidence/Reasoning section.
STEM Insulating Device PROJECT: Clear, simple instructions lead to GREAT projects! Middle school students shine with this NGSS assignment! This project is designed to fit in with a heat, thermal energy, and insulators and conductors unit - NGSS MS PS3-3. First, students design and construct a device that holds heat. (They can use any materials that they have access to, and therefore don't have to buy anything. Keeping the focus on upcycled, readily available materials helps keep ALL students involved, regardless of their ability to buy supplies at a store.) Second, they test their design by adding a small amount of hot water and measuring the temperature drop over 30 minutes. Includes (1) clear instructions (2) a paper to complete during the testing period, including data table, graph, and analysis and (3) a student-friendly rubric.
Clicking Coins Activity: So fun! This simple activity can be used as an easy take home laboratory and counted as a homework assignment, or modify it to be done in class using ice instead of a freezer. Students follow a simple procedure with a bottle (soda plastic, glass - they all work) and a coin, and then observe thermal expansion in action! They then fill in blanks explaining what happens in terms of particles.
Particle Motion Mini-Lab: This is a mini-lab activity that is designed to be completed and reviewed in one class period. The materials are very simple - thermometers, cups and food coloring. Students get the opportunity to practice measuring temperature as well as observing how water temperature affects the speed at which food colorings mix. Includes the following sections: materials, procedure, data table, and analysis (including claims/evidence/reasoning section). Analysis focuses on how particle motion is affected by temperature.
Need something different?
Search all of our NGSS-Aligned middle school materials in Our Store!
Always effective, easy to follow, and standards-based!