NGSS Grade 4: Earth and Human Activity
4-ESS3-1 Obtain and combine information that energy and fuels are derived from natural resources and their uses affect the environment.
The assessment begins with a whole class activity to activate prior knowledge. Students match information about energy sources, then classify those resources by attributes.
In the second activity students create a concept map of how the use of energy and fuels such as coal mining affects the air, land, and water. Using the cookies as a model for what happens to the environment when strip mining is used, they remove chocolate chips with toothpicks and observe what happens to the environment. Based on their initial mining operation, they devise a plan to make more money while minimizing destruction to the environment when mining chips. Students repeat mining the chips and fines are assessed for breaking the cookie which simulates damage to the environment.
The third activity students explore what happens to an environment when a dam is constructed on a river. Various designs for dams are discussed and students observe a demonstration illustrating greater water pressure on the bottom of a dam. Then students are given the activity sheets with the “Design a Dam Challenge” and they use the engineering process to design and construct model dams.
As their final assessment, students conduct research to prove they can obtain and combine information that energy and fuels come from natural resources and that their uses affect both themselves and the environment.
The three dimensions addressed are (1) the scientific practices of Obtaining, evaluating, and Communicating Information, (2) the disciplinary core ideas of Natural Resources, (3) the crosscutting concepts of Cause and Effect and Influence of Science, Engineering and Technology on Society and the Natural World.
Common Core Sate Standards in Writing are naturally used within these lessons. W.4.7 Conduct short research projects that build knowledge through investigation of different aspects of a topic. W.4.8 Recall relevant information from experiences or gather relevant information from print and digital sources: take notes and categorize information, and provide a list of sources. W.4.9 Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
Included in this packet:
Student recording pages, teacher background, rubrics for scoring activities, Science Notes for Energy and Fuels reading pages, teaching tips ,and a Note- Taking Journal for Energy Resources Research, with suggestions for presentations of their findings at an Energy Fair.