Curriculum materials are cross-curricula and are designed to be flexible enough to incorporate into existing programs or use to build an energy-themed program.

Participating in the lessons and activities will assist students in achieving the following broad learning outcomes:

  • Students will demonstrate an understanding of energy, its various forms and how it is used.
  • Students will understand the energy cannot be destroyed but can change form.
  • Students will recognise the importance of the Sun as the energy source for most life on Earth and a powerful source of renewable energy.
  • Students will understand the difference between renewable and non-renewable energy sources.
  • Students will describe various sources of energy that are used to generate electricity.
  • Students will carry out investigations on heat energy - absorption, conduction and insulation.
  • Students will understand the importance of being energy smart and demonstrate an increased commitment to thinking about energy saving.

Science

  • Teachers to discuss the following questions with the class, encouraging student participation:
    • What is energy and how is it used?
    • What are the different types of energy?
    • Where does energy come from?
    • What types of energy are renewable? What types are non-renewable?
    • How do we use energy in our daily lives?
    • Why is it a good idea to use fossil fuels less and renewable energy more?
  • Students to research heat energy and display pictures and information about it around the classroom. This activity would be most relevant to year 3 students.
  • Students to research the ways that coal mining or drilling for oil or natural gas impact the environment and display pictures and information around the classroom. This activity would be most relevant to year 4 students.
  • Students to observe the effect of placing a jar over a burning candle and then 'pouring' carbon dioxide onto a candle flame (see activity sheet Carbon dioxide in action). Students to record their observations and make an inference. Teacher to discuss observation versus inference. Teacher instructions for using carbon dioxide to put out a candle:
    • Place a tealight candle on a plate and light the candle.
    • Put about a tablespoon of bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) in a glass jar or beaker.
    • Pour about 1/4 cup of vinegar into the container.
    • The vinegar and baking soda will react immediately filling the jar with carbon dioxide gas bubbles.
    • When the fizzing stops, hold a V-shaped 'funnel' at an angle so the bottom end is near the candle flame.
    • "Pour" the carbon dioxide gas in the container down the funnel taking care that no liquid is poured. Carbon dioxide pours because it is heavier than air.
    • The flame will go out in a second or two because it is smothered by the carbon dioxide, which stops oxygen getting to the flame.
    • Once students have written their observations and inference, teacher to lead a class discussion about the activity.
  • Students to carry out a practical investigation into heat conduction and insulation (see the activity sheet Heat on the move.) This activity must be supervised. Class discussion of the results could be encouraged. This activity also supports the Maths curriculum - a template for a column graph is provided.
  • Students to discuss and predict which colours reflect or absorb heat and then participate in the 'Black or white' experiment (instructions can be found with the student activity sheets). This activity must be supervised as safety around hot water is essential. Class discussion of the results could be encouraged. This activity also supports the Maths and English curriculum. The students could write a report of their experiment.
  • As a class, students brainstorm a list of appliances in their homes that are left switched on at the power point. Students to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of turning appliances off at the power point.
  • Students to investigate energy transformation (the process of changing energy from one form to another) for example a bar heater converts electricity to heat. Students to choose one appliance and draw a labelled diagram of the energy transformation involved.
  • Students to use the Energy investigation activity sheet to record questions and answers about energy. They can consider examples such as ''Does using the microwave to boil a cup of water take more or less energy than boiling a kettle?''
  • Students to participate in a game of 'Energy snap'. Print, laminate and cut out the snap cards (cards can be found with the student activity sheets) then match high energy use activities/products with low energy alternatives (e.g. an electric toothbrush with a manual toothbrush). There are also blank cards provided for students to add extra ideas.
  • Students to explore wind energy by designing and building a windmill from materials such as plastic cups, cardboard, paper, thumb tacks, blu-tac, paper fastener, drinking straws. Students use their windmills to help find the windiest part of the school playground.
  • A Students to complete the Why recycle? activity sheet to estimate then research how long it takes for various types of packaging to break down. This could be followed with a teacher-led class discussion about the importance of recycling. A discussion of the effectiveness of different ways of graphing the results could be used as extension for year 4 Maths. An example of an extension for year 4 English is defining the term 'biodegradable' and listing other words with 'bio' as a prefix.

Mathematics

  • Students to investigate their use of appliances by collecting data from home. Students count the number of appliances in each main room of the house and record their data in a table (available in Appliance survey activity sheet). Students bring their data to school and use a column or bar graph to represent their results.
  • Students to record temperatures in various locations: in the school room, in a sunny area of the school yard, in a shady area such as under a tree, in the school yard. Students construct a column graph showing their results.
  • As a homework task, students to analyse the graph/s provided on one or two electricity bills. Ideally a bill for summer would be compared with one for winter. Encourage students to look for patterns and consider reasons for energy use increases and variations. This activity would be more suited to year 4.
  • Students to complete the Energy detectives activity sheet to discover how far different products travel from manufacturer or grower to the shop. This activity involves reading the scale on a map of the world and would be more suited to year 4.

English

  • Students participate in collaborative discussions about energy use and energy saving, building on and connecting ideas and opinions expressed by others.
  • Students to write sentences with different meanings of the word 'energy'. Students to create a mind map with 'energy' as the title.
  • Students to add to a word wall titled 'Energy and Energy Saving'.
  • Students to prepare and perform a rap or rhyme about different uses of energy.
  • Students to research, write and present an information report about energy use. Students to discuss the differences between the language of opinion and feeling and the language of factual reporting and describe how headings and subheadings are used to order information. Topics to be chosen for relevance to year level. For Year 4 the information report could be an article for a school newsletter or local paper.
  • Students to produce a piece of promotional material (brochure, poster, magazine advertisement etc.) to 'sell' a form of renewable energy including its features and benefits. Diagrams or illustrations can be used to support the text. Before creating their own text, students could look at examples and describe how visual codes are used, for example those used to represent energy. They could discuss the differences between the language of opinion and the language of factual reporting. Students explore ways of expressing judgements including modal verbs and adverbs.
  • Students to create a board game based on energy saving, devising their own game rules, game cards and instructions. (A printable board game template with cards can be found with the student activity sheets.)
  • Students to use the terms 'conduct', 'absorb' 'reflect' and 'insulate' in relation to heat. Students to find dictionary meanings for each and record them in their science books. Students to add new terms and meanings as they discover them.
  • Students to discuss word origins (for example 'recycle', 'decompose', 'geothermal'), learning the meaning of word roots (eg geo = earth; therm = heat) and list related words they are familiar with, for example geothermal, thermometer, thermos, geography. Students build vocabulary from research about technical and subject specific topics.
  • Students to use the Energy poetry activity sheet to write two poems - one about a renewable form of energy; the other about a non-renewable form.
  • Students to use the 'Find the facts' solution sheet to discover the facts about some common energy myths. Students form small groups to discuss other myths they have heard. Each student comes up with one myth and writes a fact that counters the myth. This can be followed up with a class discussion.