This unit engages students with the idea that whenever there is a change, there is at least one form of energy causing that change. Students investigate evidence of energy all around them—when they flip on a light switch, feel a car start to move, or hear a phone ring.
The relationship between energy and change becomes clearer when students understand that:
- energy is observed in different forms, such as sound, light, thermal energy (heat), and electrical energy;
- all of these forms of energy can cause changes, such as when a high-pitched sound breaks glass or when heat melts butter;
- one form of energy can transform (convert) into another; and
- all change, in fact, is evidence of a transfer of energy or a transformation.
Students also learn that engineers use their knowledge of energy as they develop solutions to problems and build things that are useful to people. As a series of culminating activities, students explore the principles and practices of engineering design, such as scientifically defining a problem to be solved and evaluating and optimizing possible solutions.
Number of Lessons: 14
Lesson Time: 30–45 minutes daily. Each lesson may be divided into shorter segments.
Please note that certain lessons in this unit are designed for multiple days, resulting in approximately 20 days of instruction. For more information, please refer to the recommended Pacing Guide within the Teacher Guide.
Additional Search Terms:
4-PS3 • evidence • model • variable • speed • motion • distance • collision • contact force • electricity • current • stability and change • cause and effect • energy and matter • convert • design • test • refine • ETS1 • nonfiction • informational text
CKSci Grade Levels: CKSci units are correlated to topics at the grade levels specified in the new, Next Generation Core Knowledge Science Sequence, which meets or exceeds the learning progressions outlined by the National Research Councils’s A Framework for K–12 Science Education and, by extension, the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). For more information about the Next Gen. Core Knowledge Sequence, please visit the following pages: