Energy

Students explore how energy is transferred and how it can be converted into different forms, and learn about renewable and nonrenewable energy while looking towards the world’s energy future.

Unit Summary

In this science-based unit, students explore the world of energy. In the first half of the unit students learn what energy is, the different ways that energy is transferred from place to place, and the ways energy can be converted from one type to another. In the second half of the unit students explore the pros and cons of different types of renewable and nonrenewable energy. After learning about the different types of energy, students will grapple with what the world’s energy future will look like if more renewable solutions aren’t found, particularly in their communities. Through a combination of reading and research, it is our hope that students begin to build a deeper understanding of energy and its influence on our lives.

This unit builds on to the informational reading skills and strategies developed in previous units. At this point in the year we assume that students are able to actively read and annotate informational texts in order to build understanding of a topic. Therefore, the focus of this unit is on refining students’ ability to use different strategies to comprehend denser scientific texts. In particular, students will continue working on determining the main idea, summarizing key details, explaining cause and effect, using text features to improve understanding, and explaining how an author uses text features to elaborate on key concepts and ideas. 

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Unit Launch

Online learning modules that include short videos and readings to help teachers prepare to teach a unit.

 

Texts and Materials

Core Materials

  • Book: Forms of Energy by Anna Claybourne (Raintree, 2016)   —  900L

Supporting Materials

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Assessment

These assessments accompany this unit to help gauge student understanding of key unit content and skills. Additional progress monitoring suggestions are included throughout the unit.

Unit Prep

Essential Questions

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  • What is energy? What are the different forms of energy? 
  • What are nonrenewable energy resources? What are the pros and cons of using nonrenewable energy? 
  • What are renewable energy sources? What are the pros and cons of using renewable energy? 

Writing Focus Areas

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Sentence-Level Focus Areas

  • Write complete sentences using a variety of constructions 

There are no new sentence focus areas in this unit. During this unit students will practice responding to daily Target Task questions using a variety of sentence constructions. ​​​​​

Paragraph-Level Focus Areas

  • Draft strong paragraphs that include a strong topic sentence, 3-4 supporting details and a concluding sentence 

There are no new paragraph focus areas in this unit. During this unit students practice all of the strategies they have learned in units one through three in order to draft cohesive paragraphs. We recommend using guidance from Paragraph-Level Feedback and Support to ensure all students are able to write strong paragraphs by the end of the unit.

Opinion Writing Focus Areas

  • State an opinion 
  • Group ideas together 
  • Provide reasons supported by facts
  • Link ideas with words and phrases

At the end of the unit students write an opinion piece. Students build on work done in previous units to craft an opinion that is supported by reasons and facts. Students also practice using transition words and phrases to link ideas.

Speaking and Listening Focus Areas

  • Build on partner's ideas. Students seek to genuinely understand what their peers are saying, and then build on. 
  • Paraphrase to make meaning. Students paraphrase what others are saying in order to keep track of the key ideas in a discussion. 
  • Question and clarify to build understanding. Students seek to clarify a particular point a student makes by asking follow up questions. 

In unit three, students began to move beyond their own reasoning and began to respond and interact with the reasoning of others. They learned how to listen to and learn from their peers, and began to refine and clarify their own thinking  based on others' ideas. In this unit students continue to refine and clarify their own thinking based on others' ideas. 

When building on to partner's ideas, students should seek to genuinely understand what their peers are saying and build on. Ideas should not be random, disconnected, or replace a previous idea. Rather, ideas should zoom in on a particular idea that was said, make a connection between a previous idea and a new idea, or challenge a particular part of an idea. Students should also begin to paraphrase what others are saying in order to keep track of the key ideas in a discussion. This involves listening carefully to a speaker, organizing the speaker's points, inferring which points are important, and then putting it all in one's own words. Finally, students work on seeking to clarify a particular points a student made by asking follow-up questions.

Guidance on teacher moves to support these discussion focuses can be found in our Guide to Academic Discourse (below).

Vocabulary

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Below are all of the unit vocabulary words. Prior to teaching the unit, we recommend teachers decide which words to prioritize. We also recommend that teachers decide which affixes to prioritize. See our teacher tool Prepping Unit Vocabulary (below) for more guidance on which words to pick as priority words.

Text-based

advantage battery calorie chemical energy charge conduct dam electricity energy fossil fuels global warming greenhouse effect heat radiation kinetic energy matter nonrenewable photosynthesis potential energy pollutants recommend solar energy thermal energy

Root/Affix

non-

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Vocabulary Package

Additional vocabulary tools that help reinforce and support student vocabulary development.

Lesson Map

1

  • Forms of Energy pp. 4 – 11

    RI.4.3

    RI.4.7

Describe what energy is and if all types of energy are the same.

2

  • Forms of Energy pp. 12 – 17

    RI.4.3

    RI.4.7

Describe heat energy and why it is important.

3

  • Forms of Energy pp. 26 – 29

    RI.4.3

    RI.4.7

Explain why the author starts by saying that “electricity is the most useful of all forms of energy” and how it works.

4Essential Task

  • Forms of Energy pp. 22 – 25 — chart on page 38

    RI.4.3

Describe chemical energy and two energy sources that use chemical energy.

5

  • Forms of Energy — 36-37, 30-33, 34-35

    RI.4.3

    RI.4.7

    SL.4.1

    SL.4.3

    SL.4.4

Describe how an additional form of energy works.

6

Discussion & Writing

  • Forms of Energy pp. 40 – 41

    RI.4.3

    W.4.2

    W.4.9

    SL.4.1

Explain how multiple different forms of energy work together to keep cities and towns running. 

7

2 days

Opinion Writing

  • Energy Sources pp. 3 – 9

    RI.4.3

    RI.4.8

    W.4.1

    W.4.1.a

    W.4.1.b

    W.4.1.c

    W.4.9

    SL.4.1

    SL.4.4

Explain the pros and cons surrounding the use of fossil fuels.

8

2 days

Opinion Writing

  • Energy Sources pp. 10 – 13

    RI.4.3

    RI.4.8

    W.4.1

    W.4.1.a

    W.4.1.b

    W.4.1.c

    W.4.9

    SL.4.1

    SL.4.4

Explain the pros and cons surrounding the use of hydroelectric dams.

9Essential Task

2 days

Opinion Writing

  • Energy Sources pp. 14 – 17

    RI.4.3

    RI.4.8

    W.4.1.a

    W.4.1.b

    W.4.1.c

    W.4.9

    SL.4.1

    SL.4.4

Explain the pros and cons surrounding the use of solar energy.

10

Opinion Writing

  • Energy Sources pp. 18 – 23

    RI.4.3

    RI.4.8

    W.4.1

    W.4.9

    SL.4.1

Explain the pros and cons surrounding the use of nuclear power.

11

2 days

  • Tidal Power

  • Wind Energy

  • Geothermal

  • Biofuel

    RI.4.2

    RI.4.3

    W.4.1

    W.4.8

    W.4.9

    SL.4.1

    SL.4.3

    SL.4.4

Create a presentation describing an additional energy source.

12

Discussion & Writing

  • All unit texts

    W.4.1

    W.4.9

    SL.4.1

Debate which energy sources are the best.

13

Assessment

14

3 days

Opinion Writing

    W.4.1

    W.4.1.a

    W.4.1.b

    W.4.1.c

    W.4.8

    W.4.9

    SL.4.4

Write an opinion piece to convince community leaders to use a particular source of energy. 

Common Core Standards

Energy
  • 4-PS3-1 — Use evidence to construct an explanation relating the speed of an object to the energy of that object. Assessment Boundary: Assessment does not include quantitative measures of changes in the speed of an object or on any precise or quantitative definition of energy.

  • 4-PS3-2 — Make observations to provide evidence that energy can be transferred from place to place by sound, light, heat, and electric currents. Assessment Boundary: Assessment does not include quantitative measurements of energy.

  • 4-PS3-3 — Ask questions and predict outcomes about the changes in energy that occur when objects collide. Clarification Statement: Emphasis is on the change in the energy due to the change in speed, not on the forces, as objects interact. Assessment Boundary: Assessment does not include quantitative measurements of energy.

  • 4-PS3-4 — Apply scientific ideas to design, test, and refine a device that converts energy from one form to another. Clarification Statement: Examples of devices could include electric circuits that convert electrical energy into motion energy of a vehicle, light, or sound; and, a passive solar heater that converts light into heat. Examples of constraints could include the materials, cost, or time to design the device. Assessment Boundary: Devices should be limited to those that convert motion energy to electric energy or use stored energy to cause motion or produce light or sound.

Reading Standards for Informational Text
  • RI.4.2 — Determine the main idea of a text and explain how it is supported by key details; summarize the text.

  • RI.4.3 — Explain events, procedures, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text, including what happened and why, based on specific information in the text.

  • RI.4.7 — Interpret information presented visually, orally, or quantitatively (e.g., in charts, graphs, diagrams, time lines, animations, or interactive elements on Web pages) and explain how the information contributes to an understanding of the text in which it appears.

  • RI.4.8 — Explain how an author uses reasons and evidence to support particular points in a text.

Speaking and Listening Standards
  • SL.4.1 — Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 4 topics and texts, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.

  • SL.4.3 — Identify the reasons and evidence a speaker provides to support particular points.

  • SL.4.4 — Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience in an organized manner, using appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details to support main ideas or themes; speak clearly at an understandable pace.

Waves and their Applications in Technologies for Information Transfer
  • 4-PS4-1 — Develop a model of waves to describe patterns in terms of amplitude and wavelength and that waves can cause objects to move. Clarification Statement: Examples of models could include diagrams, analogies, and physical models using wire to illustrate wavelength and amplitude of waves. Assessment Boundary: Assessment does not include interference effects, electromagnetic waves, non-periodic waves, or quantitative models of amplitude and wavelength.

Writing Standards
  • W.4.1 — Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information

  • W.4.1.a — Introduce a topic or text clearly, state an opinion, and create an organizational structure in which related ideas are grouped to support the writer's purpose.

  • W.4.1.b — Provide reasons that are supported by facts and details.

  • W.4.1.c — Link opinion and reasons using words and phrases (e.g., for instance, in order to, in addition).

  • W.4.2 — Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.

  • 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.

Sprial Standards

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L.4.1

L.4.1.c

L.4.2

L.4.4

L.4.4.b

L.4.6

RF.4.3

RF.4.4

RI.4.1

RI.4.10

RI.4.2

RI.4.4

RI.4.5

RI.4.6

RI.4.7

RI.4.9

SL.4.1

SL.4.3

SL.4.5

SL.4.6

SL.4.6

W.4.10

W.4.10

W.4.4

W.4.5

W.4.6

W.4.9