Are you in the midst of planning your forms of energy unit? There is so much content and material to fit in this unit, it can feel like your lessons are bursting at the seams! Luckily, I have some ideas for engaging students in your forms of energy unit without feeling overwhelmed by the amount of content and spiral review.
Here are a few activities I recommend –
#1 Board Games
If you’ve read my blogs before, you might know how much I love using board games in the classroom! Not only do board games simplify classroom review (yep, they can be simple!), but they also make it easy to fit in lots of content.
The idea of creating your own board game can be daunting, but it’s not as complex as it sounds. Plus, I’ve done some of the work for you. My Forms of Energy Board Games make reviewing the types of energy a breeze with printable boards.
In this resource, you’ll find the energy board game, a directions page for students, a page of teacher tips, question cards and an answer key, and a recording sheet for students. You’ll need some type of dice or spinner (can be digital) and game pieces (mini erasers and manipulates work great).
This board game can be used as partner review, morning work, group work, or early finisher activity. You can even send the game board home to engage students’ families in their review!
#2 Exit Slips
Exit slips, also known as exit tickets, are a classic teacher tool to check for understanding. Exit slips can be engaging and low-pressure, but they still give you a great idea of whether or not students are grasping the concept. When it comes to your forms of energy unit, you may ask questions like:
- How does light travel?
- What is the difference between reflection, refraction, and absorption?
- How does the pitch relate to the speed of vibration?
- What is static electricity?
- Give two examples of how electrical energy can be used.
Make it simple by writing or projecting the question onto the board and give students a sticky note to jot down their answers. Get access to exit slips for your entire forms of energy unit inside the Forms of Energy Activity Bundle.
#3 Vocab Activities
As with all science topics, vocabulary plays a huge role in students’ understanding of the forms of energy. There are so many new words for students to learn, and it can be a real challenge for students to master new vocabulary.
A fun way to keep students engaged in vocabulary (without the overwhelm) is to play games. This Forms of Energy Vocabulary Resource has a word search, maze, crossword puzzle, and word wall cards to keep vocabulary fun and light. It covers 24 vocabulary words specific to this unit.
#4 Informational Text
Part of retention is presenting information to students in new ways and requiring that they take ownership of their learning. What better way to do that than with informational texts?
Students can pre-learn the forms of energy before a lesson or reinforce what they have learned with Forms of Energy Informational Texts. When students engage in these texts, I have them use close reading practices so they actively consume the information and process it.
For example, a key part of close reading is annotating or marking up the text. I ask students to find key information about the types of energy, and also note anything they don’t understand.
The Forms of Energy Informational Texts cover nine different topics, including light energy, sound energy, heat energy, and more. Each topic includes an informational text, ten comprehension questions, graphic organizers, and answer keys.
#5 Sound Energy Experiment
If your class is anything like mine, their ears really perk up at any mention of an experiment! Students love the opportunity to be hands-on, and this is a fun one for them to explore the concept of sound energy.
All you’ll need to complete this experiment is two popsicle sticks, a drinking straw, some rubber bands, and scissors. Using these materials, you will guide students as they create a sort of DIY harmonica by wrapping the rubber bands around the popsicle sticks.
As you move the rubber bands along the popsicle stick in different places, the sound changes. The sound also changes based on how hard the person blows into the instrument. This experiment is simple and engaging, and will help students reinforce the key concepts and vocabulary of sound energy.
#6 Forms of Energy Activities
Any time I get the chance to give my students hands-on practice, I take it! If you’re the same way, you’ll enjoy this Forms of Energy Activity Bundle. This resource is filled with foldables, sorts, investigations, graphic organizers, real-life applications, and explorations to help students master the forms of energy unit.
You’ll get foldables to track key concepts for each type of energy, then lead students into a hands-on investigation or experiment. You can engage them with the vocabulary matching activities and assess them with the exit tickets. This Forms of Energy Activity Bundle has everything you need for a well-rounded forms of energy unit.
All of these activities are designed to make your forms of energy unit fun and engaging for your students! Forms of energy is such a huge concept, and really sets the scene for much of the science learning your students will be doing in the future. If you’re looking for even more ways to keep your energy lessons engaging, check out four ways to keep your energy unit engaging and relatable.