Powering Our Future: 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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Texts and Materials

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Core Materials

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

Supporting Materials

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? 

Vocabulary

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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-

To see all the vocabulary for this course, view our 4th Grade Vocabulary Glossary.

Lesson Map

2

  • Forms of Energy pp. 12 – 17

    RI.4.3

    RI.4.7

Describe heat energy and why it is important.

12

Discussion & Writing

  • All unit texts

    W.4.1

    W.4.9

    SL.4.1

Debate which energy sources are the best.

13

Assessment

Common Core Standards

Core Standards

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4-PS3-1

4-PS3-2

4-PS3-3

4-PS3-4

4-PS4-1

RI.4.2

RI.4.3

RI.4.7

RI.4.8

SL.4.1

SL.4.3

SL.4.4

W.4.1

W.4.1.a

W.4.1.b

W.4.1.c

W.4.2

W.4.8

W.4.9

Spiral 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.4.4

RI.4.5

RI.4.6

RI.4.9

SL.4.5

SL.4.6

SL.4.6

W.4.10

W.4.10

W.4.4

W.4.5

W.4.6