Click the photos below to learn how these teachers are using NGRID’s educational resources in their classrooms. If you would like to share your perspective on the NGRID program, we welcome your feedback!
Stephanie Doucette teaches 7th grade at Thurgood Marshall Middle School in Nahant, Massachusetts.
Last year I took a graduate course on energy at a local college. I was so inspired by the format of the class. There were several instructors representing the different sciences of physics, chemistry, environmental, and biology. They each presented energy to us and related it to their area of science. It was a revelation to me how vital energy is, and how it encompasses all areas of science. Since then I have been thinking about ways that I can teach energy through the three areas of science in my curriculum—chemistry, earth science, and biology without treating it as a separate entity. This website is my answer!
I teach general science, therefore my curriculum encompasses three areas; chemistry, earth science, and biology. I use an LCD projector on a daily basis and try to have my students use laptops as often as possible. Since I will be relating the study of energy to all areas of science, I plan on cherry picking the Energy Explorer website to find lessons that enhance my curriculum and use them accordingly. I am not surprised that I have found plenty of excellent and relevant material on the site that I can use throughout the whole school year.
As introductory lessons I plan to use Introduction to Energy Use and Energy Has Many Forms. I like the way Introduction to Energy Use helps students make the connection that energy is found everywhere. This will help them understand why it is so easy to discuss and relate energy to all areas of science and actually any other subjects they are learning that year or any other year. While presenting Introduction to Energy Use I plan on creating a larger class “Energy Use Chart” to keep up during the whole school year. I will make the chart dynamic, and will add and possibly change it during the school year. I love the follow-up activity, “A Day’s Energy Diary,” and would like to extend the diary to be completed weekly—possibly as an entrance activity.
The sections entitled Energy Has Many Forms and What is Energy? clearly present the different types of energy that we will be referring to during the school year. The worksheets associated with these sections are also something I plan on making larger and leaving up in the class as a reference to use throughout the year.
The Three States of Matter is a great demonstration I can use that presents the states of matter using a real-world, concrete example of a candle. I teach these states as a review for chemistry. When using this material, I think the visual of a candle burning will definitely capture the class’s attention. The accompanying worksheet is user-friendly and also has a great visual illustration that helps clarify the three states of matter in a candle. I will once again incorporate the “Energy Use Chart” and go down the list clarifying which energy source from column three is a solid, liquid, or gas.
There are lessons that discuss fossil fuel and geothermal energy like The Many Sources of Electricity, Why Do We Need Renewable Energy?, and Under Pressure Geothermal. I will use these when teaching earth science, since my standards include fossils and the layers of the Earth. I plan to use the suggestions and information on the worksheets to integrate writing in science, which is a goal my district is promoting.
The lessons Energy Moves, What Is Energy Efficiency?, and Energy—How Much Does It Take? will be a super enhancement to use when teaching biology since I teach cell energy and how one obtains energy from food. I have found it difficult to find material that relates to this portion of biology that is at a middle school level.
In addition to my regular classes, I teach an Advisory Group twice a week. The intention of this group is to get to know the students and advise them on good practices to use at home and at school. I plan on using the NGRID website to teach Energy Efficiency and Energy Safety to this group. I am hoping that together we will take on a school-wide Energy Efficiency and Safety campaign. I might even take the initiative on the road and visit local elementary schools to present the material to them as well.
I like the variety of the Energy Explorer site, and that there are online options as well as printable ones, such as the e-Books. I am pleased that in addition to what I can use it for during class together, there is a wealth of activities for the students to complete independently, either at home or at school. As an added bonus, I think the materials will increase students’ computer use and therefore their computer skills. Furthermore I think this website will spark an interest in conserving energy among my students.