Mon Mar 10, 2014 8:27 PM

Hello everyone,

I am a current clinical student in 8th grade. I have to teach a science lesson in about 2 weeks about energy. I do not know how to approach the topic in a fun way. My idea is to have students create roller coaster and use marbles to explore kinetic and potential energy as well as gravitational. Is this plausible? What are some other fun, inquiry based possible way to teach this lesson? Thank you in advance for your help.

Devleta Memic
Devleta Memic
3510 Activity Points

Sat Apr 19, 2014 1:02 PM

I definitely think that is plausible and that sounds like it will be very engaging. Go for it! Have fun!

Caroline Dillon
Caroline Dillon
315 Activity Points

Sat Apr 19, 2014 1:02 PM

I definitely think that is plausible and that sounds like it will be very engaging. Go for it! Have fun!

Caroline Dillon
Caroline Dillon
315 Activity Points

Wed Apr 23, 2014 2:12 PM

You might want to look over some of the activities in the phet simulation energy skate park

http://phet.colorado.edu/en/simulation/energy-skate-park

Arlene Jurewicz-Leighton
Arlene Jurewicz Leighton
41765 Activity Points

Tue Apr 29, 2014 8:01 PM

It went great! The students had a lot of fun and they learned the concepts I taught.

Arlene, I actually used the website and it helped students wrap their heads around what what happening with the roller coasters. Thank you!

Devleta Memic
Devleta Memic
3510 Activity Points

Fri May 02, 2014 4:54 PM

Wonderful , So glad it worked for you !

Arlene Jurewicz-Leighton
Arlene Jurewicz Leighton
41765 Activity Points

Sat Sep 27, 2014 9:58 PM

I am a student teacher and I am teaching a lesson on energy as well. I have 3rd grade and of course my supervisor is going to observe me. I am also trying to come up with an engaging lesson/activity that I can use. I have seen so many, but I am afraid to do them, since I am new and there are SO many places for things to go wrong. I have seen the roller coaster, but am wondering if that can be done with 3rd... any suggestions would be great! THANKS!

Destiny Huggins
Destiny Huggins
9880 Activity Points

Mon Sep 29, 2014 7:03 PM

Roller coasters are, of course, fun. But why would you be doing them, for fun or is there a valid science concept they are addressing? Will they get so caught up in the project they forget the science concept?

Before I plan a lesson, I look at the standards I am going to address and try to think of what kinds of things would help me show this - I brainstorm as many as possible. Then I go back to the original standard and think, what would be the simplest way to show this so we can focus specifically on the concept that students will need to understand. The lesson might be as simple as dropping a ball and measuring how high it bounces (kinetic to potential energy and energy that is transferred elsewhere). It might involve making a simple pendulum with a gummy lifesaver and a string and counting the swings until it dies down or how high each swing goes after the first one (same lesson). And you might be able to teach the same lesson as the roller coaster with a ruler (with a groove in the center) or a v- or m-shaped piece of card-stock, a marble, a couple of books for a ramp, and paper cup to catch the marble at the end of the ramp so it doesn't take off across the room. The roller coaster is not extremely hard to do with a group with good coordination but does take a bit of time and might not leave you any time to discuss why they made it and what it is you wanted them to learn. And believe me when I say, there will always be one group that doesn't get it OR that gets carried away and slows down the class and the lesson...

One thing I have noticed over and over again is that the simple things are easier for students to remember how to do and what they were for. And sadly, most come to school never having done any of these things at home (never playing with marbles, never playing with magnets, never balancing things on their fingers, etc.). They can always build on what they learn from doing a simple lab now by making a roller coaster later, if that is a natural part of your lesson.

Tina Harris
Tina Harris
65560 Activity Points

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