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In the sixth grade, students begin to study the general characteristics of energy as well as the specific ways that light, sound and heat energy work.  They explore the Law of Conservation of Energy, which states that energy is never created or destroyed but instead, it changes forms.  They also study how vibrations work to transfer energy in sound waves, how conduction, convection and radiation transfer heat energy, and how absorption and scattering transfer light energy.


Below, you will find unit overview sheets, a common assessment that is given by all teachers, samples of student work, and materials for possible lessons to support this unit of instruction. 



County Unit Overview Sheet

County Overview - Energy Unit.pdf


This document was created by the county as an overview of the content to be covered in the Energy unit that can be shared with parents.  It presents essential content in parent friendly language, it includes a list of required vocabulary, and it highlights where the content that our kids are expected to master stands in the sequence of learning for students.  It can be useful as a guide for teachers -- both of sixth grade science and those who wish to integrate sixth grade science content into their curricula.  




I Can Statements

Handout - Energy I Can Statements


This document includes a list of the objectives that students will be expected to master in their study of energy.  It can be used as a checklist by teachers to guide their instruction and as a tracking sheet for parents and students to monitor progress towards mastery.  It was revised in the Fall of 2012.



Unit Vocabulary

Handout - Energy Unit Vocabulary 

Handout - Energy Unit Vocabulary Organization


The first handout includes definitions for all of the required vocabulary words found on our current unit overview sheet.  The second handout is a task that students can complete to practice with unit vocabulary words.  It provides a bank of scrambled words and asks students to organize those words logically -- and then explain their organizing strategy.  




Study Guides


Study Guide_Waves, Sound Light Benchmark.ppt

Study Guide_Waves, Sound & Light Benchmark.docx

Study Guide KEY_Waves, Sound & Light Benchmark Study Guide KEY.docx


Quiz_Heat Vocabulary Review Sheet.docx 


These review materials were put together by Michael Manholt.  They go along with the current versions of our common assessments and can be used by students and/or teachers while reviewing content covered in our unit of study.  




Optional Assessments


While our common assessments for this unit are all posted in Mastery Connect, these additional assessments can be used by teachers to do quick skills checks of students and/or to provide remediation to students who struggle with the core content for our energy unit.  It is not required to deliver these assessments and we will not look at any shared data from these assessments as a team.



Wave Parts Mini Quiz


Quiz - Parts of a Wave

Quiz - Parts of a Wave Answer Key

Quiz - Parts of a Wave Practice Test


During our study of energy, students are responsible for learning about the parts of transverse waves.  They must be able to identify basic parts like the crest and trough.  They must also know about how changing the wavelength affects frequency and pitch.  Finally, they must know the difference between transverse and longitudinal waves.  These assessments cover all of this basic content.  




Parts of an Ear Quiz

Quiz - Parts of Ear 

Handout - Parts of Ear Study Guide


During the course of this unit of study, students are responsible for learning about the structure and function of the human ear.  They must be able to identify basic parts including the pinna, auditory canal, and the ear drum. This 10-question quiz can be used to assess student understanding of the structure and function of the human ear.



Light Practice Test

Assessment - Light Objectives Practice

Assessment - Light Objectives Practice Modified


This assessment -- which contains 10 questions generated from the McDougal Little Test Generator Tool -- can be used as a pretest for sixth grade students studying the concepts of color, refraction, reflection, transmission and absorption.  Bill Ferriter uses it as a formative assessment to gather information about what skills and concepts his students are currently struggling with.





Vocabulary Notes



Waves Vocabulary.ppt

This powerpoint covers the basic types of waves, types of wave movement, parts of the wave and wave behavior. 

Waves Vocabulary.docx  

This is an outline that the students fill in that goes wiht the above powerpoint.

Waves Vocabulary KEY.doc 

This is a Key to the above powerpoint & outline.  Handy when presenting, for late / absent students, for students who need to finish up, or require copies of notes per an IEP or 504.

Waves Have Measurable Properties Cornell Notes.doc

This is note taking strategy that students can use for Unit C Chapter 1 Section 2, but can be used on any reading from the textbook.





Sound Vocabulary.ppt

This PowerPoint covers the basics of sound and parts of the ear.  You will need to alter the first few slides, as I had it set up to coincide with my African American History Month activity.


Sound Vocabulary.doc  

This is an outline that the students fill in that goes with the above PowerPoint.


Sound Vocabulary KEY.doc  

This is a Key to the above PowerPoint & outline.  Handy when presenting, for late / absent students, for students who need to finish up, or require copies of notes per an IEP or 504.






Light Vocabulary.ppt

This powerpoint covers the basics of light and the behavior of light waves.  

Light Vocabulary.doc

This is an outline that the students fill in that goes wiht the above powerpoint.

Light Vocabulary KEY.doc 

This is a Key to the above powerpoint & outline.  Handy when presenting, for late / absent students, for students who need to finish up, or require copies of notes per an IEP or 504.



Potential Lessons


Culminating Activity - Building Pizza Box Ovens

Handout - Building Pizza Box Ovens

Video Introduction - Pizza Box Ovens


One of the activities that Bill Ferriter uses as a culminating activity for the energy unit is having students build pizza box ovens in an attempt to cook S'mores.  The task is a perfect one to use as a culminating activity because students have to apply what they know about conduction, convection and radiation in order to build a successful oven.  They need to realize that insulating their pizza box can help them to maintain heat.  They also need to know that they have to capture light and convert it into heat in order to make cooking even possible.  All of those science concepts have to be applied in order to create a successful oven.  



Dancing Penny Lab



This simple activity serves as an interesting introduction to a study of convection and conduction---two key concepts students are required to explore during our study of heat.  It requires simple supplies---bottles, pennies, cooking oil---and is explained in further detail here



Viewing/Reading Guides


Law of Conservation of Energy

Handout - Law of Conservation of Energy Reading

Handout - Energy Conversions Connect Correct Collect


The first handout is drawn from the script of two different Discovery Education video clips -- one that introduces the seven main forms of energy and another that introduces the Law of Conservation of Energy.  This activity asks students to read the transcript and underline examples of the Law of Conservation of Energy in action.  The second portion of the handout asks kids to look for examples of energy conversions around them.  If you're interested in doing this activity, see Bill Ferriter -- he can point you to the right Discovery Education videos.


The second handout can be used as a review of the Law of Conservation of Energy.  It asks students to list information that they know about the topic already, collect facts from a short reading about the Law of Conservation of Energy, and then correct any misconceptions that they had at the beginning of the activity. 




Viewing Guide: Transfer of Energy

Viewing Guide - Transfer of Energy Video

Viewing Guide - Transfer of Energy Video 2


One of the key concepts in our unit is that energy can change forms and move between objects.  These viewing guides accompany the Energy in Action video (found in our school's library) on the transfer of energy.  They can be used to introduce the concept, review the concept, or with a set of sub plans. 



Brainpop Viewing Guides: Types of Energy

Viewing Guide - Forms of Energy

Viewing Guide - Potential Energy

Viewing Guide - Kinetic Energy

Viewing Guide - Sound

Viewing Guide - Refraction and Diffraction

Viewing Guide - Heat


There are several different Brainpop videos that cover energy concepts and that can be used to build student background knowledge and to provide a base for understanding new vocabulary words connected with this unit.  Each of these documents contains a separate viewing guide that can be used while students view these videos.  They can also become nice study guides or sets of notes for students to revisit. 



Waves Lessons


Waves Note Taking Guide

Handout - Transforming My Thinking Wave Parts


This handout can be used by students when learning about the parts of waves.  It is connected to the literacy work that our school is doing and is built around pages C 9-21 in our textbooks.  It can also be used for simple sub plans and/or for reviewing key content before tests.



Wave Parts Worksheets

Worksheets - Wave Parts


One of the basic expecations during this unit is that students will learn the different parts of a wave -- things like wavelength, frequency, amplitude, crest and trough.  This set of handouts from the supporting materials for our textbook can be used to introduce those wave parts to students.  It is designed to be a reading guide for section 1.2 of the textbook.  There are three different reading guides in this PDF -- including one in Spanish that can be used with bilingual students.  





Light Lessons


Nat Geo Brain Games Episode - In Living Color




In January of 2014, National Geographic aired an episode of Brain Games that explained how we perceive colors.  The first link posted connects to the episode on Amazon -- which can be purchased for $1.99.  Bill Ferriter already owns the episode, so if you want to show it to your students, see him -- he can get you logged in.  The second link connects to the episode's resource page which contains a bunch of interesting activities designed to introduce users to the ways that colors work.  



Light Station Directions

Light Station Directions

Light Station Scoring Rubric


This document contains sets of directions for three or four mini-labs that can be used by students to explore light.  Each of these mini-labs are included in the textbook, and each set of directions points students to the proper pages of the textbook to find more information and directions.  Student work in each station can be graded using this rubric.



Infrared Videos

James Webb Space Telescope: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KwvXcUe10OQ

Skinfrared: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3jr39mU8H8k


Both of these videos are useful for introducing students to Infrared light.  The first is the best.  It gives a TON of detail about what infrared light is, how it was discovered, and where it sits on the electromagnetic spectrum.  Then it introduces the role that infrared light plays in helping us to study the solar system.  What is perfect about this is that infrared light matters when studying the solar system because it doesn't scatter as easily as visible light.  Visible light from deep in space often doesn't make it to earth because it is scattered by clouds of dust and gas in space.  Infrared light, however, makes it through those clouds of dust and gas.  This connects well to what we study about light AND space.  It also connects well to a light mini-lab in our textbook where students observe scattering by putting milk into a jar with water and then try to send light from a flashlight through the jar.  


The second video is fun to watch.  It pairs still shots of individuals taken with a regular camera and with an infrared camera.  While it is not as instructive, it is a good hook for kids simply because the images are cool to watch.  



UV and Infrared Article Reading 

Article - UV Infrared in the Real World

Article - UV Infrared in the Real World Materials


In this activity -- developed by Kate Kotik -- students are asked to read articles about the use of UV and Infrared light in several real world scenarios.  Then, they are asked to write summaries about the role that UV and Infrared light play in each scenario.  The purpose is to help students realize that UV and Infrared light -- two types of light that are hard to see in action -- serve real purposes.



Light Materials

Notes - Parts of the Eye

Handout - Translucent Transparent and Opaque Outline


These handouts can be used when introducing students to the light concepts that we are studying.  The first handout is designed to introduce students to the parts of the eye. It includes a diagram and sections for brief notes to be added about the purpose and function of each part of the eye.  The second is an outlining activity that can be used to introduce students to important light vocabulary like translucent, transparent, opaque, scattering and absorption.  It is designed to be used with textbook pages C 93-95.



A World Diffracted

A World Diffracted.docx


This is a great enrichment, Spartan Time, or activity to use with your classes.  Get the diffraction glasses from the science closet.  And walk the kids around the school (inside and out) stopping to make observations as you go.  SAFETY NOTE...Have the kids take off the glasses before going up or down the steps.  Upon returning to the classroom, this is a great follow-up activity.  I recomend turning off the overhead lights and having other light sources turned on around the room (LED & Non-LED flashlights, Christmas Lights, Lamps).  




Sound Lessons


Viewing Guide:  Bill Nye Video on Sound

Handout - Bill Nye Sound Video


This handout can be used by students when watching the Bill Nye video on Sound (available in our library).  It incorporates several different literacy skills and can be used to support our school's ongoing literacy efforts.  This task could also make for a good set of sub plans if you are going to be out of school.   



Sound Measurement Activity



Sound, Data Questions to Consider.doc


Each year, Bill Ferriter has his students measure common routes around the building using meter sticks.  The primary purpose for this activity is to give students comparisons for the speed of sound (344 M/S).  Each route ends up being close to 344 M/S.  When students see exactly how far sound can travel in a second, they are generally pretty blown away.  A secondary purpose for this activity, though, is to teach students about data collection and analysis.  Kids are asked to record the measurements from each class period for every route in a table.  Then, they work through the Data Questions to Consider handout to learn more about trials and drawing conclusions from data. 



Sound and Density Notes

Handout - Sound and Density 


This note-taking guide created by Bill Ferriter asks kids to brainstorm everything that they already know about the role that density plays in the natural world and then to make predictions about the impact that density will have on the speed of sound through different mediums.  Finally, it asks students to check their answers using textbook pages C 42-43.



Parts of the Ear Outlining Activity 

Handout - Parts of Ear Outlining Activity


This simple note-taking guide can be used by students when studying the parts of the ear.  It asks them to create an outline using a word bank drawn from the text.  It is also useful as a tool for teaching students about outlining as a note-taking strategy.  




Heat Lessons


Radiation Demo - How Do Microwaves Work?




One of the best ways to introduce students to the role that radiation plays in moving energy is to talk about microwave ovens -- and one of the best ways to introduce students to microwave ovens is to microwave Ivory soap.  The first video linked above is from Steve Spangler -- and it shows you how to conduct the experiment.  The second video is from the Naked Scientist and it explains how microwaves work.  Bill will typically microwave three things:  A paper plate, water and Ivory Soap.  The plate won't get very hot at all.  The water and the Ivory will.  That can be used to start conversations about why paper doesn't really heat up in the microwave.  



Conduction and Convection Handouts

Handout - Convection

Handout - Conduction

Handout - Conduction and Convection Wordsplash


These documents contain simple review activities that can be used for conduction and convection---the process by which heat energy transfers through solids and liquids.  The first part of the activity asks students to fill out a fill-in-the-blank definition of both terms.  A word bank is provided.  The second part of the activity asks students to label a scientific illustration of conduction/convection.


The final activity is a literacy activity called a word splash. Students are asked to write a definition of convection and conduction BEFORE looking at a text using all of the words in a word bank.  Then, students are asked to check the definition that they wrote against a text to see how accurate their understanding of the terms is.  This can be used as an introduction to conduction and convection or as a study tool before the test.  


Convection Tutorial



This link connects to a tutorial that Bill created with his Livescribe pen to help students understand how convection works.  It is best played after introducing students to the convection boxes that we have in the science storage room. 



Heat and Density Review

Handout - Heat and Density Review


This simple handout can be used to help students review the connections between heat and density.  It is designed to review the content found on page B 52 in the textbook.



Heat Demonstrations (Conduction, Convection & Radiation)

Heat Transfer Demos.docx  















Heat Transfer Learning Walk

Out & About.docx


To help identify the methods of heat transfer in genreal, and around the school I give them these questions. Conduction - Are two things touching? Convection - Are hot things rising and cooler things falling? Radiation - Did it travel through space.  Then walked around the school looking for examples and stopping several times to record our observations.  At the last stop we share and Add, Update, Edit & Modify our lists as examples are shared.  




Heat Rap

Conduction, Convection & Radiation Rap Video.wmv


A video / song covering the three methods of heat transfer.  I make it into a class v. class competition.  A copy of the lyrics and the rubric I use to judge the classes follows.

Transfer of Heat Rap Lyrics.docx

Heat Rap Rubric.docx 


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