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  • Middle School

    Energy

Students who demonstrate understanding can:

Performance Expectations

  1. Construct and interpret graphical displays of data to describe the relationships of kinetic energy to the mass of an object and to the speed of an object. MS-PS3-1

    Clarification Statement and Assessment Boundary
  2. Develop a model to describe that when the arrangement of objects interacting at a distance changes, different amounts of potential energy are stored in the system. MS-PS3-2

    Clarification Statement and Assessment Boundary
  3. Apply scientific principles to design, construct, and test a device that either minimizes or maximizes thermal energy transfer. MS-PS3-3

    Clarification Statement and Assessment Boundary
  4. Plan an investigation to determine the relationships among the energy transferred, the type of matter, the mass, and the change in the average kinetic energy of the particles as measured by the temperature of the sample. MS-PS3-4

    Clarification Statement and Assessment Boundary
  5. Construct, use, and present arguments to support the claim that when the kinetic energy of an object changes, energy is transferred to or from the object. MS-PS3-5

    Clarification Statement and Assessment Boundary

A Peformance Expectation (PE) is what a student should be able to do to show mastery of a concept. Some PEs include a Clarification Statement and/or an Assessment Boundary. These can be found by clicking the PE for "More Info." By hovering over a PE, its corresponding pieces from the Science and Engineering Practices, Disciplinary Core Ideas, and Crosscutting Concepts will be highlighted.

Science and Engineering Practices

Developing and Using Models

Modeling in 6–8 builds on K–5 experiences and progresses to developing, using, and revising models to describe, test, and predict more abstract phenomena and design systems.

Planning and Carrying Out Investigations

Planning and carrying out investigations to answer questions or test solutions to problems in 6–8 builds on K–5 experiences and progresses to include investigations that use multiple variables and provide evidence to support explanations or design solutions.

Analyzing and Interpreting Data

Analyzing data in 6–8 builds on K–5 experiences and progresses to extending quantitative analysis to investigations, distinguishing between correlation and causation, and basic statistical techniques of data and error analysis.

Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions

Constructing explanations and designing solutions in 6–8 builds on K–5 experiences and progresses to include constructing explanations and designing solutions supported by multiple sources of evidence consistent with scientific ideas, principles, and theories.

Engaging in Argument from Evidence

Engaging in argument from evidence in 6–8 builds on K–5 experiences and progresses to constructing a convincing argument that supports or refutes claims for either explanations or solutions about the natural and designed world(s).

Disciplinary Core Ideas

By clicking on a specific Science and Engineering Practice, Disciplinary Core Idea, or Crosscutting Concept, you can find out more information on it. By hovering over one you can find its corresponding elements in the PEs.

Planning Curriculum

Common Core State Standards Connections

ELA/Literacy

  • RST.6-8.1 - Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts. (MS-PS3-1), (MS-PS3-5)
  • RST.6-8.3 - Follow precisely a multistep procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks. (MS-PS3-3)
  • RST.6-8.7 - Integrate quantitative or technical information expressed in words in a text with a version of that information expressed visually (e.g., in a flowchart, diagram, model, graph, or table). (MS-PS3-1)
  • SL.8.5 - Integrate multimedia and visual displays into presentations to clarify information, strengthen claims and evidence, and add interest. (MS-PS3-2)
  • WHST.6-8.1 - Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts. (MS-PS3-5)
  • WHST.6-8.7 - Conduct short research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question), drawing on several sources and generating additional related, focused questions that allow for multiple avenues of exploration. (MS-PS3-3), (MS-PS3-4)

Mathematics

  • 6.RP.A.1 - Understand the concept of a ratio and use ratio language to describe a ratio relationship between two quantities. (MS-PS3-1), (MS-PS3-5)
  • 6.RP.A.2 - Understand the concept of a unit rate a/b associated with a ratio a:b with b ≠ 0, and use rate language in the context of a ratio relationship. (MS-PS3-1)
  • 6.SP.B.5 - Summarize numerical data sets in relation to their context. (MS-PS3-4)
  • 7.RP.A.2 - Recognize and represent proportional relationships between quantities. (MS-PS3-1), (MS-PS3-5)
  • 8.EE.A.1 - Know and apply the properties of integer exponents to generate equivalent numerical expressions. (MS-PS3-1)
  • 8.EE.A.2 - Use square root and cube root symbols to represent solutions to equations of the form x² = p and x³ = p, where p is a positive rational number. Evaluate square roots of small perfect squares and cube roots of small perfect cubes. Know that √2 is irrational. (MS-PS3-1)
  • 8.F.A.3 - Interpret the equation y = mx + b as defining a linear function, whose graph is a straight line; give examples of functions that are not linear. (MS-PS3-1), (MS-PS3-5)
  • MP.2 - Reason abstractly and quantitatively. (MS-PS3-1), (MS-PS3-4), (MS-PS3-5)

Model Course Mapping

First Time Visitors

Resources & Lesson Plans

  • More resources added each week!
    A team of teacher curators is working to find, review, and vet online resources that support the standards. Check back often, as NSTA continues to add more targeted resources.
  • This activity from the Teach Engineering Digital Library engages students in the engineering design process as they build physical models of roller coasters using foam pipe insulation and marbles.  The lesson features a host of instructional sup ...

  • This interdisciplinary curriculum unit from the National Energy Education Development Project provides 11 complete lessons for teaching about hydropower and conversion of moving water to electrical energy. The resource includes every component requir ...

  • This simulation-based learning module for Grades 6-8 was developed to help students visualize changing kinetic and potential energy in a simple pendulum. It models a child on a swing suspended from a stationary point. Drag the swing to different heig ...

  • This 5-minute YouTube video, hosted by physicist Derek Muller, aims to debunk specific misconceptions held by most people about heat and temperature. Dr. Muller uses an inquiry-based approach to explore the scientific meaning of heat transfer by exam ...

  • This activity blends a hands-on investigation with a computer simulation, as students use probeware to observe and graph the changing temperature of a melting ice cube. In the first step, learners use a sensor to monitor temperature as an ice cube me ...

  • In this series of 5 lessons, students first build up a background knowledge of thermal energy transfer, distinguishing heat from temperature. They then investigate the insulative properties of various materials. They use this background learning to d ...

  • This activity explores energy transfer in the context of atmospheric radiation. In the activity, students use simple equipment (reflector lamps, pie pans, thermometers, soil, and a watch for timing) to investigate how different surfaces absorb heat.& ...

  • This resource is a 6-page activity for students that will guide them through the use of the PhET simulation Energy Skate Park: Basics as they explore kinetic, potential, thermal and total energy. The activity guides students through three exploration ...

  • Student groups are given cardboard, insulating materials, aluminum foil and Plexiglas, and challenged to build solar ovens. The ovens must collect and store as much of the sun's energy as possible. Students experiment with heat transfer through condu ...

  • Students do an activity in which heat is transferred from hot water to cold metal washers, and then from hot washers to cold water. They view an animation to help them understand what's going on at the molecular level, and then they draw their own re ...

  • Mechanical energy--kinetic and potential energy--are illustrated with pendulums and roller coasters. Students learn about energy transfer, and are introduced to the equations for kinetic and gravitational potential energy. They explore the difference ...

  • Do you have a great resource to share with the community? Click here.
  • Future Goals - Hockey Scholar™ brings science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) concepts to life using the exciting, fast-paced game of hockey. Through immersive real-life simulations, students build their understanding of fundamental STE...

  • In this series of games, your students will learn about the different types of stored or potential energy. The Kinetic Energy learning objective — based on NGSS and state standards — delivers improved student engagement and academic performance in yo...

  • In this series of games, your students will learn about the different types of stored or potential energy. The Potential Energy learning objective — based on NGSS and state standards — delivers improved student engagement and academic performance in ...

  • In this series of games, your students will learn about the relationship between energy and temperature. The Temperature and Total Energy learning objective — based on NGSS and state standards — delivers improved student engagement and academic perfo...

  • In this series of games, your students will learn how energy is transferred into, out of, and within a system. The Conservation of Energy learning objective — based on NGSS and state standards —delivers improved student engagement and academic perfor...

  • In this series of games, your students will learn about the effects on temperature when energy is added to or removed from a substance. The Changing Temperature learning objective — based on NGSS and state standards — delivers improved student engage...

  • In this series of games, your students will learn how objects transfer heat energy. The Flow of Thermal Energy learning objective — based on NGSS and state standards — delivers improved student engagement and academic performance in your classroom, a...

  • In this series of games, your students will learn how forces transfer energy. The Relationship Between Energy And Forces learning objective — based on NGSS and state standards — delivers improved student engagement and academic performance in your cl...

  • Engineering Lesson with NGSS Connections (with light kit activity)

  • Students design, build and test model roller coasters using foam tubing. The design process integrates energy concepts as they test and evaluate designs that address the task as an engineer would. The goal is for students to understand the basics of ...

  • Student pairs design and construct small, wind-powered sail cars using limited quantities of drinking straws, masking tape, paper and beads. Teams compete to see which sail car travels the farthest when pushed by the wind (simulated by the use of an ...

  • Students apply the concepts of conduction, convection and radiation as they work in teams to solve two challenges. One problem requires that they maintain the warm temperature of one soda can filled with water at approximately human body temperature,...

  • Students learn about providing healthcare in a global setting and the importance of wearing protective equipment when treating patients with infectious diseases like Ebola. They learn about biohazard suits, heat transfer through conduction and convec...

  • Middle School students design a signaling system to get themselves off of a remote island using solar panels, wind turbines, LED's, and a buzzer.

  • PowerPoint used within the session. Notes on the slides contain all links, videos and activity guides.

  • 300+ teacher developed middle school and high school challenge-based learning engineering units - created through University of Cincinnati NSF program

  • In this activity, students assume the role of a team of architects that has been commissioned to build a solar house containing both active and passive solar components. First, they must design the house and then build a model. The model is tested to...

  • This simplified animation of a geothermal power plant from the U.S. Department of Energy illustrates commonalities with traditional power-generating stations. While there are many types of geothermal power plants, this animation shows a generic plan...

  • This hands-on activity will provide students with an understanding of the issues that surround environmental clean-up. Students will create their own oil spill, try different methods for cleaning it up, and then discuss the merits of each method in t...

  • Students explore how various energy sources can be used to cause a turbine to rotate and then generate electricity with a magnet.

  • This lesson focuses on the importance of ocean exploration as a way to learn how to capture, control, and distribute renewable ocean energy resources. Students begin by identifying ways the ocean can generate energy and then research one ocean energy...

  • This activity introduces wind energy concepts through a reading passage and by answering assessment questions. The main section of the activity involves constructing and testing a windmill to observe how design and position affect the electrical ener...

  • This activity includes an assessment, analysis, and action tool that can be used by classrooms to promote understanding of how the complex current issues of energy, pollution, supply, and consumption are not just global but also local issues.

  • This engaging video focuses on national and global wind energy potential by specifically highlighting Texas' role as wind energy leader and energy efficiency efforts in Houston, Texas.

  • This interactive diagram from the National Academy of Sciences shows how we rely on a variety of primary energy sources (solar, nuclear, hydro, wind, geothermal, natural gas, coal, biomass, oil) to supply energy to four end-use sectors (residential, ...

  • This video segment highlights how the U.S. military is the single largest user of energy in the nation, but it is also trying to reduce its carbon bootprint. Scenes taped at Fort Irwin and Camp Pendleton show the Army and Marines experimenting with w...

  • This NOAA visualization on YouTube shows the seasonal variations in sea surface temperatures and ice cover from 1985 to 2007. The visualization is based on data collected by NOAA polar-orbiting satellites. El Niño and La Niña are easily identified,...

  • An interactive visualization tool to examine geocentric seasonal and latitudinal variability in solar energy reaching Earth's surface.

  • This qualitative graphic illustrates the various factors that affect the amount of solar radiation hitting or being absorbed by Earth's surface such as aerosols, clouds, and albedo.

  • This Flash animation describes how hybrid-electric vehicles (HEVs) combine the benefits of gasoline engines and electric motors and can be configured to obtain different objectives, such as improved fuel economy, increased power, or additional auxili...

  • This interactive contains four animated slides that introduce the greenhouse effect. An additional animation offers to 'explore more'.

  • This map shows the pattern of thermohaline circulation. This collection of currents is responsible for the large-scale exchange of water masses in the ocean, including providing oxygen to the deep ocean. The entire circulation pattern takes ~2000 yea...

  • This video segment is adapted from Building Big, a PBS series hosted by David Macaulay. It explores Hoover Dam's hydroelectric capabilities by explaining how it is able to harness the potential energy stored in the reservoir and convert it to electri...

  • This is a utility-scale, land-based map of the mean annual wind speed 80 meters above the ground. This map can be used to evaluate the potential for wind energy in the US. State maps and more information are linked from the main map.

  • This animation presents the characteristics of wind power as a source of clean energy. The viewer may examine how a wind turbine works by pausing and clicking on its components. They include a gear box, rotor, high-speed shaft, generator, wind vane, ...

  • This set of six interactive slides showcases how a typical photovoltaic cell converts solar energy into electricity. Explore the components of a photovoltaic cell, including the silicon layers, metal backing, antireflective coating, and metal conduct...

  • This slideshow lays out a photo story with short descriptions of how designers of city buildings all over the world are taking climate change and rising sea level seriously.

  • In this interactive, students can investigate a typical hydrogen fuel cell prototype car from its fuel cell stacks to its ultracapacitor, a kind of supplementary power source. The limited-production vehicle seen in this feature is a Honda 2005 FC...

  • This video is one of a series of videos from the Switch Energy project. It describes three types of geothermal sources -- rare ones in which high temperatures are naturally concentrated near the surface, deep wells that require fracturing the rock an...

  • This video is one of a series of videos produced by the Switch Energy project. It presents the pros and cons of wind power, such as where to build, affordability, efficiency, transmission.

  • This suite of short video clips is part of a series produced by the Switch Energy project. There are several video segments that discuss different perspectives of biofuels as a renewable source of energy.

  • A set of eight photographs compiled into a series of slides explain how urban areas are facing challenges in keeping both their infrastructure and their residents cool as global temperatures rise. Chicago is tackling that problem with a green design ...

  • This video is essentially an infomercial about electric cars - components, challenges, benefits - narrated by Antonio Neves of the.News and featuring various members of the auto industry.

  • In this hands-on activity, students explore whether rooftop gardens are a viable option for combating the urban heat island effect. The guiding question is: Can rooftop gardens reduce the temperature inside and outside of houses?

  • This visualization explains in simple and easy-to-understand visuals the causes of sea-level change.

  • This interactive tool allows viewers to explore, by county, the areas of California threatened by a rise in sea level through this century.

  • This animated video outlines Earth's energy. The video presents a progression from identifying the different energy systems to the differences between external and internal energy sources and how that energy is cycled and used.

  • This interactive visualization provides information in text, graphic, and video format about renewable energy technologies. Resource in the Student's Guide to Global Climate Change, part of EPA Climate Change Division.

  • This lesson explores the chemistry of some of the greenhouse gases that affect Earth's climate. Third in a series of 9 lessons from an online module entitled 'Visualizing and Understanding the Science of Climate Change'.

  • In this short, hands-on activity, students build simple molecular models of 4 atmospheric gases (O2, N2, C02, and methane), compare their resonant frequencies, and make the connection between resonant frequency and the gas's ability to absorb infrare...

  • In this activity, students explore real data about renewable energy potential in their state using a mapping tool developed by NREL (National Renewable Energy Laboratory) to investigate the best locations for wind energy, solar energy, hydropower, g...

  • This small-group activity uses engineering concepts to design energy systems for three off-the-grid towns in Mali, Ethiopia, and Namibia.

Planning Curriculum gives connections to other areas of study for easier curriculum creation.