STEM Project Ideas to do with Energy

Discussion in 'Middle School / Junior High' started by rpan, Mar 19, 2017.

  1. rpan

    rpan Comrade

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2017
    Messages:
    267
    Likes Received:
    190

    Mar 19, 2017

    I'm a middle school science teacher over in Australia and there is a strong push towards using STEM project based learning rather than conventional chalk and talk. I'm all for it, but a little bit stumped for ideas. I want students to be engaged but they need to meet the curriculum standards. I would like to start a project in a few months on Energy - the types of energy, how energy can be transferred or transformed. I have gotten my students to build Rube Goldberg machines before to show their understanding of the types of energy and how it can be changed into other types, but I was hoping if any Science teachers here could give me some ideas?
     
  2.  
  3. Obadiah

    Obadiah Habitué

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2015
    Messages:
    827
    Likes Received:
    457

    Mar 19, 2017

    Rube Goldberg was the first thing that came to my mind, but when I clicked on your post, I saw that you've already used that. In third grade, (8-9 years old in U.S.), I also brought in a collected bag of scrap materials and had the students design toys that moved or made a sound. The project took most of the day time wise, but I was always amazed at their creations (and so were they). Sports provide some interesting investigations, such as bats hitting baseballs, basketballs bouncing, etc. A PBS program, Zoom, had an investigation on finding the best place on a bat to hit a baseball; it popped into my mind as I was writing this. pbskids.org/zoom/activities/sci/sweetspot.html
    Nickelodeon's Mr. Wizard's World often had projects that involved energy. I've never used this in the classroom, but microwave ovens might provide worthwhile demonstrations, especially since they're still a relatively new household convenience, the students could research the history of the ovens and interview grandparents on their first experiences with the ovens. (I recall when I was around 10 or 12 (1968-70), my family was at a demonstration of a microwave at the county fair. The gentleman cooked a baked potato, and to demonstrate it was really hot, he took it out of the oven and tossed it to me to eat. The crowd, of course, got quite a chuckle over me trying to hold the hot potato in my hands)! On project based lessons, I've noticed that the best lessons integrate textual material, especially the inclusion of library books. A multitude of kids' books have been written that include projects and demonstrations. Cooperative (group) learning is also helpful. I include "mini-lessons" in my instruction, so that the students have a starting point in their discoveries. The NASA videos, Toys in Space, I and II, are quite informative and can give ideas to try in the classroom. (It's my understanding there is a scientific error within one of the videos, but it's so minor and technical, I've never found it).
     
  4. rpan

    rpan Comrade

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2017
    Messages:
    267
    Likes Received:
    190

    Mar 20, 2017

    Thanks for the suggestions! I didn't know about Zoom (bring Aussie) but it's such a fantastic resource, I can't believe I've never heard of it! I'm looking at all the projects they have and the bat one is a good activity (I'm sure it will work with a cricket bat). But the roller coaster one is also a great one! Thanks for taking the time to reply' teachers are so busy with mundane stuff most of the time and I really miss collaborating with other people, getting their ideas, that's why I joined this forum. I'm learning so much just reading other people's posts (and I'm not a newbie teacher)
     
    Obadiah likes this.
  5. vickilyn

    vickilyn Maven

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2014
    Messages:
    5,684
    Likes Received:
    1,056

    Mar 20, 2017

    You might want to browse the Free resources for teachers that I have created. It is pinned or anchored, thanks to the powers that be, allowing me to keep it current and pretty up to date. They are even very good about getting rid of posts that are questionable, so you don't have to wade through endless commercial pitches. I add to it regularly, and monitor it enough to note if links are still valid. Although it started as a search for free posters for my classroom, it ended up being so much mofeStince I am a science teacher, you will find a lot of STEM resources. I utilizes the NSTA web site "freebie for teachers" as a springboard, and then spread out from there. I will note if I have found resources geared towards other subjects, since it is not specifically a science site.

    It has grown, and may be a bit of a pain, but it as offered up very valuable resources that have provided cool posters, dvd's, and so much more to those who can/will spend some time "in the stacks." Whenever I find a new link, I post. There are two reasons for my actions.#1. I believe in sharing. #2. I always know where the resources are "stashed", meaning that I know how to access these sources from any computer, wherever I happen to be. So it is altruistic and selfish that the same time. You will find common and less common resources. Hope you find something you can use.
     
  6. MrFrank35

    MrFrank35 Rookie

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2017
    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    5

    Mar 29, 2017

    The interne has a lot of really great ideas. I have found some good lessons with work sheets here. The kids really seem to like them.
     
  7. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2011
    Messages:
    5,611
    Likes Received:
    850

    Mar 29, 2017

    This is basically a Rube Goldberg, but it's nice because they have templates to make all of the interesting shapes and chutes you need to make it work all out of paper: http://paperrollercoasters.com/

    I've had kids build a wind turbine with 2L soda bottles and use it to actually generate electricity, which was fun, but it took a lot of time and money (you have to buy magnet wire, rare earth magnets, and kids have trouble coiling the wires properly, but it's so cool when it works).
     
    Obadiah likes this.
  8. skeptic

    skeptic Rookie

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2013
    Messages:
    17
    Likes Received:
    1

    Jun 13, 2017

    Rpan -- since I'm still a rookie on this board I cannot post links.
    So you can do a search for Science Net Links dot com (take out spaces and insert . )
    energy teacher dot org (association of science technology centers and BP)
    need (dot) org (very good resource)
     

Share This Page

test