Energy is the ability to do work. We know this, and we appreciate the ways we use energy in our everyday lives. For our students however, this is not necessarily something they would think much about. Our kindergarten, 1st, or 2nd grade students may not even know a lot about the energy they use every day like sunlight, food, and electricity. They also may not think of light, sound, and heat as types of energy. This is a very important topic for students to understand.
Something that is important is to know your students’ misconceptions. Most likely, they don’t know what energy looks like. They may think that light can’t move through objects. They may have never thought about vibration creating sound. Teaching these concepts can be really fun with a little prep work!
Here are some tips for teaching energy forms to your students.
- Take it slow. It can be a challenging concept for younger students to grasp at first. You don’t want to overwhelm them right from the start. Plan it out ahead of time and take it one step at a time.
- Explain what energy is first, and then start offering examples of energy (sound, heat, and light). Breaking it down will make a difference in student comprehension.
- Try reading some books about energy forms. Usually, books are a great way to learn more about subjects from a different source, which can be a great thing for the trickier topics.
- Do a variety of activities to get lots of practice. You can do fun science experiments if you want, or you can keep it simple and straightforward. Tell your students that they are the scientists and their job is to understand forms of energy.
This Forms of Energy Activities resource for kindergarten and first grade would be a great addition to your forms of energy lesson plans. It covers sound, heat, and light with a 3 week plan including 3 inquiry lessons, data notebook, rubric, home project, and more.
Here’s some more information on what is included in this Forms of Energy resource:
Lesson Plan (What is a Scientist?) WEEK 1
Lesson Plan (Science Tools) WEEK 2
Lesson Plan (Scientific Method) WEEK 3
Act It Out (Teacher calls out the energy word, students act it out)
Draw or List forms of energy
Forms of Energy Writing and Drawing Printable
Forms of Energy – Heat, Light, Sound Interactive Notebook Page
Venn Diagram – compare fire and the sun
Ask a Friend – Practice collecting data, predicting and collecting evidence
I SPY Sound Items
Draw what you think sound looks like
Interactive Notebook pages for making a pocket full of things that make sound
Sound Energy Mini-Book
Venn Diagram compare the soft sound of the beach to the loud sound of the music room at school
Writing Page about Sound Energy
Draw 3 forms of energy in the circle.
Inquiry Lesson Light Experiment with various Items to see if light passes through
Inquiry Student Page to collect
Hear and See Sound Experiment
Hear and See Sound by showing vibration
Melting Ice Teacher Instructions for Inquiry Lesson
Student page to collect data on melting ice experiment
Fun Science Hat/Headband
What is energy? Poster
Vocabulary Posters (sound, soft, vibrate, loud, heat, light)
Energy Notebook Journal with Rubric
What activities do you like to do to help your students understand forms of energy? Let me know in the comments below!
For more science activities and lessons, check out my post here!