Energy Conversions

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Clarkson University
Upper Primary
Grade 3, Grade 4, Grade 5
Material Type:
Activity/Lab, Lesson Plan
Media Format:
Graphics/Photos, Text/HTML
Students evaluate various everyday energy conversion devices and draw block flow diagrams to show the forms and states of energy into and out of the device. They also identify the forms of energy that are useful and the desired output of the device as well as the forms that are not useful for the intended use of the item. This can be used to lead into the law of conservation of energy and efficiency. The student activity is preceded by a demonstration of a more complicated system to convert chemical energy to heat energy to mechanical energy. Drawing the block energy conversion diagram for this system models the activity that the students then do themselves for other simpler systems.


HE HIDOE on Aug 23, 06:10pm

It's worth the time + $$ to first demonstrate and discuss combustion with your class and then have your students explore various energy conversion devices. Groups of three students visit a station to discuss what type of energy conversion happens. They complete and label block diagrams to show the starting and ending form of energy and the conversion process involved. Student handout provided.

Materials needed for the combustion demo: sterno or other heating source, 250 mL erlemeyer flask with a 1-hole stopper, pre-heated water (near boiling) in a thermos, ring stand to hold pinwheel and flask above heating source, pinwheel

Station device examples: battery-operated flashlight, shaking flashlight, light-solar panel-LEGO motor set-up, personal heat packet, Genecon generator, hairdryer, glow stick

HCPS SC.6.6.2 Describe the different types of energy transformations
The student describes a variety of energy transformations (e.g., heat energy into mechanical energy; chemical energy into light energy; electrical energy into magnetic energy).
HCPS III CTE Standard 1: TECHNOLOGICAL DESIGN—Design, modify, and apply technology to effectively and efficiently solve problems