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Chaperone Guide for Energy: Energy Transfer (Grade 4)

Chaperone Guide for Energy: Energy Transfer (Grade 4)

Background for Teachers

The chaperone guide is designed so that chaperones can help students build their understanding of energy transfer through hands-on, minds-on experiences at exhibits in ways that correlate to the Next Generation Science Standards.

Which standard is addressed?
The standard is 4-PS3 Energy: Energy Transfer.
Students who demonstrate understanding can:
Make observations to provide evidence that energy can be transferred from place to place by sound, light, heat, and electric currents. (4-PS3-2)

For more information about this standard, see the Next Generation Science Standards website.

What’s special about the exhibits?
The exhibits make visible the transfer of energy by heat and sound and provide an opportunity for students to try out their ideas about electric circuits. In addition, near real-time data concerning the Exploratorium’s rooftop solar panels provide a significant real-world example of energy transferred by light. The exhibits also lend themselves to social learning experiences; at the exhibits, students can ask questions, make observations, and discuss their ideas together.

What can be explored at the exhibits?
Four exhibits were selected to give students the opportunity to experience the transfer of energy in a variety of ways.

  • At Circuit Workbench, students try to complete a circuit by manipulating components such as wires, a power source, switch, and a device to turn on and off. Students can test their ideas about what works and what doesn’t.
  • At Convection Currents, a small heater in a tank of water warms the water closest to it, and the heated water rises through the cooler water. These currents are invisible if you look directly at the tank, but a bright light projects them onto a screen, making the transfer of energy visible.
  • At See a Sound Wave, sound from a speaker travels through a tube that’s partly filled with liquid. The liquid splashes, sometimes quite energetically, providing evidence of energy transfer.
  • At Generating Solar Power, students see data about the Exploratorium’s solar panels and learn that energy transferred by sunlight can meet the energy needs of this huge building.

After-visit classroom discussions and resources
During a class discussion, let volunteers describe what they saw happen at each exhibit. Then invite students to talk about how the exhibits are alike and different. Elicit that all the exhibits show evidence that energy has been transferred, but each exhibit features a different form of energy.

Let students discuss anything they’re wondering about or are confused by. Help them brainstorm ways that they could explore their questions further.

For help in planning follow-up activities, see our Field Trip Resources: After Your Visit page for online activity resources.

For your chaperones
Chaperone Guide for Energy: Energy Transfer

You should also provide your chaperones with our Chaperone Tips, which is available in English, Spanish, and Chinese.