Grade 4

Conversion of energy into different forms (lesson two of eight)

Author(s): Ben Engel, Arthur Millius, Lisa Monti and Helen Wong-Lew

Conversion of energy into different forms (lesson two of eight)

Students investigate flash paper, rubber bands, a mechanical crank, and a radiometer to determine the energy conversion occurring in each.

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Energy Conversion in Electricity – Resistors and Circuits (lesson three of eight)

Author(s): Ben Engel, Arthur Millius, Lisa Monti and Helen Wong-Lew

Energy Conversion in Electricity – Resistors and Circuits (lesson three of eight)

Students are introduced to the concept of a resistor and reminded about electrical energy from the previous lesson. They are then challenged to build a GIANT circuit to determine whether the size of a circuit affects whether it lights a bulb. They build as a class a giant series and giant parallel circuit. Then, in pairs, they build their own circuits with different resistors.

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Making a battery

Author(s): Florian Merkle and Margot Juhr

Making a battery

This is an inquiry-based activity in which students are given materials to make a battery. Students work in pairs and results are shared with the class. Content is discussed after the hands-on session.

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Electromagnets (lesson four of eight)

Author(s): Ben Engel, Arthur Millius, Lisa Monti and Helen Wong-Lew

Electromagnets (lesson four of eight)

Introduce the scientific method, control and variable. Reiterate that electricity can be used to create magnetic energy and discuss the different properties of an electromagnet (number of batteries, number or wires turns, or material of wire). Students then take time to think of experiments varying these properties and then test their hypotheses by actually performing the experiment they thought of.

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States of Matter (lesson five of eight)

Author(s): Ben Engel, Arthur Millius, Lisa Monti and Helen Wong-Lew

States of Matter (lesson five of eight)

Students investigate the difference between ice and dry ice, and review the concept of control and variable. The scientists demonstrate condensation, sublimation, and freezing with a series of object lessons.

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Understanding Germs (Bacteria, Viruses and Fungi)

Author(s): Helen Hwang, Mary Mohrin, David Allyn, Mithril Cox

Understanding Germs (Bacteria, Viruses and Fungi)

This lesson focuses on understanding "germs" (specifically bacteria, viruses, and fungi), how they cause illness, how they can help us, and some lessons about personal hygiene (protecting ourselves from germs).  Students learn about the different classes of germs via a book and discussion, assign germ names, symptoms and modes of contraction to microbe stuffed animals, and finally try to wash "Glo Germ" off their hands to emphasize the importance of personal hygine.

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The energy of life in zebrafish (lesson six of eight)

Author(s): Ben Engel, Arthur Millius, Lisa Monti and Helen Wong-Lew

The energy of life in zebrafish (lesson six of eight)

We introduce the concept that life needs energy to grow. We explain a little about microscopy and then the students observe different stages of zebrafish development (except we do not tell them that it is a zebrafish). Then student predict what animal they are observing leading up to a big reveal.

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Introducing Models to Elementary School Students

Author(s): Linda Akiyama and Ranyee Chiang

Introducing Models to Elementary School Students

Students learn what a model is by comparing a model of the tongue to their own tongue. They practice asking themselves, "How is this model like the thing it represents, and how is it different?"  This format of questioning can be used when using any model in science and can be used to check students' understanding and misconceptions.

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Heating Earth

Author(s): Nathan Gosse and Kim Probst

Heating Earth

Students develop an experimental plan to investigate the question how solar energy heats different earth materials (water and land). A container half filled with water and half with soil is exposed to full sun (if doing it outside) or placed under incandescent lights (inside). Students take temperature readings of both materials for 15 minutes and then either bring setups to a shady spot or turn off the lights. Again students record change in temperature in intervals during the next 15 minutes and then graph results. Lesson introduces the concepts energy transfer, solar energy, and heat sink.

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Investigating the Relationship of Mass to Volume

Author(s): Linda Akiyama and Ranyee Chiang

Investigating the Relationship of Mass to Volume

Students practice the process of doing investigative science through team investigations. They investigate two materials that weigh the same amount. The testable question: If I have an amount of gravel and an amount of sand of the same weight, will they take up the same amount of space? Together, the class makes predictions, and decides on materials and procedures. Then in pairs, students do the investigation, collect data and draw conclusions.  After this activity, students will be better able to develop independent investigations in this and other subject areas.

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Alternative Energy Part II (lesson eight of eight)

Author(s): Ben Engel, Arthur Millius, Lisa Monti and Helen Wong-Lew

Alternative Energy Part II (lesson eight of eight)

Student take their cars outside to a "time track" and a "distance track". They measure how fast their car goes 10 feet on the "time track" and how far their car goes in 30 seconds on the "distance track". They perform multiple trials, interpret their data, and predict which region in the world the car would be most suitable for.

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Alternative Energy Part I (lesson seven of eight)

Author(s): Ben Engel, Arthur Millius, Lisa Monti, Helen Wong-Lew

Alternative Energy Part I (lesson seven of eight)

Students design a car that could be powered without gasoline. A class discussion ensues on different energies you could use to power a car. The students receive a model car kit with alternative modes of propulsion and get to design a car based on a form of energy they choose.

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Oh Deer! and English Language Learner Writing Extensions

Author(s): SEP Quattro Staff

Oh Deer! and English Language Learner Writing Extensions

Teacher(s) will describe an ecosystem scenario and ask students to ponder why the population of deer in a particular area fluctates from year to year. Students will research the question through a simulation of deer in nature. The teacher will record data from the activity in the form of a graph. Before analyzing the graph, students will record words they used in the activity and sort others used in the context of ecology. While analyzing the graph and sharing their experiences, students will use these words to create sentences and eventually a paragraph describing the patterns of the data collected.

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What is Life?

Author(s): SEP Academic staff, past and current

What is Life?

Students will investigate different objects and discuss whether they are alive or not alive. Students are challenged to provide evidence for their decision and defend their opinion.

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Making an electromagnet

Author(s): SEP staff

Making an electromagnet

Students discover that, when electric current flows through an insulated wire wound around a steel core, the steel core becomes a magnet. They learn that this happens because an electric current produces a magnetic field. They experiment with a number of variables and try to find out how to increase the strength of the electromagnet.

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