Fourth graders have gotten a lot brighter these past months focusing on their energy conversions unit – part of the new Amplify science curriculum. Students took on the role of systems engineers for Ergstown, a fictional town that experiences frequent blackouts, the anchor phenomenon for the unit. Throughout the unit, they explored reasons why an electrical system may fail. Through firsthand experiences, discourse, reading, writing, and engaging with a digital simulation, students made discoveries about the way electrical systems work. As they worked to solve the problem of blackouts in Ergstown, students used and constructed devices that convert energy from one form to another, built an understanding of the electrical system, and learned to identify energy forms all around them.
The culminating project was a class competition to create wind turbines using a few household items. They did an amazing job, which isn’t a shock to anyone.