This unit "Searching for Tomorrow's Energy" is designed for a fifth grade class particularly because it will give the students the ability to use demonstrations from the seminar to better understand the chemistry, physics and economics of various energy alternatives. This unit will allow students to connect to Science in their everyday life when they are beginning to question their lives in general. This unit will allow students to feel comfortable with the processes of scientific investigation. The students will design, conduct, communicate about, and evaluate such investigations of renewable energy.
I teach fifth grade at Nathan Hale School in New Haven, Connecticut. My fifth grade class is in an urban district and is composed of a diverse, multicultural community of learners that embodies a wide range of achievements, interests, learning and social needs. It is a school that has a strong neighborhood support structure; therefore, the majority of the students enrolled are from the neighborhood.
This unit will help students be able to determine which energy source will be most effective to the economy and the environment in the future. The reason for doing this is to develop the students' understanding of different types of energy sources. At the completion of this unit, the students will be able to distinguish between potential and kinetic energy, identify and describe different forms of energy, demonstrate an understanding of renewable and nonrenewable sources of energy, and most importantly, these very important topics can be integrated directly through Math, Science and Technology. Additionally, it is aligned with New Haven Public Schools goals for students which say "What students learn in school must be relevant to the world in which they live. The learning that takes place in schools is not only academic, but also social and personal. It is profound and must be relevant to the world in which they live." This unit will integrate subjects to fully expand one topic as well as help me to give students a "greater purpose" for learning about how and why it's important to conserve energy because it directly affects their own daily lives.
In recent years, there has been a growing interest in renewable energy due to environmental, health and political concerns. Fossil fuel use correlates to air pollution, especially in urban areas, which is a growing health concern, while acid rain and global warming continues to evoke debate. The youth are the future; that is why it is crucial to educate of our future engineers and policy makers in the laws of thermodynamics and alternative energy sources. Public policy issues concerning energy have direct correlations with the economy.