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Should Coal Power Plants be Phased Out in Alberta?

An inquiry based Science 10 unit.

Corey Hornick, Craig McCarthy, & Dakota Mattson

EDUC 3601(D)
Spring 2017
Unit Introduction:

The following unit was designed to be incorporated into a science 10 classroom, with an

overall focus on Unit B: Energy Flow in Technological Systems. In order to engage students in

their learning and allow them to discover new information through scientific inquiry, we wanted

to focus this unit around a topic relevant to everyday life in southern Alberta. The guiding

question for this unit is:

Should coal power plants be phased out in Alberta?

We believe that this is an interesting and engaging questions to have the students explore.

Through the creation of the curriculum map, linked below, we have discovered that this topic will

cover a wide array of SLOs in the science 10 program of studies, as well as present many

opportunities for cross curricular connections. This is one reason why we believe this is a strong

question. The question will allow students to draw knowledge from past courses as well as other

courses currently enrolled in to help shape their understanding and supplement their learning.

Another reason we are excited about this topic is that it ties into local affairs and current events.

With the Provincial government plan to phase out coal by 2030, and the incorporation of a

national carbon tax, this topic can help students to understand the governments position, and

look into how industry, environment, and economy may be impacted in Alberta and Canada as a

whole. Exploring whether or not coal should be phased out connects classroom science

concepts to the world around us. Students will be able to see tangible applications for the skills

and concepts that they are learning which will hopefully translate to a more enjoyable and

engaging learning environment for all students.

Our comprehensive curriculum map can be accessed at

Unit Rationale:

As mentioned above in the introduction, the guiding question for this unit is Should we

phase out coal power plants in Alberta? We believe that this is an engaging and relevant way

to get students interested in their scientific education while covering a wide array of SLOs. This

unit has strong cross-curricular connections to social studies, as well as english, math, and

CALM. Within the science 10 curriculum, this unit serves as a thorough introduction to energy

transformation and conservation, an important foundation for success in subsequent chemistry

and physics courses. Since electricity has a prominent and spanning impact on our daily lives,

framing the material around the guiding question will help students connect learning to real

world applications. This is also a way to increase student level of political awareness. Analyzing

trade offs between environment and economy is a significant, ongoing debate on the global

stage, and a very prominent reality in Alberta. We have reached an era where Canada is taking

a leading stance on environmental sustainability. Government initiatives such as movements to

phase out coal operations and the formation of a nationally regulated carbon emissions tax have

a profound daily impact on our lives. Through scientific inquiry students can form well educated

opinions on what they believe is the best path to take in Albertas, and by extension Canadas,

energy and environmental future. Encouraging students to question their understandings

through critical thinking and inquiry and forming an opinion on a current and prominent issue

provides a more meaningful learning experience than delivering pre-determined knowledge.

As educators, it is our goal to impart an understanding in our students that science is an

ever changing entity influenced by human intervention. This idea, known as the Nature of

Science, can be used to engage and inspire students and is an important foundation in scientific

education. By removing the static and concrete facade science is often presented with, students

are shown that our understandings are constantly evolving. This can be used to empower

students, and encourage them to pursue the sciences as a profession. Students who

understand that scientific understanding changes over time may also understand that they have
the ability to influence that understanding. Contributing to science is a much more appealing

prospect than viewing science as a determined collection of data and information for one to

study and memorize. In relation to this unit, three main foundations of science education will be

brought together. Technological advancements have lead to renewed understandings in how we

generate power as well as how human activities impact the environment. With this new

knowledge, society must recalculate a balance between human needs and environmental

sustainability. Students will be challenged with considering whether or not traditionally reliable

forms of power generation, such as coal, are meeting the expectations and needs of society

today. This idea addresses the foundations Nature of Science, history of science, and the social

and environmental contexts of science and technology. Scientific literacy will also be

encouraged throughout this unit. Scientific discovery requires reading and interpreting various

perspectives. Scientific articles can be difficult to interpret based on advanced and complicated

scientific language. Doing research and exploring different sources will expose students to this

unique dialogue, helping to increase scientific literacy.

The summative assessment task for which this unit was designed around will allow for

student voice and interest to be incorporated into the classroom. For this assignment, students

will pick a country and analyze their specific energy production portfolio. This will include

consideration of environmental, geographic, political, economic, and social factors. The main

goal of the assignment is to prepare and present a proposal on Albertas energy future.

Lethbridge West MLA and Environment Minister, Shannon Phillips, will be invited into the

classroom to hear the conclusions of the students. The assignment will have written, visual, and

oral components to it. Students will have a high degree of freedom with this task, considering

the focus remains on Albertas energy future. This inquiry project, and by extension the entire

unit, has the ability to showcase multiple tenets of the Nature of Science. First, by having

students explore a wide span of countries, we are encouraging a realization that people from

other cultures are contributing to science. We can look to others around the globe to help us
form a system that works for our energy needs while upholding societal expectations. This ties

into the idea that science is part of social and cultural traditions. Energy generation is a complex

topic that can be influenced by many factors. For example, if a culture views rivers as sacred,

they are unlikely to disrupt them with a dam. That cultural impact will lessen their ability for

hydroelectric power generation, and will need to be considered for this project. Additionally, the

tenet that science and technology impact each other is emphasized throughout this unit. If it

werent for advancements in technology, we would be unable to measure environmental

impacts to the heightened degree that we can today, and the government motivation to phase

out coal may not even exist.

Throughout the unit, multiple sub-questions can be used to guide student learning.

These questions are intendedly broad to allow for exploration of personal interests when and

where applicable. The unit is broken into four subcategories as outlined in the chart below.

Topic: Description: Sample Sub Question:

Introduction Considering varying perspectives on power, How does coal effect life in
renewables, and land usage in Alberta as well Alberta?
as globally.
Power Plants Looking to the source of energy production as a How does a power plant work?
way to introduce different types of energies.
Efficiency Considering methods for increasing efficiency What are pros and cons of
while acknowledging that 100% efficiency different energy production
doesnt occur. methods?
Environmental Taking a critical look at the balance between How does energy production
Impact human needs and environmental sustainability. contribute to climate change?

*Additional sub questions can be found within the unit timeline

In addition to the multitude of SLOs included on the curriculum map, and the filtered

SLOs outlined within the unit timeline, additional skill and attitude SLOs are incorporated

throughout this unit. Attitudes are critical foundations for scientific education. Though difficult to

assess, these outcomes are just as important as knowledge or STS outcomes, and provide

students with a thorough and practical experience. This unit has the ability to address all of the

outlined attitudes deemed important by Alberta Education. Interest in science and scientific

inquiry are the foundations for which this unit was constructed. The intended outcome of this
unit is for students to have an understanding of a current issue through guided inquiry in hopes

that a connection between science and the world will spark interest and engagement.

Stewardship is also a prominent aspect of this unit. Recognizing a need for balance between

human needs and environmental sustainability is the reason behind government action to phase

out coal generated power. Along with this, students will be expected to collaborate with their

peers as they discover new information, question various perspectives, and generate ideas.

From this, mutual respect should be fostered. Students will be exposed to a spectrum of

different perspectives on the topic, both from professionals and within the classroom. It is critical

that students understand that these differences in opinion, and the interactions among different

people are the force behind scientific advancement. Lastly, safety will also be incorporated

throughout the unit. Students will understand that safety for people as well as the environment

must be considered throughout planning and execution of energy generation.

Skills are another important component of science education outlined in the program of

studies that are incorporated within this unit. First, students will be utilizing research based skills

in order to discover, analyze, and reflect upon different perspectives. They will be expected to

obtain information, through the library or online, and use that information to form a well-

educated opinion. After collecting data, students will need to compile information from multiple

sources to create a cohesive argument and stance in regards to the guiding question. Creating

documents, personal notes or presentation materials that showcase information in a logical and

organized manner is a skill that will serve them well in school as well as in the workforce. Being

able to interpret as well as create diagrams, charts, and graphs is another skill that may come

up throughout this unit. Interpreting graphs is part of scientific literacy, and is essential in

understanding research in the field of science. Having the ability to formulate solutions to a

given problem, in this case whether or not the government should continue with the proposed

coal phase-out, is an important skill outlined in the program of studies. Additionally, being

competent in compiling information to not only form an opinion but to also provide a suggestion
for improvement is a powerful skill that will again translate into a direct benefit in school and in

the workforce.

This unit was designed with diverse learners in mind. We intend to incorporate various

learning strategies throughout the unit to engage all students. These will include instruction,

discussion based learning, research, creative expression, group brainstorms, and videos.

Through the inclusion of a field trip, a lab, and an interactive game, there is opportunity to

break up content heavy periods and encourage students to move around while applying their

knowledge. We believe that in a unit such as this, in class work time is essential. Asking the

students to research a topic and form a proposal may be intimidating and new for students,

therefore it is important that they have the ability to seek teacher guidance while progressing

through their project.

In addition to including various learners, we also want to include various cultures within

this unit, helping to contribute to a welcoming and inclusive classroom environment. There are

multiple occasions where FNMI perspectives will be incorporated within the instruction or

activities. Allowing students to pick a country to evaluate gives the opportunity for various

cultures to be brought into the classroom should the students wish. For an ELL student,

teaching their classmates about their culture, society, and country can be a powerful experience

that this assignment lends itself to. The culminating activity, where students will present their

findings to peers, teachers, and community members, will provide a global perspective on

energy usage and production. This will help to show students that there is no one correct

answer in terms of meeting societys energy needs.

We believe that this inquiry question is a very widely encompassing study that could be

extended further throughout the science 10 curriculum. Many of the SLOs in unit A relate to

chemical formations and reactions, which could be encompassed by this overarching question

as well. Though we see the possibility for this, we decided to focus mainly on unit B to prevent

the unit from taking too long and losing student interest. If students were to show high degree of
engagement with the topic, however, it could be extended to include more of the curriculum. In

the construction of the unit, there are SLOs within unit B that we decided to omit from this

inquiry unit. We believe they could be more naturally covered at other points throughout the

course rather than inserting them here. Another consideration made when creating this unit was

to cover environmental impact towards the end. This was done so that it would be a clear and

effective transition from this inquiry unit to a study focused around Unit D, as this focuses on

environmental monitoring and management. Overall, we believe this guiding inquiry question is

an engaging and interactive way to motivate student learning in the science 10 classroom while

becoming informed on relevant and current events in Alberta.

Assessment Breakdown

This unit is intended to contribute 20% of the mark associated for the science 10 program.
The breakdown of the grade allocation is indicated below:

Assignment Weighting
Quizzes (2) 20%
Reflections 5%
Lab Work 15%
Energy Proposal Assignment 60%

Energy Proposal Assignment Breakdown

Research/Progress Journal 25%
Position Rationale 40%
Proposal (poster, PowerPoint, etc.) 35%
Resource List

Scientific Resources:

Gue, D., Hutton, G., & Jeans, S. (2004). Science Focus 10. McGraw Hill Ryerson.

Science Focus 10 is one of the approved textbook resources for the Science 10
curriculum in Alberta. Within the textbook, multiple activity, lesson, and lab based ideas
can be found to incorporate into the classroom. By doing so, student engagement may
be increased as well as supplementing and supporting their learning. Additionally, this
resource can be used to help students review as they answer various questions within
the textbook.

Learn Alberta (2010) Oil Sands: The nature of things documentary, retrieved from

To access this resource you will need to log into The video looks at the
alberta oil sands from an economic perspective. It looks at our dependency as a world
on oil. The video also takes a look at aboriginal perspectives of the oil sands and how it
is affecting their way of life. A very informative video looking at how the oil sands are
affecting a people's way of life. The video gives a perspective from the other side of the
oil sands, as they are a major contributor to the economy of canada, they also have
changed the indigenous way of life in north alberta.The video length is approximately 90

Sandler, L. (2004). Addison Wesley Science 10. Pearson Publishing.

Much like Science Focus 10, Addison Wesley Science 10 is an Alberta Education
approved resource for use in the science 10 classroom. Being from a distinct publisher
and set of authors, the information within will be presented in a somewhat different way.
There will also be activities and labs that vary from the above textbook, providing
additional resources and ideas for teachers, and additional review questions to be
explored by students.

Resource Video (2011). Algae: The future Fuel. Retrieved from

To access this resource you will need to log into The video is produced
by CBC and looks at an unlikely way of producing a renewable fuel source. The video
explores alternatives to fossil fuels and could help with dealing with climate change.
Living algae in our oceans produce fuel which can be used to fuel our vehicles.
The video could be used to inspire students to think outside of the box, the video shines
light on the fact that there may be more effective and less invasive ways to use our
world to sustain our way of life. Video Length ~22 minutes.
Resource Video (n.d.). Biofuel. Retrieved from

To access this resource, you will need to log into The video looks at
biodiesel and all of its uses in our world. The video tends to focus on more fast-paced
applications, such as jet engine dragsters, biodiesel formula one cars completely
constructed by recycled and plant material, and jet planes running on biofuels. The
video offers an interesting look at how an alternative form of fuel production does not
need to be slow and boring but can also compete with high demand engines. I would
use this video to inspire students, the video has many fast paced and exciting vehicles
but they are powered and constructed in unconventional ways. I think this video is a
great way to show students that they things dont always need to be done the same
way. Video length ~24 minutes.

Teaching Resources:

Alberta Education. (2005). Science 10: Lesson 17 - Forms of Energy. Retrieved from

This online resource, accessed through the LearnAlberta website provides information,
questions, and short lab activities to help increase student engagement and learning
within the classroom. Located at the bottom of the page are links to additional resources
for teaching thermodynamics and specific types of energy.

Energy & Environment News. (2011). Energy 101: Electricity Generation. Received from

This video, free to access through YouTube, provides an animated introduction to

generation of electricity. This video introduces students to the basic concept of power
plant functionality. It also depicts examples of energy conversions which ties into the lab
proposed for this unit. Showing this video to students is a good introduction to unit
content, as well as to review concepts that have already been covered.

Georgia State University Department of Physics. (2000). HyperPhysics. Retrieved from

HyperPhysics is an online resource for student and teacher clarification of complex

physics topics. These topics extend beyond science 10 to also offer insight and aid into
physics 20 and 30 topics. In addition to physics, this resource also offers connections to
geography, chemistry, and biology. The website has videos, demonstration ideas,
application diagrams, and example problems beneficial for the student and the teacher.

Global News. (2016). Coal Industry Warns Against NDPs Plan. Retrieved from

Produced by Global News, this video provides a brief introduction to government and
industry concerns regarding a phase out of coal in Alberta. Though renewable energies
may be an appealing progression for power generation, it may have a drastic impact on
power bills for Albertans according to industry professionals.
Khan Academy,

Khan Academy is a valuable resource for teachers and students. It is a free to access
website that showcases video based lessons for topics across subject disciplines. This
can be used as background information prior to teaching a topic, as well as for students
who seek clarification of complex scientific topics. Two Khan Academy lessons we
believe would be valuable for the unit we have proposed are linked below:

Parc/I-Cares. (2014). Activities for Engaging High School Students in Energy Studies. Retrieved

This is an american resource which has a variety of activities to create engaging lessons
around energy for high school students. The resource has energy concepts and
activities in areas like your home, the school, transportation, and etc. This resource will
be useful when students have additional inquiries into the world of energy as well. There
are topics such as: explaining kilowatt/hour, what is a BTU, home energy audits, and
how to reduce your energy consumption.

Prince Ea. (2015). Man Vs Earth. Retrieved from

This YouTube video is of a rapper singing about the effects humans have had on the
earth in the short time that they have been here. We think that it will act as a good hook
for a class to discuss the impacts and effects that human beings have on nature.

Physics Girl. (2015). Are Perpetual Motion Machines Possible?. Retrieved from

This YouTube video was created by PBS Digital Studios and it looks at perpetual motion
machines and if they are possible. The video takes a scientific perspective on perpetual
motion, looks at the history of the machines, and considers why they are not possible.
The video will be an informative movie to watch after an activity in our unit plan where
we ask the students to design their own perpetual motion machines.

Shannon Phillips, MLA.

Shannon Phillips is the MLA for Lethbridge West, as well as the Minister for Environment
and Parks. Inviting her into the classroom could be a valuable learning experience for
the students. The Alberta movement to phase out coal by 2030 was an initiative headed
by her department. Because of this, she could be invited in to present the government
opinion on why moving forward with a coal phaseout is important for the future of
Alberta. Another way to incorporate the Minister into this unit would be to invite her to
attend the culminating activity. After students have completed their research and created
a proposal for how Alberta should generate its energy they will be presenting their
proposal. The impact and relevance of this assignment, and the unit in general, is
enhanced by inviting her to experience and contribute to the conversations and learning
Student Energy. (2015). Renewable Energy 101. Retrieved from

This YouTube video breaks down the different types of renewable energies and explains
how the definition of renewable energy differs from conventional energy sources like
coal. The video will be useful as a hook for our class when we introduce renewable

United Nations. (2014) Our Future. Retrieved from

This video is a small segment of a larger film produced by the United Nations. The film
addresses growing environmental concerns regarding human actions arounds the globe,
and ways in which we can limit our impact. This video calls upon global citizens to take a
stand and improve human actions to better our future. The video has an inspirational
tone that encourages individuals to embrace science, make global partnerships, and
work towards a future where human needs and environment coincide.


The Shift Project. (2014). Breakdown of Energy Generation by Energy Source. Retrieved from

This online resource compiled by The Shift Project, shows energy generation statistics
for countries all around the globe, compiling data into an easy to comprehend pie chart.
Available data ranges from 1980 to 2014. For the purpose of this unit, students will be
able to access this information to guide their inquiry based summative assessment task.
This will help students to analyze the use of coal power on a global scale, comparing
Canada to other leading nations. In addition to this, students will be able to visualize
what production forms are most common, and if those commonalities differ based on
geographic distribution. They will also use this tool as a starting point when selecting and
researching the power generation schematic of a different country for the final
performance task.

Student Energy. (n.d.) Energy Systems Map. Retrieved from

The Energy Systems Map provides a visual flowchart that allows students to gain a
greater understanding of different energy types. The map introduces students to
sources, production methods, transportation considerations, conversion processes,
product formation, product distribution, and usability. This is a great resource to utilize as
a review tool or as supplementary information after covering the Power Plant section of
the unit where students are presented with different forms of energy generation.
Tools4Teachers. (2005). Science 10 Multimedia. Retrieved from

This multimedia resource can be reached through access to LearnAlberta. It is

constructed with a science 10 focus. There are videos and interactive lab simulations for
thermodynamics, heat loss, chemical reactions, engine functions, efficiency, and
different types of energies which tie directly into the nature of the proposed unit design.
In addition to that, it covers topics from the other units included in science 10, making it a
useful resource with a wide application.
Unit Plan Timeline
Power Sources Game Lesson Plan
Grade/Subject: Science 10 Unit: (B) Should Coal Power Plants be Phased Out in Alberta?
Lesson Duration: 65 minutes
General Learning Outcomes:
Apply the principles of energy conservation and thermodynamics to investigate, describe and
predict efficiency of energy transformation in technological systems
Demonstrate sensitivity and responsibility in pursuing a balance between the needs of humans
and a sustainable environment
Specific Learning Outcomes:
compare the energy content of fuels used in thermal power plants in Alberta, in terms of costs,
benefits, efficiency and sustainability
explain the need for efficient energy conversions to protect our environment and to make
judicious use of natural resources (e.g., advancement in energy efficiency; Aboriginal
perspectives on taking care of natural resources)
work cooperatively with team members to develop and carry out a plan and to troubleshoot
problems as they arise
propose alternative solutions to a given practical problem, identify the potential strengths and
weaknesses of each and select one as the basis for a plan
Students will:
1. Get hands on experience with the challenge of powering a province
2. Observe some of the pros/cons of different energy sources
3. Observe the importance of costs and sustainability of power sources
Observations: Key Questions:
Who is participating? What types of energy should Alberta be investing in?
What challenges are there to choosing power sources?
Written/Performance Assessments:
Written reflection on experience.
Resource #1: Stats on albertas engery sources
* 1 resource sheet per group
* 10 sheets of cards (cut out) per group
* 1 dice per group
Introduction (5 min.):
Hook/Attention Grabber:
Congratulate the students on being chosen to decide the future of Albertas power sources.

Expectations for Learning and Behaviour:

Students will be working in group, review class behaviour and attitudes for group work and
conflicts if necessary.
Advance Organizer/Agenda:
Explain that we are going to be playing a game today where we choose power sources for Alberta and
see how successful our plans are. The goal is to power all of Alberta and have the smallest
environmental impact possible.

Transition to Body:
Get students into groups. If they already have table groups that would be fine, or use cards or
some other method. If there are grouping concerns then they should be picked ahead of time.
Body (55 min.):
Learning Activity #1: Show how one round of the game works by doing an example on the
smartboard (10min)
Before proceeding ensure at least one person at each table knows the rules. If students do not
understand do another round to ensure understanding.

Assessments/Differentiation: Having a visual representation on the board will help many

students. Not everyone needs to understand every aspect as their groups will help them out.

Learning Activity #2: Play the game (40min)

Instructor will have a powerpoint on the board directing the game, give the groups about 4
minutes per phase(adjust as needed).
Note: Be sure to remind students that their initial setup is proportional to Albertas current
power sources. Most power plants generate much less power than what is listed so the cards
are more like groups of power plants.

Learning Activity #3 Class Debrief (5min)

Class discussion on what what they learned. Was it hard not to use coal? Why did you start
with 30 coal? (because Alberta has invested in mines) What strategies seemed effective or not?
What surprised you?

Accommodation can be made for students with low literacy levels by using different
modalities such as a video, drawing, or audio recording.
Closure ( 5 min.):
Write reflection prompt on board for students to answer. The prompt will also be verbally

Students will do a short reflection on their experience with the game. What did you learn from
this activity and what are you taking away from it? Did you like the game? why or why not?

Transition To Next Lesson: Hopefully this game gave the student ideas for their final project.
They must come up with an energy plan for alberta based on another country's plan. Remind
them of this.

To produce enough energy to power the province while producing as little greenhouse gases,
nuclear waste as possible while preserving ecosystems. At the end the class will compare who
had the least impact in each area.

Each group starts with:
Resources (Already recorded on Resource sheet)
10 ecosystems
20 coal
10 gas
Energy Sources (They start with these cards) This is representative of albertas current
energy source distribution
6 Coal plants
7 Gas plants
4 Hydroelectric dams
3 Wind farms
1 Biomass plant
The rest of the cards are in stacks on the table. These are the cards that they groups are able to
buy later.

BUY SOURCES (4minutes):
1. Each group receives 3 billion dollars.
2. Each group can buy any cards they can afford.
Any money not spent is saved for next round.

USE SOURCES x2 (4minutes each):

1. Teacher will draw a random power usage card. (between 8000MW and 11000MW, these
are the actual amounts used in Alberta)
2. Each group must use any power plants they own to meet the provinces power need.
a. Each group must pay any costs associated with using a plant in order to use it
e.g. 1 coal and a greenhouse gas for coal power plant
Put any power plants you use in one spot to show youve use them that
You may only use each power plant once per phase.
If a group cannot produce enough power then they must use all the power
plants they can and receive 2 billion instead of 3 billion next round.

REPEAT 5 times or until time's up

Resource Sheet: Fill out each row at the end of that phase

PHASE Ecosystems Coal Natural Gas Greenhouse Gases Nuclear Waste
Starting 10 30 10 0 0

1 Ecosystems Coal Natural Gas Greenhouse Gases Nuclear Waste


2 Ecosystems Coal Natural Gas Greenhouse Gases Nuclear Waste


3 Ecosystems Coal Natural Gas Greenhouse Gases Nuclear Waste


4 Ecosystems Coal Natural Gas Greenhouse Gases Nuclear Waste


5 Ecosystems Coal Natural Gas Greenhouse Gases Nuclear Waste

Print out 10 for each group and cut out.

Cost: Cost:
$1 Billion $1 Billion $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
Lose 1 Ecosystem Lose 1 Ecosystem
Get 10 coal Get 10 Natural Gas

Coal Mine Natural Gas Field $1 Billion


Use: Use:
No Use No Use
$1 Billion Cost: Cost: Cost:
$2 Billion $4 Billion $1 Billion
Lose 1 ecosystem

Natural Gas
Plant Coal Plant Nuclear Plant

Use: Use: Use:

+ 1000 MW + 1000 MW + 2000 MW
- 1 Natural Gas - 1 Coal + Nuclear Waste Use:
+ 1 Greenhouse gas + 2 Greenhouse gas + 1 Greenhouse gas + 500MW
Cost: Cost: Cost:
$1 Billion Cost: $1 Billion
$1 Billion $1 Billion
+ 1 Greenhouse
Biomass Plant
Geothermal Wind Farm
Note: You may only have 2 Solar Station
Biomass plants due to lack of
Use: Roll a die
Use: Roll a die 1 = 0MW
Use: + 500 MW 1,2 = 0MW 2,3,4,5,6 =
+ 250 MW + 1 Greenhouse gas 3,4,5,6 = +500MW +250MW
Commented [HC1]: xtra, To be deleted
Names of Instructors: Corey Hornick, Craig McCarthy, Dakota Mattson
Grade: Ten, Science 10
Activity: Understanding Energy

The mini lab lesson will give students an understanding of how energy exists in many forms. The students
will also be able to observe that energy can be transformed from one form to another. The lab relates back
to our overarching question by demonstrating that there is more than one way to transfer energy and there
is more than one way to produce electricity. The lab also demonstrates how energy is never 100% in its
transformation. To relate back to power plants, the process of electrical generation cannot be 100%
efficient. Students will also be able to collaborate and come to a conclusion based on their results of the
experiment and suggest alternative ideas to improve the results of the experiment.
Students will understand that energy comes in various forms such as chemical, kinetic, potential, and
thermal (10-B2.1K). The students will also understand that energy is lost to components like sound and
heat (10-B3.3K) and energy is not all useful in a process, such as the heat escaping in all directions when
boiling water (10-B3.4K). The students will also be developing their skills into scientific inquiry (10-B3.0A),
the lab will give students the opportunity to share results and understand that there may be more than one
way to interpret results. Since the students will be working in groups they will be able to develop their
collaboration skills and how to work with others (10-B4.0A). Students will develop their skills in running an
experiment that will allow them to come to a conclusion and also suggest possible alternatives to improving
the experiment (10-B3.5s and 3.7s)
GL0s/SL0s addressed:
10-B2.1K, 10-B3.3K, 10-B3.4K, 10-B3.0A, 10-B4.0A, 10-B3.5S, 10-B3.7S

Pre-lesson Considerations
Lesson Overview:
Students will need to have an understanding of energy conversion processes, which will be covered in our
lesson surrounding perpetual motion machines. In our unit plan the students will cover various forms of
energy production as well as how energy can be transformed from one form to another prior to this lab.
Materials and Preparations:
Demonstration: Safety goggles, apron, tweezers, pure sodium, pure potassium, water, large beaker.

(3) hot plates, (3) Erlenmeyer flasks with water.

(6) bouncy balls, (6) medium-bounce balls, (6) solid plastic balls (no bounce).
(6) AA Batteries, (6) foil conductors, (6) light bulbs.
(6) hot wheel cars or equivalent vehicles
(12) beakers (6) filled with vinegar (100 ml), and (6) filled with water (100 ml),
2 tbsp of vinegar per group
(6) thermometers
Safety considerations/factors/equipment required:
Lab: The lab being performed is relatively safe and will not require any safety equipment. The chemicals
that we will be working with today are harmless and can be found in the household kitchen. The only area
of danger will be with the temperature of the hot plate and the boiling water.
Demonstration: For the demonstration safety is a concern. Since we will be demonstrating with highly
reactive metals, we will require safety goggles, nitrile gloves, and aprons. The teachers will ensure that the
students are at a safe distance from the experiment but it will be located where everyone can observe.

How will students be made aware of the safety considerations?

Lab: Students will be notified of the danger of burns at the boiling water station. Students will be informed
that they do not need to touch any of the equipment and they only have to observe at this station. If there
are any concerns or issues please notify the teachers as soon as possible.
Demonstration: Students will be warned prior to the demonstration of the danger of this experiment and
how it should not be tried at home.


What is the teacher doing? What are the students doing?

Introduction Essential Question: How does the world show us During the demonstration, the students will
there is always a presence of energy? only be observing due to safety concerns.

How will you Demonstration: Alkali metals in water. When prompted, students will discuss their
engage students? own observations and predictions.
We will do a demonstration of placing two pure alkali
metals, sodium and potassium, one at a time into
water. The experiment will demonstrate the power of
Connections to stored potential energy. The demonstration will be After the demonstration students will
followed by a class discussion of what forms of participate in the class discussion.
learning? energy the students just witnessed. The students
will likely mention the obvious, chemical energy, but
I will mention the additional forms of energy
produced: electrical, sound, etc.
Time: 20 mins Steps:

1. Notify the students of the danger of the

procedure, be sure to explain how this
should not be done at home or outside of
the science classroom. Be sure the
students are a respectable distance from
the experiment.
2. Have a large glass container on a stand so
the students can see the experiment taking
place. Make sure the glass is clear and
does not obstruct the view of the
3. Place a small piece of pure sodium into the
water and observe with the class what
4. Have a discussion about what was
observed. Be sure to ask students what
they observed. What forms of energy were
released? (chemical potential) Be sure to
mention the sound and light that is
5. Ask the students what they predict will
occur with the next metal, potassium.
6. Place the potassium in the water and
observe the reaction that occurs.
7. Discuss with the class what they observed
and ask them if they were surprised in the
difference in reactions.
8. Show the students the reaction that is
occurring between the metal and the water
to produce sodium hydroxide and hydrogen

Following the experiment, we will show the students

the materials that they will be working with today
and the objective for todays lab, we will discuss the
essential question for todays class (see above).

Objective: To understand that energy is present all

around us, in multiple forms.

Student Materials and Stations outlined below

This experiment will relate to the students

understanding of forms of energy and give them a
chance to apply their real-world application of the
understandings they developed in lessons. Students
will have an opportunity to explore the transformation
and exchange of energy that occurs in various

Groups will be predetermined at the start of the year

as we will place them in consistent lab groups.

Transition Before the students are allowed to start their

considerations experiments be sure to ask if they understand the
objective of todays lab, and address any additional

If there are any students with physical disabilities,

LDs, or any other form of exceptionalities, we will be
sure to discuss with them before class what will be
happening today addressing any alterations or
specific areas of concern.

Activity 1 The teacher(s) will be circulating through the class There will be different stations for the students
as students complete the work associated with each to work at, depending on the number of
station. students in the classroom will determine how
many duplicate stations will be needed. The
Time: 25 mins students will be split into predetermined lab
groups of 4 to complete their lab together.
Teachers will ask prompting questions and clarify Groups will rotate through stations in a
expectations where necessary. predetermined order.

The third station will have a lot of

different materials. It is the students
responsibility to explore ways to
demonstrate the presence of energy in
these objects, or to show ways that the
energy can be transformed from one
form to the other. When experimenting
be sure students note all the things
they hear and/or see.

Station #1 Boiling Water

This station will be the least inquiry based. The

teacher will set up the hot plate and put an
Erlenmeyer flask on it to boil some water (be
sure to reiterate safety concerns). Student will
be required to answer the following questions
at this station:

How many energy transfers can you

identify in this system?
Do you think the transfer of energy is
100% efficient in this system? If not,
where do you think the remaining
energy is loss to?
If you believe the energy transfer is not
100% efficient, suggest some ways to
improve the efficiency of this system.

Station #2 Vinegar and Baking Soda

At the next station, students will be given two

beakers, one containing 100 ml of vinegar, and
the other containing 100 ml of water. They will
also be given a tablespoon of baking soda and
a thermometer. Students will be asked to note
the temperature of the two liquids before and
after the reactions.


Before combining the baking soda to

the liquids, predict how the
temperature of substance after the
reaction will change.

Baking Soda in Water:

Document temperature of the water

before combining the baking soda.
After combining the baking soda to
water, what do you observe? Is there
any temperature change? If so, what
kind of reaction is it?
Baking Soda in Vinegar:

Document temperature of the vinegar

before combining the baking soda.
After combining the baking soda to
vinegar, what do you observe? Is there
any temperature change? If so, what
kind of reaction is it?

Comparing the Reactions:

Do you think these reactions are

different or the same to the one that
was demonstrated at the start of class?
Were you surprised by the change in
temperature? Explain.
How could this reaction be useful in
our day to day lives?

Station #3 Inquiry

Students will be given materials including:

3 types of balls
a toy car
a battery, a light bulb, and a foil
Students will be asked to find ways to
demonstrate changes in energy using these
items. The students will be prompted to use the
materials however they see fit to demonstrate
the types of energy:

And any other form of energy they can
demonstrate with these objects

Students will be prompted to record how they

demonstrated the different types of energy listed
above. The students will also need to answer
these questions:

In the experiments that you carried out

was the transfer of energy 100%. What
energy did you observe as wasted
energy in your experiments? (Think
about all the wasted forms of energy
we discussed in class.)

Teachers note: if students are

struggling start with the ball
experiment, drop each ball from the
same height and have the students
observe what occurred. One ball will
bounce back almost to its original
position, one will only bounce half up,
and the third will not bounce at all.
Where does the potential energy go in
each of these cases? Some will be lost
to sound, some to heat, and some to
deformation of the ball.
Can you think of real-world scenarios
where this knowledge of energy can be
Does the wasted energy apply to
situations in your day-to-day life?

Teacher note: the car will lose speed due to

friction and noise, why doesnt the car roll
Were there any temperature changes
noted in your experiments?

Transition Students will return all of their materials from the

considerations experiment into the designated boxes.

Conclusion The teacher(s) ask the key essential question that Students will participate in a discussion.
we had today in class: How does the world show us
- How will you there is always a presence of energy? The students will be required to hand in their
worksheets next class as well as the additional
know if questions that are answered at the end of the
students sheet.
learned what We will have a class discussion once the lab is
done, each group will discuss one of the three Concluding Questions:
you intended? stations and discuss what they observed.
Either these questions are to be completed if
- Connections Was there anything that surprised them at you finish the experiment early, or they will be
to next their stations? completed for homework.
lesson? Did todays experiment confirm anything that
had previously learned in class? Discuss one thing that surprised you
Were there any stations that reminded you in todays experiments.
- Connections Did you learn anything today that
of your perpetual motion machines?
back to key could be applied to a type of energy
question generation we learned about to make
it more efficient?
Time:10 minutes Suggest a way humans could
produce power other than the
conventional ways discussed in class.
List one thing you did not like about
todays experiment.
Students will be given a worksheet to be handed in and used as summative assessment. On the worksheet,
there will be some concluding questions to have the students explore what was learned today and how it
further deepened their understanding of energy. The worksheet will also allow the teachers to understand
how the experiment went and if it was successful. We decided to include a question that supplies feedback
on the experiment that will allow us to assess our teaching choices. The experiment will also allow us to
formatively assess the students answers as to how well they understand the concepts taught in the class.
Extension and extra time activity: There will be additional questions the students need to answer and a
conclusion they will need to elaborate on for the lab. If students are done early they will be able to work on
the writeup for the lab. If the students do not complete the write up in class, they will be able to do it for