See Related: Science Addressing NGSS
  1. Sara Lacy
  2. Senior Scientist
  3. Focus on Energy
  4. https://foeworkshop.terc.edu
  5. TERC
  1. Sally Crissman
  2. Senior Science Educator
  3. Focus on Energy
  4. https://foeworkshop.terc.edu
  5. TERC
  1. Roger Tobin
  2. http://rtobin.phy.tufts.edu/
  3. Professor of Physics
  4. Focus on Energy
  5. https://foeworkshop.terc.edu
  6. Tufts University
Public Discussion
  • Icon for: Sara Lacy

    Sara Lacy

    Presenter
    May 14, 2017 | 08:06 p.m.

    Thanks for visiting the Focus on Energy video!  We’re in the 3rd year of a 4-year project.  We have spent 2 1/2 years developing, testing, and revising an innovative set of resources for teaching and learning about energy in upper elementary school (teacher workshop, classroom activities, formative and summative assessments). As the video shows, this is “three-dimensional” learning---the students are actively using science practices to reason about energy forms and flows.

     

    This summer we begin a pilot study. We will measure students’ and teachers’ content knowledge and their ability to use the model of energy they are developing to “tell a story” about energy flow. We are also currently collecting classroom video with the aim of developing classroom video cases.  We’d welcome suggestions about how we might make the most of the pilot study both to measure and broaden the impact of the project.

  • Icon for: Jennie Lyons

    Jennie Lyons

    Facilitator
    May 15, 2017 | 01:58 p.m.

    What a fabulous way for students to embody the concepts of energy and energy transfer. You mentioned the students "think they are scientists."  Are there any pre/post surveys about the students' identities as scientists?

  • Icon for: Sally Crissman

    Sally Crissman

    Co-Presenter
    May 15, 2017 | 02:47 p.m.

    The comment about students thinking like scientists came from a teacher using Focus on Energy in her 5th grade classroom. We have not done pre-post probes into students' attitudes toward themselves as scientists although we would like this information. Are there instruments you like?

    Sally 

  • Icon for: Sally Crissman

    Sally Crissman

    Co-Presenter
    May 15, 2017 | 02:58 p.m.

    This is a question for viewers:

    Teachers are using Focus on Energy in 4th and 5th grade classrooms. Do you think a framework such as the Energy Tracking Lens,representations such as "cubes" and "energy bars," and an emphasis on generating and using a model of energy, are compatible with more typical or traditional upper elementary energy units?

    Sally

  • Icon for: Kathy Kennedy

    Kathy Kennedy

    PISA2 Program Manager
    May 15, 2017 | 06:33 p.m.

    This project is powerful! I was impressed with the multidimensional approach to exploration and explanation. It seems the use of the cubes is an engaging way to see student understanding and allow them to share that with classmates. It also provides a quick visual formative assessment tool to teachers who can quickly scan and see where a group is at with their thinking. 

    I think the use of the cubes or energy bars is a conceptual way to describe energy and its transfer. I believe it would complement typical approaches to energy transfer such as one might see with ecosystems and food webs.

  • Icon for: Sally Crissman

    Sally Crissman

    Co-Presenter
    May 16, 2017 | 09:33 a.m.

    Yes, observing students narrate their energy story as they place, move, and flip the energy cubes is a formative assessment dream!

    Because energy flow is a process, telling the energy story in writing is more challenging for students. For students learning English, manipulating the cubes helps them demonstrate and clarify their thinking and practice developing language. Once learners "cube" a scenario in small groups, then for the full class, and listen to classmates present their cube stories and respond to classmates' questions, all students have multiple opportunities for exploration and reasoning about energy flow, transfers and transformation. And the teacher has access to a trove of formative assessment data.

  • Icon for: Ben Sayler

    Ben Sayler

    Facilitator
    May 16, 2017 | 04:54 p.m.

    I very much like the idea of the energy tracking framework being incorporated with what teachers already teach. I can also imagine curriculum developers adapting existing curricular materials to incorporate the framework and integrating the framework into new instructional materials. What would be the best way for teachers and curriculum developers outside the project to learn more about the framework and the lessons you're learning?

  • Icon for: Sara Lacy

    Sara Lacy

    Presenter
    May 17, 2017 | 09:23 a.m.

    Thanks for your comment.  We set out to develop a framework that could be used across disciplines, and in connection with existing curriculum units.  So far, we have focused primarily on physical science, and we have devoted much attention to developing a sequence of activities that enables students to develop language and representations and a web of foundational energy ideas that they can use and expand in other contexts and future studies.  We are  beginning to develop examples  that show how the same tools and ideas might be incorporated in  contexts that arise in other elementary science curricula.  

    Our materials will be available to the public next year, after our pilot study, at focusonenergy.terc.edu.  In the meantime you can find more about the project at foeworkshop.terc.edu.

     

  • Icon for: Ben Sayler

    Ben Sayler

    Facilitator
    May 17, 2017 | 06:50 p.m.

    Excellent. I'm excited for your materials to become public. Could you provide more detail about the design of the pilot study? Are you using a pre and post format? With control groups? Or is your design perhaps more qualitative?

  • Icon for: Roger Tobin

    Roger Tobin

    Co-Presenter
    May 18, 2017 | 09:36 a.m.

    Thanks for your questions. The pilot study will use both pre/post comparisons -- we have some initial data that is very encouraging -- and comparisons of classes using the Focus on Energy curriculum with control classes in the same districts using a "business as usual" curriculum.

  • Icon for: Ben Sayler

    Ben Sayler

    Facilitator
    May 18, 2017 | 11:20 p.m.

    Very cool. Thanks for sharing your project! Good luck.

  • Icon for: Kip Glazer

    Kip Glazer

    Facilitator
    May 17, 2017 | 09:48 p.m.

    As a former English teacher, I loved your statement about giving the students the language to tell a story! I also loved the use of manipulatives and posters! Are there any other topics that you think might be appropriate for this pedagogical model? 

  • Icon for: Roger Tobin

    Roger Tobin

    Co-Presenter
    May 18, 2017 | 09:34 a.m.

    Thanks for viewing the video and your interest. The Inquiry Project uses a very similar pedagogical approach to the study of matter. While we haven't tried it yet, it seems to us that the "cubes" representation could also be useful in studying the flow and transformations of matter, for example in the water cycle or ecosystems.

  • Icon for: Deborah Hanuscin

    Deborah Hanuscin

    Professor
    May 18, 2017 | 09:40 a.m.

    What a great tool for teachers to meet the standards and address a difficult topic-- the cubes are an interesting representation!

  • Icon for: Sally Crissman

    Sally Crissman

    Co-Presenter
    May 18, 2017 | 11:29 a.m.

    Deborah, The energy bars (glimpsed briefly in the video) and cubes have been effective tools for representing a process students can't observe directly (it's pretty exciting to see how much students like using them). We've seen students use bars and cubes readily and decisions about how many bars to color or how to manipulate cubes provokes productive student to student conversation. Given a new scenario, we  see that students may quickly move to the energy story without being explicit about the observation or indicator or part of their energy model that justifies coloring energy bars or moving cubes. 

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    susanna peyton

    Parent
    May 18, 2017 | 04:58 p.m.

    This is so cool, students learning by engaging, asking the questions, creating the visuals.  

    I love the energy cubes that can represent a whole new dimension of change (of state of energy) so simply.  

  • Icon for: Alex Jinks

    Alex Jinks

    Undergraduate Student
    May 21, 2017 | 01:42 p.m.

    This project does an impressive job of making something so abstract  a real, tangible experience.  I love the use of manipulatives, as well as their effectiveness in helping students grasp a truly complex concept.  Additionally, I found it exciting that the teachers were able to relinquish some of their power and let the students take responsibility of their own learning.  The project clearly broadens students understanding of complex science concepts, but also allows for rich opportunities for social interaction, communication, and so forth.  Definitely an exceptional project.

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    Teagan Hanlon

    Undergraduate Student
    May 22, 2017 | 12:38 a.m.

    This is a great tool that can be used in many classrooms!  I was wondering if you introduce the topic of energy transfer after a unit of energy, as this would allow the students to have the knowledge readily available for this unit.  Do you talk about parallel and series circuits during this unit or before? I recently have used squishy circuits and feel this may be a good play to talk about energy and how it moves though conductors.  This is a great project and one I had not thought about until now. Teachers could even use this to talk about what in their specific community transfers energy.   Thank you for sharing this model!

  • Further posting is closed as the showcase has ended.