The Digital Notebook is a space to hold your thoughts, questions, and growing understanding throughout this Unit. You will be able to access it from every Module. Use The Digital Notebook to jot your thinking, take notes, or as a space to develop your writing. You can print and export it anytime, and at the end of lesson 8 you’ll be reminded to save a copy for yourself.
Lights On! Ike Hoover Electrifies the White House by Cynthia Simmelink Becker
A visualisation from the infographic book for children, Animal Kingdom book which will be published in April. Illustration by Nicholas Blechman
When my daughter was three and out for a walk on an autumn day, she pointed at a spider’s web and explained what it was. “Daddy, it’s a website,” she said. It was a visual way to describe a word she had heard but didn’t yet understand. And information graphics and visualisations give us a method to do the reverse: use images to describe a story in a way that we can understand. Read More
Standards & BlueTech Alignment
|Anchor Phenomenon||The Hoover Dam|
|Essential Question||Should water power our energy future?|
|Student Action / Outreach||Students reach out to civic leaders to campaign for sustainable energy.|
|Career Connection||Engineer, Hydrologist|
|Blue Tech Alignment / Ocean Literacy Principles (OLP)||OLP 3: The ocean is a major influence on weather and climate. (3-5)|
|Water Issue(s) Addressed||Conservation, Sustainable Clean Energy|
|Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)||Assessment: 4-ESS3-1. Obtain and combine information to describe that energy and fuels are derived from natural resources and their uses affect the environment. [Clarification Statement: Examples of renewable energy resources could include wind energy, water behind dams, and sunlight; nonrenewable energy resources are fossil fuels and fissile materials. Examples of environmental effects could include loss of habitat due to dams, loss of habitat due to surface mining, and air pollution from burning of fossil fuels.]
Link to Evidence Statement
|Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)|
Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.
Determine the main idea of a text and explain how it is supported by key details; summarize the text.
Introduce a topic or text clearly, state an opinion, and create an organizational structure in which related ideas are grouped to support the writer’s purpose.
Develop the topic with facts, definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples related to the topic.
|Visual Arts||VA:Cr1.1.4a Brainstorm multiple approaches to a creative art or design problem.
VA:Cr1.2.4a Collaboratively set goals and create artwork that is meaningful and has purpose to the makers.
Progression of Modules
Students explore the Hoover Dam and do a home energy audit to consider how we use energy and what role energy plays in our lives.
Students explore different types of energy, ways that energy is transferred, and different systems.
Inquiry Deep Dive
Students read texts about different ways humans use energy for a variety of purposes.
Students are introduced to different careers in renewable energy such as a hydrologist, mechanical, civil and electrical engineer.
Students create infographics to share about the use of renewable or nonrenewable energy resources.
Engineering & Design
Students complete a design project that demonstrates a form of renewable energy with low environmental impact.
Reflection & Assessment
In this module, students explore their everyday energy use. They do an energy audit around their home to determine what takes energy, and hypothesize where that energy comes from. They start to notice and wonder about the energy used by different everyday objects and model their theories about how that energy gets to them.
The following videos are intended to offer students a sense of the sheer power of water. The first two videos offer waves only, the third features surfers on monster waves. This provides students a better sense of the size and speed of the waves. Kayaking is a narrative short film and Victoria Falls is a compilation showing the power of waterfalls. The water pressure video shows a demonstration with a firefighters hose and the Jet pack video features a world champion and how water can literally lift someone up into the air.
Note: Both wave videos are quite long, but viewing the entire video is not necessary.
After video, capture/chart – What are we noticing and wondering about the power of water?
Students will learn about how energy works and how various technologies that use water for power are developing around the world. They will write claims and decide if water should power our energy future, and if so, how.
Launch the Anchoring Phenomenon
Image Source – click here
Description of Phenomenon: The Hoover Dam represents both a relic of the past and the future of water power.
Ask students the following questions about the anchor phenomenon. Be sure not to give anything away at this point. This is a time to elicit students’ wonderings and gather prior knowledge.
Introduce the essential question:
Should water power our energy future?
Have students write an initial claim in their inquiry notebooks based on their prior knowledge and give them a chance to use any evidence they may already have on the issue to back up their reasoning.
Explain that they will come back to explain this phenomenon over the course of the unit and their initial claims may change as they gain more information.
In this unit, students will be reading to understand what energy is, where it comes from, and to gather facts and data to help them understand energy usage and the effect on our planet. Each module will have suggested read alouds to engage them in thinking and talking about the information and issues concerning energy. If possible, links to digital read alouds are provided.
Independent reading should be designed for immersion in information and issues of energy use. The understanding students construct and their evolving beliefs about energy use will propel their work in the writing workshop. For this work, students will need access to a range of texts about renewable and nonrenewable energy sources, energy usage, and the effects on our planet. Each module suggests print and digital texts as examples of thoughtful options. You will need to check your library, science textbooks, and gather online options to fuel the work.
To build on student prior knowledge, ask students to think about different everyday objects at home and at school that use energy, such as a toaster that heats up when plugged into an electrical outlet, a tablet computer whose bright screen shines using a battery, and a car that moves using gasoline.
Create a class chart of all of the ways that students use energy at home and/or school.
Introduce the Question to Investigate: How do we use energy and what role does energy play in our lives?
Students share what they think as the teacher allows all possible responses. Again, students are formulating their inquiry around what they think they already know and then seeking how they will find out through the unit.
Students then take a look around their home to guess what kinds of energy vampires (or items that suck out energy) they might have. Here is one example guide for them to use – click here
In this unit, students will be reading a mix of nonfiction and realistic fiction focused on sources of energy. They will explore human’s dependence on energy, and understand the distinction between sustainable and unsustainable sources, and preferences for one or the other, with an emphasis on energy generated by water, using details to construct big ideas, and form and state their own opinions about those ideas.
In Module 1, the suggested read alouds will open conversations about our growing dependence on energy, using a secondary source of energy we take for granted – electricity – as an example. The suggested texts move children from a time before electricity to the first homes to be lit by electricity, to its prevalence in modern life, and then, times when electricity fails us. As you read, invite students to think and talk about how we’ve become dependent on electricity, and engage them in thinking about energy sources for electricity, and the implications of our dependence.
Possible read aloud texts:
Peppe the Lamplighter by Elisa Bartone
Timeless Thomas: How Thomas Edison Changed Our Lives by Gene Barretta
Lights On! Ike Hoover Electrifies the White House by Cynthia Simmelink Becker
Blackout by John Rocco
Chart student thoughts, and encourage them to hold on to this thinking as they head into independent reading to research energy. Invite them to add new thinking to the chart based on their research.
Shared and Small Group Reading
Recommendations for leveled and Fourth Grade NGSS-aligned texts for shared and small group reading are included in the Blue Tech materials matrix. Shared reading instruction for this unit should include the overarching meaning making strategies as outlined in this unit.
Additionally, shared and small group reading should include focus points specific to the nonfiction genre. This genre specific instruction will support children’s meaning making in both read aloud and independent reading. Focus points for the nonfiction genre shared and small group reading in Fourth Grade may include any focus points included in the previous grade level which require added support, and:
As children read independently and research energy, have them keep an inquiry notebook to jot their thoughts, and any intriguing data and facts. As they will be drawing from their data and facts to develop infographics, teach them how to cite the source as they gather. You might also have them add the page number if pulling data from a print text. This way, they’ll be better able to double check their data should the need arise.
See #9 in the link below for a sample of how to cite data in preparation for their infographic:
Possible research support:
Students add their ideas about where they think energy comes from to their inquiry notebooks after reading the texts and learning from the research supports.
In this unit, children will be writing to share compelling information about energy in an effort to persuade readers to consider advocating for sustainable sources. To entice students to engage with data and information thoughtfully, they will be focused on creating infographics.
Module 1 begins with explorations of infographics as mentor texts. Choose a variety of infographics for children to explore. Give them time to read, reread, discuss and enjoy. Then, have them begin to sort the infographics:
Next, children dig deeper into infographics, focusing on their elements, inclusive of both information and design:
For more information on infographics – click here
Possible mentor texts for this work include:
Earth by the Numbers by Steve Jenkins
Insects by the Numbers by Steve Jenkins
Solar System by the Numbers by Steve Jenkins
Infographics: How It Works “Our Planet” by Jon Richards and Ed Simkins
Awesome Space: 40 Amazing Infographics For Kids by Jenn Dlugos and Charlie Hatton
Be sure to study strong examples of infographics, and some that don’t work as well. Study each to determine the difference:
Engage students in an energy audit. Identify things you use at home or school that you really need or don’t need energy for. Try this home energy audit from the Oregon Department of Energy – click here
Begin an Earth Hour challenge with students to see if they can reduce their energy use – click here
How does energy affect your everyday life?
Complete the Phenomena Board with the class and share back what they did and what they figured out. They make a connection from their learning in this module back to the Anchor Phenomenon.
|Investigative Phenomenon||Question to investigate||What we did||What we figured out||Connections to the phenomenon||Questions we still have|
|Home/School energy use.
People use devices that require energy to power them.
|How do we use energy and what role does energy play in our lives?||Explore different things that need energy.
Read about how humans use energy.
|Energy powers things we use everyday.
Energy use has evolved over time. We use energy everyday in various ways without even thinking about it.
|The Hoover Dam provides energy to power many of the devices we use daily.||Complete with students.|