Academic journal article Science Scope

Tapping into Energy

Academic journal article Science Scope

Tapping into Energy

Article excerpt

Given that the word "energy" captures the essence of the middle school classroom, it seems only appropriate that this month's issue of Science Scope delivers an assortment of articles that focus on the topic of energy. After all, this age group is notorious for its spontaneous and ebullient behavior, which can be simultaneously entertaining and challenging.

The topic of energy is one that touches every middle school science classroom regardless of the science discipline taught. A Framework for K-12 Science Education identifies Energy and Matter as one of the seven major crosscutting concepts that span all science disciplines, stating that middle school students learn that "matter is conserved because atoms are conserved in physical and chemical processes." They also learn that, within a natural or designed system, "the transfer of energy drives the motion and/or cycling of matter" (NRC 2012).

The concept of Energy and Matter is often tied to another crosscutting concept--that of Systems and System Models. By connecting our lessons to these crosscutting concepts, we provide the scaffolding necessary for mastering disciplinary core ideas and assist our students in comprehending the complexity of natural and human-made systems that depend on energy to fuel them. This systems thinking prepares our students for jobs of the future, including those of scientists and engineers who track the flow of energy through systems, a crucial process if we are to understand how we use energy. …

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