MA schools expected to teach about energy, renewables.

Submitted by Shawn Reeves
2006-04-18 20:58:28

There are many goals from the Massachusetts Science and Technology/Engineering Curriculum Framework you might consider teaching in the context of energy production and use.
According to David Driscoll, Commissioner of Education for the Commonwealth of Massachuestts, "this framework presents the guidelines for learning, teaching, and assessment in science and technology/engineering for the Commonwealth’s public schools. Based on scholarship, sound research, and effective practice, the framework will enable teachers and administrators to strengthen curriculum and instruction from prekindergarten through grade 12."
The full document is available at

Samples include required concepts and approaches suggested for contextual learning. Teachers: Please review the document to learn which standards apply to your grade and subject.

  • Identify the earth’s principal sources of internal and external energy, e.g., radioactive decay, gravity, solar energy.

  • Describe the components of the electromagnetic spectrum and give examples of its impact on our lives.

  • Explain how the transfer of energy through radiation, conduction, and convection contributes to global atmospheric processes, e.g., storms, winds.

  • Describe how the inclination of the incoming solar radiation can impact the amount ofenergy received by a given surface area.

  • Numerous earth resources are used to sustain human affairs. The abundance and accessibility of these resources can influence their use.

  • Recognize, describe, and differentiate between renewable (e.g., solar, wind, water, biomass) and nonrenewable (e.g., fossil fuels, nuclear [Ura-235]) sources of energy.

  • Explain the advantage and limitations of renewable sources of energy.
    Explain the advantage and limitations of nonrenewable sources of energy.
    Describe ways in which people have tried to control the use of renewable and nonrenewable sources of energy, e.g., scientific advances, prices.
    Describe the effects on the environment of using both renewable and nonrenewable sources of energy.

  • Describe ways in which scientists are addressing effects on the environment of using both renewable and nonrenewable sources of energy, e.g., creation of new technologies.

  • Identify the basic forms of energy (light, sound, heat, electrical, and magnetic). Recognize that energy is the ability to cause motion or create change.

  • Give examples of how energy can be transferred from one form to another.

  • Recognize that electricity in circuits requires a complete loop through which an electrical current can pass, and that electricity can produce light, heat, and sound.

  • Differentiate between potential and kinetic energy. Identify situations where kinetic energy is transformed into potential energy and vice versa.

  • Recognize that heat is a form of energy and that temperature change results from adding or taking away heat from a system.

  • Recognize synthesis, decomposition, single displacement, double displacement, and neutralization reactions.

  • Explain the relationship between temperature and average kinetic energy.

  • Interpret and provide examples that illustrate the law of conservation of energy.

  • Describe the relationship among energy, work, and power both conceptually and quantitatively.

  • Differentiate among conduction, convection, and radiation in a thermal system, e.g., heating and cooling a house, cooking.

  • Identify and explain the tools, controls, and properties of materials used in a thermal system, e.g., thermostats, R Values, thermal conductivity, temperature sensors.

  • Design and build a hot water solar energy system consisting of a collector, hoses, pump (optional), and storage tank. After it has been heated, calculate the heat gains achieved through solar heating.

  • Design and build a solar cooker for various food substances. Each student should design their solar cooker for her or his specific food.

  • Describe the different instruments that can be used to measure voltage, e.g., voltmeter, multimeter.

  • Explain how to measure voltage, resistance, and current in electrical systems.

  • Design and create an electrical system with either motors or lights. All of the motors in the system will operate at different speeds, or the lamps will operate at different intensities.

  • Benefits of science and technology/engineering.

  • Unintended negative effects from uses of science and technology/engineering.

  • How science and technology address negative effects from uses of science and technology/engineering.

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