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Where does the energy come from?

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Where does the energy come from?

Sensemaking Checklist

What is Sensemaking?

Sensemaking is actively trying to figure out how the world works (science) or how to design solutions to problems (engineering). Students do science and engineering through the science and engineering practices. Engaging in these practices necessitates that students be part of a learning community to be able to share ideas, evaluate competing ideas, give and receive critique, and reach consensus. Whether this community of learners is made up of classmates or family members, students and adults build and refine science and engineering knowledge together.

Lesson Snapshot

Elementary students, as scientists, investigate where the energy we (and NASCAR) use comes from. Students figure out that energy comes from different sources including renewable and nonrenewable resources.

Click the Download PDF button above for the complete Lesson Plan.


Student Materials

Per Student

  • Paper or whiteboard
  • pencils/markers

Per Small Group (2 to 4 students)

PBS Energy Explained: Where does it come from and how much do we use?  (video)

Teacher Materials

Autoweek: Six NASCAR Tracks Powered by Solar Energy

Student resource choices

Students can start reading at the beginning or at the section titled “Where does the energy we use come from?” 

PBS Energy Explained: Where does it come from and how much do we use?  (video)

Optional Teacher Resources

  • none
Asset 2