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Energy Transfers

Time Frame:
1 class period that runs 60 minutes.

Group Size:


Students will model and measure energy transfers from light to heat.

Main Curriculum Tie:
Science - Earth Science
Standard 3 Objective 1

Relate how energy from the Sun drives atmospheric processes and how atmospheric currents transport matter and transfer energy.


  • solar panels
  • electric motors, and small light bulbs
  • batteries
  • voltmeters(5-10 volt)
  • the sun or a bright light source
  • wires (or any combination of these, not all are necessary)
  • student sheet (attached)


Background For Teachers:
Students will easily figure out how to get two energy transfers just by using the solar panel to run a light bulb or motor. It will be harder for them to figure out that heat given off by light bulbs and motors. To get four or five energy transfers will require a lot of thought by students. One possibility: batteries to light bulb to solar panel to motor or voltmeter.

Student Prior Knowledge:
Students should be aware that energy comes as light, heat, electricity, kinetic and chemical and that it can change from one form to another. They should receive instruction of the use of the voltmeter and solar panels if necessary. This is a good time to review circuits as well.

Instructional Procedures:

  1. Explain the purpose of the lab and describe what materials are available. Make sure students know how to make a circuit and use a voltmeter.
  2. Allow students time to work. If you are using the sun as your source of light, you will need to take the class outside.
  3. If students are able to get more than three transfers to work, have them demonstrate for the class.
  4. Allow students time to finish the student sheet in class.

Assessment Plan:
Scoring Guide:

1. Students plan three energy transfers……………………..6 pts
2. Students set up and test three energy transfers………..12 pts
3. Students correctly answer analysis questions……...10 pts


  1. heat
  2. light
  3. heat
  4. Earth’s temperature will rise

4. Conclusion is thoughtfully written………………………………. 5 pts

Lesson Design by Jordan School District Teachers and Staff.

Utah LessonPlans

Created Date :
Nov 05 2014 13:10 PM