Cart 0

Energy Equals Force and Motion

Author: Felicia Atwell


William Rowen Elementary School

Year: 2021

Seminar: Renewable Energy Schemes

Grade Level: 3

Keywords: force, motion, renewable energy

School Subject(s): Science

This unit is intended for grade 3. It uses the Next generation science standards to introduce third graders to renewable energy forms. The unit is written as 5 lessons. Two of the 5 lessons can be carried over for another science lesson. The lessons incorporate laptops, art, and a virtual platform. Students can have assignments assigned through Google classroom or as in-class assignments only. Topics covered in this unit are force and motion, solar energy, electrical energy, and wind energy. Additional worksheets in the resources section include math for cross-curricular activities.

Download Unit: Atwell-Felicia.pdf

Did you try this unit in your classroom? Give us your feedback here.

Full Unit Text
Content Objectives


The third grade science curriculum for the city of Philadelphia gives third grade students the opportunity to explore different genres of science. Using the Next Generation Science Standards, one of the genres is force and motion. Students learn types of force and how energy is used through different forces and motion to make things move. Students begin learning about the forms of force in second grade. When they enter grade three, scaffolded knowledge about force and motion aids in understanding. I would like to use this scaffolded knowledge and have students learn about renewable energy schemes. I will connect force and motion to energy which is a 4th grade standard and add renewable energy forms and how it all connects to force and motion.

Having the opportunity to learn about renewable energy schemes in the TIP program has taught me a lot about how energy change forms, what energy is and how this energy is being turned into usable forms with the use of solar panels. I learned that energy is the capacity to do work, and in order to have energy (such as wood or gasoline) which are fuels, the energy comes from the sun. Using this knowledge to create a unit for third grade students will inspire the need to question, explore and engage them to want to learn more about energy. Students know the very basics of energy. They know that batteries give energy to toys, cell phones, cars, they even noticed that roller coaster have energy through the use of a machine, yet they know little about all energy comes from the sun. How force and motion which are the definition of work, and it can affect how much energy a certain item has. So, work and energy are pretty much the same thing, as one uses energy to do work.

An extension of this unit will be to expand the knowledge of students by giving them scenarios that involve knowledge about renewable energy. Renewable energy is a fourth grade standard according to the Next Generation Science Standards. Creating scenarios using the knowledge that I have gained in the TIP class and modeling the scenarios with the help of videos, drawings to help students see real life science items that relate to renewable energy. Students will question, analyze, and construct explanations of renewable energy.

This unit will be designed to engage, discover, and give information to students so that they will understand what energy is, forms of energy, and what is renewable energy.  It will connect these ideas about energy to that of force and motion. Topics will be explored using student technology devices, videos, books; in the form of many read-aloud, individual, and shared article readings, group discussions and science notebook writings. Using the knowledge that they will gain with this unit students will work on a culminating project that will allow them to design a drawing of a solar panel, or other creative design that will provide energy for their home. They will then describe how their design will benefit the environment.


The state of Pennsylvania has adopted using Next Generation Science Standards to guide learning and for content objectives. These standards have changed slightly from grade to grade from the old PA state standards and although 3rd grade no longer teaches energy directly, it can be indirectly taught through forces and motion and later expanded upon in grade 4. Below are the standards directly from the Next Generation Science Standard website, How the standards will be used within this unit plan, stating student objectives, and learning outcomes that are aligned with each lesson will follow the listing of standards.

Students who demonstrate understanding can:

3-PS2-1. Plan and conduct an investigation- to provide evidence of the effects of balanced and unbalanced forces on the motion of an object. [Clarification Statement: Examples could include an unbalanced force on one side of a ball can make it start moving; and balanced forces pushing on a box from both sides will not produce any motion at all.] [Assessment Boundary: Assessment is limited to one variable at a time: number, size, or direction of forces. Assessment does not include quantitative force size, only qualitative and relative. Assessment is limited to gravity being addressed as a force that pulls objects down.]

3-PS2-3. Ask questions to determine cause and effect relationships of electric or magnetic interactions between two objects not in contact with each other. [Clarification Statement: Examples of an electric force could include the force on hair from an electrically charged balloon and the electrical forces between a charged rod and pieces of paper; examples of a magnetic force could include the force between two permanent magnets, the force between an electromagnet and steel paperclips, and the force exerted by one magnet versus the force exerted by two magnets. Examples of cause and effect relationships could include how the distance between objects affects strength of the force and how the orientation of magnets affects the direction of the magnetic force.] [Assessment Boundary: Assessment is limited to forces produced by objects that can be manipulated by students, and electrical interactions are limited to static electricity.]

Classroom Activities

Lesson 1- What is Energy?

Objective: Student will be able to (SWBAT) learn about energy and how energy is the ability to do work. Fuel contains chemical energy. Energy allows for work, that is a force to be applied for a set distance and distance times force equals work. Forces help make motion, which is how things move, and if an object moves, it has energy of motion (kinetic energy). The sun is the biggest suppler of energy. It energizes the earth and supplies us with warmth, plants the ability to grow (photosynthesis), helps houses and buildings to have power (solar panels). More on this later in our study. First, the focus will be energy given by the sun.

Duration: 45 minute lesson

Materials: Student laptops, Teacher created Google Jamboard, Read-aloud, video and response worksheet on Google Classroom.

Modification: You can opt out using google Jamboard and google classroom activities by using a class KWL chart, non-digital 3-2-1 summary and response worksheet (3 things you learned, 2 things you found interesting and 1question you may have).


Opening/Introduction (5 minutes): Teacher will (TW) begin class asking students to think about what they know about energy.  Sw have 1 minute to think and then 3 minutes to write an answer on the created Jamboard through Google apps. Sw respond using classroom laptop devices to the posed question and all will see responses on the teachers displayed Jamboard. Likeness and differences will be discussed and noted on the 2nd Google Jamboard page. A discussion will begin about energy and how it is the ability to do work. TW ask students to show energy by doing 5 jumping jacks. TW explain that the ability to do jumping jacks is because of the energy the body produces.

Explicit Instruction (20 minutes): SWBAT learn that fuel possess energy. The type of energy in fuel is heat. The sun produces the heat. TW discuss how the sun is the biggest source of energy for our planet. How the sun’s energy is captured in solar panels and how these panels are used to provide energy for houses. Fuel is how things have the ability to produce energy. When one burns a fuel such as wood or gasoline, heat is produced, heat is a form of energy.  Energy is what is needed to make things move. Things move when they have force put upon them.  TW introduce science vocabulary that will be used throughout the unit. Vocabulary words will include force, motion, distance, energy, potential energy, fuel, fossil fuel, work, electricity, magnetic, renewable energy. Science words will have a corresponding picture and definition to provide a visual for students to help them remember the word. SW have a copy of the words and the corresponding picture definition posted on the science google classroom board and a paper copy to glue in science notebooks. TW share read-aloud from S/TW log onto to read Discover Energy by Julia Vogel. TW read the book stopping to discuss and explain the highlighted vocabulary words which are a part of the student vocabulary list.

Guided Instruction (15 minutes): SW find a partner in order to complete the 3-2-1 summary and response worksheet. SW reread the book Discover Energy. SW work together to complete the 3-2-1 summary and response worksheet. (3-things learned 2-things interesting 1-question).

Closing (5 minutes): TW ask 3-4 students to share the 3-2-1 summary and response worksheet. TW restate the objective that energy is the ability to do work. That there are many forms of energy, and one form of energy is electric energy, the most common form of energy, because it is easy to transport (through electrical wires).

Lesson 2-   Forms of energy (Electrical)

3-PS2-3. Ask questions to determine cause and effect relationships of electric or magnetic interactions between two objects not in contact with each other.

Objective: SWBAT learn about one form of energy, static electric energy and how static electric energy is a form of electric energy.

Duration:  45 minutes

Materials: 2 Balloons (Teacher can blow up balloon before lesson), piece of wool sweater or rug


Opening/Introduction (5 minutes): There are many forms of energy. How many energy forms can you name? (Solar, electric, wind, hydroelectric/water). Today students, we will focus on electric energy.  Teacher will (TW) ask the students to think about what they know about electricity.  Two volunteers will come to the front of the class to demonstrate a form of electrical static energy. SW take of their shoes and rub their feet in socks, across a piece of wool. SW try to produce electrical static energy rubbing the balloon on their hair while rubbing their feet on the piece of wool. TW ask students to observe the actions of the two students and discuss if the actions of the students will produce the electric static energy.

Explicit Instruction (20 minutes):  TW read-aloud through shared reading All charged up: A look at electricity By Jennifer Boothroyd using Epic books. SW follow along by logging on to Epic books using their laptops or following along with the projected book. TW read What Is Electricity? Static Electricity page 4-11. SW follow along and fill out response worksheet. Student response worksheets have 3 things learned, 2 things interesting and 1 question.

TW follow the read aloud with the video Introduction to Electricity. (Links to books, video and worksheet is found on the resources page). TW introduce vocabulary words discussed through the reading of lesson 1 and lesson 2 read aloud. Energy, electricity, static electricity, voltage, current. Definitions will be given with pictures to connect word meanings. SW read definitions and match the pictures to the definitions on the worksheet. SW work with a partner to create pictures of different items that they think will cause a static electrical reaction. SW state why they believe their reactions will work.

Guided Instruction (15 minutes): SW work in small groups and create comic strip scenarios about electricity. Students can create scenes that match the response worksheet or create a scene that shows how electricity powers an object. SW write 2 cause and effect sentences about electricity. For example: The light bulb glows because the voltage moves the electrical current. Tw introduce science words: voltage, amps, current. Voltage: force from a circuit that moves the current allowing it give energy (light). Amps: the measurement of currents. Current: the movement (motion) of charged electrons that moves through a conductor.

Closing (5 minutes): TW allow 5 students to share their created comic strips and read the reactions from the response worksheet.

Lesson 3 Forms of energy (Wind)

3-PS2-1. Plan and conduct an investigation- to provide evidence of the effects of balanced and unbalanced forces on the motion of an object.

Objective: SWBAT learn about energy leading an investigation using paper pen mills that they will create. SWBAT compare and contrast the handheld paper pen mill to the windmills that are found throughout the United States. SW look at video/pictures of the windmills located within the United States and determine if windmills are the best source for producing energy for our city.

Duration: (2) 45 minute classes

Materials: pencil, pipe cleaners, construction paper, scissors, glue, crayons, markers, or stickers to decorate the paper pen mill.


Opening/Introduction (5 minutes): Teacher will (TW) begin class asking students to think about what they know about wind energy. SW turn and talk for 1 minute. Student possible responses: wind helps things move, so wind energy is energy given by the wind to help things move. TW ask: how many students have seen a windmill? How many students know what windmills are for? Where do you see windmills? After student responses, pictures will be shown.

Explicit Instruction (20 minutes):  S/TW create a paper pen wheel using plastic drinking straws, construction paper, scissors, glue, and brass fasteners. Below is a picture of the type of paper windmill SW create. Directions for the paper pinwheel is in the appendix and resources section. SW blow on the paper pinwheel to simulate a windmill used by communities. SW create paper pen wheels for 10 minutes. TW show the YouTube video Energy 101: Wind. SW watch the video to make connections to the paper pinwheel they created and how a windmill creates electrical energy. TW pause video and discuss turbines. Turbines are used in windmills and also in hydroelectric mills to force the energy created to circuits that power houses and buildings.

Guided Instruction (10 minutes):  SW draw a turbine that they think will work inside of a windmill in science notebooks. SW label the turbine parts (motor, circuit). SW color the turbine and show how windmills with turbines are used as a form of energy.

Closing (10 minutes): Working independently students will use the link to read and answer the question on the Infographic. Students can turn in electronically or a printed copy can be used.

Lesson 4 What is renewable energy?

Objective: SWBAT learn about renewable energy and why its important for the environment.

Duration: 45 minutes


Opening/Introduction (5 minutes): Teacher will (TW) begin class asking students to think about what they know about the word renewable. TW point out that the word has a prefix (re) and the base word (new). Possible student response to what does the word renewable mean: use energy again in a new way or replacing energy.

Explicit Instruction (20 minutes): TW review the forms of energy that have already been discussed and learned thus far, solar energy (sun), electrical energy, and wind energy. SW give examples of things that they know about the energy forms. SW use notes, drawings and materials from their scientific notebook or Google classroom activities to help them. TW ask how can these forms of energy help create a better environment? SW work with pairs to create scenarios describing how the environment will become better with the use of the energy forms. TW introduce non-renewable source such as coal, natural gas, oil. Which are forms of fuel that can not be replaced. Once they are used to completion none are left. Also, these are considered fossil fuels. Formed in nature, from the remains of living organisms. Takes years to create fossil fuels. Renewable energy forms are necessary to keep the Earth green and they also are quicker to make then fossil fuels. They are re (replacing) the old energy and creating new energy using the sun, or wind which are almost always in supply.

Guided Instruction (10 minutes): TW use the article Clean Energy from TW read the article stopping to note the text. Highlighting important parts (main idea, and words with meaning).  TW model skimming and noting text for details.

Closing (10 minutes): SW continue to reread the article Clean Energy independently if necessary to aid with answering the comprehension questions. TW encourage students to use highlighted portions to help with the comprehension questions. SW use the strategy of skimming the text for details and information as they work with a partner and answer the questions.

Lesson 5 Design a solar panel for your home.

3-PS2-4. Define a simple design problem that can be solved by applying scientific ideas.

Objective: SWBAT design energy panels or another energy source that will attract a form of energy.

Duration: (2) 45 minute classes


Opening/Introduction (5 minutes): Teacher will (TW) begin class asking students to think about their home and how much energy they use each day. Possible student response (using electricity for charging computer devices, cell phones, tv, cooking, washing clothes). TW have students imagine how they can create a renewable energy source that will power their home or vehicle. Using the forms of energy that have been discussed they will design a renewable energy house or vehicle that will help their family and neighborhood. Students should think about how the design will save energy, money, and what positive affects it will have on the neighborhood.

Explicit Instruction (10 minutes):  S/TW log onto to read Discover Energy by Julia Vogel. The book from the first lesson. This time reading the section about renewable energy. TW read-aloud section demonstrating stop, think, note strategy. TW stop at important parts (bolded words, main idea, definition of terms), think if these important parts will help with the design of the house or vehicle and write a note about the important part in the scientific notebook. TW allow time for students to also write down important parts.

Guided Instruction (25 minutes): TW model drawing a renewable energy source for a house. Details and labels will be added to the drawing. SW be reminded that this is science and not just art. That scientific drawing follows the A-B-C-D-E of science. (Accurate, big, colorful, details, explains). The renewable energy home or vehicle must include all of these areas. SW work along with the teacher creating their renewable energy building, or vehicle. SW draw one draft in scientific notebook and final draft will go on drawing paper and displayed throughout the classroom.

Closing (5 minutes): SW have an opportunity to share their designs and read their explanations supporting why their design is renewable and the positive affects it will have on the environment and the neighborhood.


Video and Book Links


(149) Introduction to Electricity- video for kids – YouTube– Introduction to electricity-video for kids.

(152) Energy 101: Wind Energy – YouTube– Energy 101-Wind energy. December 2, 2012.

(152) How is wind energy produced? – Sustainability for kids Part 1 | Vestas – YouTube– April 22, 2021.

Prezi Link to Infographic worksheet – Prezi link. Infographic Windmills by Felicia Atwell

Books books: All charged up: A look at electricity by Jennifer Boothroyd and

Discover Energy by Juila Vogel

Clean energy article from













Date______________                                                         Name __________________________

Gr.3/ Rm. ________


Energy Equals Force and Motion



Directions: Use the words in the word bank to create 4 pictures for the comic strip boxes below. Choose 4 words to draw a picture to match the meaning.




  • Energy- the ability to do work.
  • Fuel- what is needed to produce energy.
  • Motion- movement. How things move from one place to another.
  • Static Energy- energy produced by force on a surface.
  • Solar Energy- energy produced by the sun.
  • Electricity- energy produced by electrons and is measured in volts.
  • Voltage- how electricity is measured.
  • Amps-the measurements of currents that move to make electricity.
  • Current- the movement of the electrons in electricity.
  • Wind Energy- energy produced by the wind.













Date: _______________                       Name: _______________________


Gr.3/Room: _________



3-2-1 Response Sheet


Directions- Use this worksheet to write a quick response to a book/article you read, or a video you watched. You may also use this to respond to a lesson that was taught.



Write 3 things that you learned:


  • ______________________________________________________


  • ______________________________________________________



  • ______________________________________________________


Write 2 things that were interesting:


  • _____________________________________________________


  • _____________________________________________________


Write 1 question that you have:


  • ______________________________________________________




Directions to make the

Paper Pin Wheel


  • Choose your construction paper. (Teacher should draw a large X on each construction paper that covers the entire paper).





  • Decorate your construction paper. You can color with crayons, add stickers, or write words with markers.
  • Cut on each line, NOT touching the middle.
  • Put the pipe cleaner through the center.
  • Fold the corners of the construction paper in towards the center.
  • Twist the pipe cleaner around the pencil making a loop (knot). This keeps the pinwheel in the pipe cleaner. Remove the pencil.
  • Glue the edges of the paper pinwheel.
  • Twist the pipe cleaner around the pencil for the back loop (knot). This secures the pencil to the pipe cleaner so that it can be held.
  • Let the paper pin wheel dry for about 10 minutes.













This poster can be used as a visual tool in the classroom or given to each student as a reference in their scientific notebook.


Math resources that may be used as cross-curricular activity as part of independent work or homework. This page is the permission page from the organization The Need Project.