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Back in 1963 when LAB-AIDS® shipped its first kit, we had a vision, to revolutionize the middle school classroom with one of the first inquiry-based approaches to learning science through hands-on activity. More Info

SEPUP Texas Edition, Science Grade 6, Energy Unit

SEPUP Texas Edition, Science Grade 6, Energy Unit


In this unit, students will learn about the transfer and transformation of energy in our everyday lives. By exploring how energy can be used more efficiently at home, students will learn the answers to some puzzling questions: Where does all the energy around us come from? Are there different types? Does it ever run out? How does it get from one place to another?

Content in SEPUP Texas Edition, Science Grade 6, Energy Unit is organized into 19 activities, as follows:

Activity Title Activity Type Activity Overview
12. Home Energy Use Investigation Students brainstorm the uses of energy in the home and become aware of everyday energy consumption. They compare the features of two homes and suggest which one consumes less energy. Students then develop an operational definition of efficiency.
13. Drive a Nail Laboratory Students are introduced to the concepts of kinetic and gravitational potential energy. They design and conduct an experiment to drop metal rods of different masses from different heights to drive a nail into a foam block. The investigation in this activity allows students to explore energy transfer, the relationship of gravitational potential energy to mass and height, and the transformation of potential energy to kinetic energy.
14. Roller Coaster Energy Role Playing Students further examine energy transformations between gravitational potential energy and kinetic energy in the context of common experience—namely, roller coasters. Students are introduced to the idea that some energy is “lost” as thermal energy and sound during the transformations.
15. Shake the Shot Laboratory In this activity students further investigate energy transfer and transformation. They add kinetic energy to a system and explore the resulting energy transformation. The investigation introduces the relationships between motion, temperature, and thermal energy.
16. The Conservation of Energy Reading Students are introduced to the fundamental principle of energy, the Law of the Conservation of Energy. They learn that almost all energy transformations involve the process of heat, in which some energy is transformed to thermal energy. People usually consider this energy as “lost” since it is often no longer useful to them. Students are introduced to the idea of efficiency in a transformation.
17. Follow the Energy Investigation Students continue to explore the consequences of the Law of Conservation of Energy by analyzing specific energy transfers and transformations. Students focus on different energy types through examples of transformations that either absorb or release energy.
18. Ice-Melting Contest Laboratory Students explore heat transfer by melting ice as quickly as they can. They design a method for melting the cube and then implement it. They compare and analyze methods for melting the ice cube in terms of conduction and identify and analyze variables that affect the conduction of heat.
19. Ice-Preserving Contest Laboratory Students continue to expand their understanding of heat energy and energy transfer by trying to slow down heat transfer. They design a container that will allow as little ice to melt as they can in a given time. They test their designs, collect data, and analyze the effectiveness of different materials and designs.
20. Thermal Energy Transfer in Water Laboratory Students investigate thermal energy transfer in water. They learn that the differences in movement of water at varying temperatures is due to differences in density.
21. Conduction, Convection, and Radiation Reading Students read about thermal energy transfer. They are introduced to the terms convection and radiation and compare the three methods of thermal energy transfer. The Listen, Stop, and Write literacy strategy helps students comprehend the ideas presented in the text.
22. Mixing Hot and Cold Water Laboratory Students investigate heat transfer between water samples of different volumes and temperatures. First they predict the results of mixing water samples. Then they observe and measure the temperature of the samples as they reach energy equilibrium.
23. Electricity Generation Project Students share their current ideas about sources of electricity and then read about and research how electricity is generated. They distinguish renewable from nonrenewable resources and compare the methods used to convert the energy found in these resources into electricity. Students consider the advantages and disadvantages of each energy source.
24. Chemical Batteries Laboratory In this activity students investigate energy conversion through the study of simple electrochemical cells. They design an investigation to determine the best combination of metals to use in a wet cell. Students explore different combinations of metals and observe the reaction rates. Metals such as aluminum and zinc react rapidly with copper chloride solution, while iron reacts more slowly. Students apply this knowledge to choosing metals for constructing a battery. Students further investigate the effects of distance between the metals, reversing connections, and reducing surface area of metal on the power of the wet cell.
25. Hot Bulbs Laboratory Students investigate a specific energy transformation and explore the efficiency of the transformation. They measure the efficiency of a flashlight bulb in producing light, by measuring how much energy is wasted in producing heat. They also compare the “lifetime” costs for an incandescent, a compact fluorescent, and a halogen bulb. They then consider the trade-offs involved when deciding which type of bulb to purchase. This activity introduces the watt as a quantitative measure of the rate of energy use.
26. Photovoltaic Cells Laboratory Students expand their understanding of energy by investigating solar energy as an example of a renewable energy source. In this activity students use photovoltaic solar cells to transform solar energy into electrical energy. They explore how to power a motor using the solar cells and some factors that affect the cells’ ability to transform energy. They then discuss the advantages and disadvantages of using solar energy.
27. Solar Heating Laboratory Students continue their exploration into solar energy by investigating a model solar heat collector. They calculate the efficiency of the solar heater and compare it to the known efficiency for solar photovoltaic cells. Students analyze their data and discover that the rate of temperature rise slows down as the temperature of the water becomes warmer.
28. Collecting Solar Energy Modeling This activity introduces students to the concepts of absorption, reflection, and transmission of light, as they design a box to collect solar energy. Students design and carry out an investigation to determine how well certain materials increase or decrease the amount of heat transfer into a box. They measure energy absorption by determining the temperature change within boxes they have left in sunlight.
29. Household Energy Efficiency Reading Students read about the major factors that determine how much energy is used in a home. Some ways to improve the energy efficiency and conservation around the home are presented and discussed. The literacy strategy “Listen, Stop, and Write” helps students comprehend the ideas presented in the text.
30. Improving Energy Efficiency Investigation Students are presented with fictional scenarios of families who want to reduce the cost of energy in their homes. They use their knowledge of energy concepts and an economic analysis to make energy-saving recommendations that meet the needs of the family. Their analyses calculate the time it takes for energy improvements to pay for themselves and the savings over 10 years. Students present the trade-offs of their home improvement plans in their recommendations.

A full suite of course tools is available for teachers, as follows:

SEPUP Texas Edition, Science Grade 6, Energy Unit

Unit Student Edition

The Energy Student Edition guides investigations and provides related readings. It uses a variety of approaches to make science accessible for all students. SEPUP’s integrated literacy strategies help students process new science content, develop their analytical skills, make connections between related concepts, and express their knowledge orally and in writing.

eStudent Edition

Available in either a Downloadable format or online access through our website

SEPUP Texas Edition, Science Grade 6, Energy Unit

Teacher's Edition

The SEPUP Teacher’s Edition takes you through each activity in the Student Edition and helps you see the development of concepts within the big picture of the units and the course you are teaching. It helps you set up the equipment from the kit, organize the classroom, conduct activities, and manage practical details, all of which enhance students’ learning environment. The Teacher’s Edition is packaged as a series of loose-leaf binders that you can personalize with annotations, rearrangements, and insertions. It provides full support for teaching the program. Additional support resources can also found in the Teacher’s Edition.

Complete Materials Package

All SEPUP materials packages are designed with teachers, students and environmental considerations in mind. Traditional laboratory style classrooms are not necessary to teach SEPUP. Materials packages include most of the items needed for the activities. They support multiple classes – typically up to five classes of 32 students (160 total students) – before consumables need to be replaced. It’s important to note that materials are consumed at various rates; therefore, it will not be necessary to replace all consumable items every year. Exclusive to SEPUP programs are the molded tray liners that keep everything in place and easy to locate – even in a hurry.

Online and Technology Tools

These include the Exam View suite of assessment tools and more than 100 web links for each of the three SEPUP 6-8 courses, to be used for basic instruction and enrichment.

SEPUP Texas Edition, Science Grade 6, Energy Unit Item # Price Quantity