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Teachers' Notes
 

'Discover…energy' is based on Professor Richard Catlow's lecture, 'What makes things happen? Energy, power and motion'. The aim of the site is to provide an interactive resource for young people and to enhance your school's visit to the Royal Institution.

‘Discover… energy’ is divided into four main areas: the science, quiz, big questions and discussion forum.

The Science

the science is intended as a resource area for pupils to access from school or from home, for initial learning before attending the lecture, for further study after the lecture or as a stand alone resource. the science contains a breakdown of the scientific material from the lecture. The subject areas covered include where energy comes from, how it is converted, how we use energy and the effect that this has on the environment. The scientific content is complemented by interactive activities and games. There are four main areas within the science:

1. the source: this area covers the origin of energy and different types of energy. The interactive elements in this area are:
  • e=mc²: this games aims to help students to match energy sources to types of energy.
  • human cannonball: the aim of this activity is to launch a human cannonball with enough energy for it to reach the other side of a canyon. The game aims to help students investigate the effects of energy and the conversion process.
2. power up: this area investigates where the energy that we use comes from, and how energy is converted. The interactive elements in this area are:
  • energy explorer: much of the scientific area for this area is contained within this interactive exercise. Pupils can click on different areas of the map to learn about different energy sources, energy conversion, and the pros and cons of different types of energy.
  • human cannonball: the aim of this activity is to launch a human cannonball with enough energy for it to reach the other side of a canyon. The game aims to help students investigate the effects of energy and the conversion process.
3. everyday use: this area covers the use of energy in the home and how to save energy on a day-to-day basis. The interactive exercises in this area are:
  • power house: the aim is to add or remove energy-using objects and appliances to create the most energy efficient home.
  • energy explorer: much of the scientific area for this area is contained within this interactive exercise. Pupils can click on different areas of the map to learn about different energy sources, energy conversion, and the pros and cons of different types of energy.
4. the environment: this area investigates how the energy we consume affects the environment, covering global warming, renewable and non-renewable energy and electric cars. The interactive activity in this area is:
  • energy quest: the aim of this game is to create a town and supply it with sufficient energy without spending too much money.
Quiz

The quiz is intended to be attempted after students have either explored 'the science' area or attended the lecture. The aim of the quiz is for the students to use the knowledge that they have acquired to answer all the questions correctly in the shortest time. The answers to all of the questions can be found somewhere in 'the science'. The winner will receive a set of videos of the 2001 Royal Institution Christmas lectures, The secrets of Life by Sir John Sulston.

Big Questions

big questions are intended as a resource for students to use at school or at home to learn about some of the big questions that are stimulating current research in the field. You may wish to use these questions in the classroom to start a wider discussion on how science affects our everyday lives. The topic areas covered are:

  • Can robots eat food?
  • Can scientists create a mini sun?
  • Why don't we all drive electric cars?
  • Can we beam energy from outer space?
  • How much energy can renewable sources supply?
Discussion Forum

The discussion forum is intended to create an online community of learning, where pupils can discuss the topics that have arisen in other areas of the site with pupils from other schools. The discussion area can be reached from specific discussion points, such as 'What could your home, school or college do to use less energy?' and these can be found throughout the site.

Useful Links

General Information
Digital Brain
(KS 4 science)
http://www.digitalbrain.com

Energy Information Administration
– for kids
http://www.eia.doe.gov/kids

Future Energy Solutions
http://www.future-energy-solutions.com/

The New Scientist
http://www.newscientist.com

School Science
- free content about school science and its applications
http://www.schoolscience.co.uk/

The Source
Energy Sources
http://www.darvill.clara.net/altenerg/index.htm

Virtual Teacher Centre
- an investigation into how energy is stored in toys that move
http://curriculum.becta.org.uk/docserver.php?docid=1982

Power Up
Build yourself an electrostatic motor!
(KS 4-5 science 4.1: Electricity Overview)
http://www.eskimo.com/~billb/emotor/emotor.html

Edison Power Programme
(KS 2-4 science)
- an investigation into how energy is stored in toys that move
http://www.edisonpowerprogramme.com/

Renewable energy
http://www.dti.gov.uk/energy/renewables/index.shtml

UKAEA
- School project looking at atomic energy and radioactivity
(KS 4 science)
http://www.ukaea.org.uk/wagr/schools/index.html

Everyday Use
Virtual Teacher Centre
– Find out how much electrical energy you use in your home
http://curriculum.becta.org.uk/docserver.php?docid=1272

The Environment
Earth Print
http://www.earthprint.com/

The Earth Sciences Portal
http://eartheducator.gsfc.nasa.gov/

The Earth Science Educator
http://earthsciences.gsfc.nasa.gov/edu/

Teachers' experiences
Your experiences, both good and bad, will help us plan future events for Schools: contact us in feedback.

Ideas for discussion
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