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Macomb ISD's Universal Design for Learning Initiative

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Last Updated: May-06-2009

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Developed By

  Dawn Berendt

Lesson Title


Length of Lesson

  4 to 5 -1 hour class periods for lesson (plus 5 days for summative assessment)

Lesson Unit

  Physical Science






  Physical Science

Michigan Content Expectations

  P.EN.M.4, P.EN.06.41, P.EN.06.42


  Energy transfer, Conduction, Convection, Radiation


  • Popcorn Popper, Microwave, Air popper, popcron for each of those devices
  • beakers, food coloring, water, hot plate, thermometors, white & black construction paper, ice
  •  flip video cameras, computers, headphones.



The following lesson is part of a larger unit on energy.  In this lesson the students will learn about the process of conduction, convetion and radiation.  This lesson alsoincludes the end of the unit  (summative) assessment about energy.


Big Idea(s)


Different forms of energy can be transferred from place to place by conduction, convection & radiation.  When the energy is transferred no energy is lost or gained in the transfer.


Essential Questions


What are three ways that energy can move from place to place?

What is the difference between conduction, convection and radiation?


Learning Objectives


Students will be able to:

  • determine if an energy transfer has taken place
  • determine if an energy transfer that has taken place is done by conduction, convection or radiation.

Summative Assessment


Students will be given a choice between a movie or digital story that demonstrates their knowledge about the energy concepts taught throughout the unit.

Resource(s) available for this section

Lesson Opening


Set up an air popper, a microwave and a hot plate.   Ask the students to predict how the popcorn will cook using each of these methods?  Cook the popcorn, one method at a time.  Have the students walk up and feel the hot air coming out of the air popper, the heat rising from the hot plate, and make observations about what changes when the microwave is working.  Have them complete the chart for the three methods of cooking popcorn while they eat the popcorn.  Discuss their answers. 

Resource(s) available for this section

Lesson Opening Co-teaching Plan


Both teachers will pose questions and monitor answers.  Teachers can take turns making popcorn and monitoring students written answers.




Conduction, convection & radiation activities:

Conduction-Ice melting contest.  Give each student a piece of ice and a paper towel.  when you say go, have them hold the ice in their hand and see who can melt it the fastest.

Convection-Heat up & cool down.  The night before freeze ice cubes with food coloring in them.  Have 2 beakers of water and a hot plate.  One of the beakers should be heated only slightly (just above room temp), heat the other beaker until the water boils.  Place the ice in the beaker of water and have the students observe what happens to the ice in each cup. 

Radiation-Which color should I wear?  Have 2 thermometors, a lamp, a piece of black construction paper and a piece of white construction paper.  Record the temperature before beginning (room temp).  Make an envelope out of each piece of construction paper and slide the thermometors inside.  Place both envelopes with thermometors under the lamp and record the temp after 10 mins., 20 mins, etc.  Compare the temperatures of the 2 thermometors.

Have the students respond to each activity in their journal.



Exploration Co-teaching Plan


Both teachers can monitor and direct student discussion. 

Teachers can take turns asking questions and performing demonstrations.

One teacher can read thermometors while other records temps for readiation experiment.


Check for Understanding


Students will complete the worksheet "Test Yourself-Conduction, Convection & Radiation"

Resource(s) available for this section

Check for Understanding Co-teaching Plan


Teachers can both walk around and monitor student progress & answer any questions the students may have.




Watch video:  Heat and the changing States of Matter on Discovery Streaming


Print the quiz from the website as well and have the students complert the worksheet when the video is done.


Explanation Co-teaching Plan


One teacher will lead the discussion of the video, pausing when necessay.  The other teacher will interject other ideas or questions as necessary.

Both teachers will monitor students progress on worksheet.


Check for Understanding (2)


Clicker Check:  Based on understanding can reteach or move on.  Reteaching can include reading articles about conduction, convection and radiation and doing a tear-and-share.


Check for Understanding Co-teaching Plan (2)


Provide instruction in small groups based on understanding.


Extended Practice


Online learning:

Students can go the the websites listed below to read about and interact with the three types of heat.



or play games/take quizes about heat trasnfer on the follwoing websites:








Students will create & present either a movie or digital story about Energy, energy transfers & heat.


Closing Co-teach Plan


Both teachers can review main ideas with the class and grade the projects.