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  • S P A R K I N G I N Q U I R Y T H R O U G H

    S C I E N C E A N D M AT H

    11A Perimeter Inspirations

    Grade 1 1 : A Deeper Understanding of Energy

  • Contents

    About Perimeter 2

    Introduction 3

    Using This Resource in Your Classroom 3

    Teacher Background 4

    Activity 1: The Conservation and Transformation of Energy 9

    Activity 2: Innovative Technologies 17

    Activity 3: Nuclear Transformations 22

    Activity 4: Ionizing Radiation 29

    Activity 5: Mass-Energy Equivalence 36

    Activity 6: Where Do the Elements Come From? 42

    Activity 7: Conservation Laws and Dark Energy 51

    Answers 58

    Appendix A: Light Bulb Comparison Cards 64

    Appendix B: Table of Isotopes—Simplified 65

    Appendix C: Ionizing Radiation Cards 66

    Appendix D: Equivalent Dose Table 68

    Appendix E: Radiation Scenario Cards 69

    Appendix F: Star Cards 70

    Appendix G: News Flash— What’s Happening to Our Universe? 71

    Appendix H: Fact Cards— What’s Happening to Our Universe? 72

    Assessment 73

    Self-Assessment 74

    Glossary 75

    Credits 76

  • About Perimeter

    Perimeter Institute Perimeter Institute is the world’s largest research hub devoted to theoretical physics. The independent Institute was founded in 1999 to foster breakthroughs in the fundamental understanding of our universe, from the smallest particles to the entire cosmos. Research at Perimeter is motivated by the understanding that fundamental science advances human knowledge and catalyzes innovation and that today’s theoretical physics is tomorrow’s technology. Located in the Region of Waterloo, the not-for- profit Institute is a unique public–private endeavour, including the Governments of Ontario and Canada, that enables cutting-edge research, trains the next generation of scientific pioneers, and shares the power of physics through award-winning educational outreach and public engagement.

    Perimeter Inspirations This series of in-class educational resources is designed to help teachers inspire students by sharing the mystery and power of science and math through inquiry-based, Ontario curriculum–linked activities. Activities integrate global competencies—critical thinking and problem solving; innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurship; self-directed learning; collaboration; communication; citizenship—all of which equip students to make meaningful contributions to society as they learn, grow, and mature.

    Perimeter Inspirations is the product of extensive collaboration between experienced teachers and Perimeter Institute’s Educational Outreach staff. This resource has been designed with both the expert and the novice teacher in mind and has been thoroughly tested in classrooms. The digital resource features student activity sheets and a variety of assessment tools in a modifiable format to suit the particular needs of each student.


    A Deeper Understanding of Energy

  • Introduction

    There is an invisible quantity embedded in everything around you. It exists in the food you eat, in the electronics you use, and in every atom in your body. What’s more, it pervades every action and movement you make. This ubiquitous quantity is energy. Understanding how energy flows between, transforms within, and is stored in objects allows scientists to predict the future and understand the past. It’s rocket science; it’s nuclear physics; it’s environmental sustainability. It may even hold the key to understanding what will ultimately happen to all the stars, planets, and galaxies of the universe.

    Share the power of representing and understanding energy with your students using these seven hands- on lessons, which explore the topics of mass-energy equivalence, the origin of elements, nuclear radiation, and the enigmatic concept of dark energy.

    The resource provides classroom activities to help teachers deliver the Energy and Society strand of Grade 11 Physics (SPH3U). Scientific investigation skills, career exploration, and financial literacy are integrated into the lessons. Specific suggestions have been made

    for adapting the activities for a wide range of student learning needs. The resource package also includes a short, dynamic video, closely tied to the lessons. It takes students on a journey from learning how to think about and represent energy, into the very heart of all atoms, and then out to the dynamic evolution of the entire universe.

    All activities offer hands-on experiences for students. Each activity includes background information for teachers, assessment material, and specific teaching tips, which will help make energy understandable and relatable and provide a rich and engaging experience for students. The resource culminates with an activity on dark energy, which pushes students to apply their knowledge and creativity to an open problem and to the very nature of science itself.

    Developed in a year-long project involving high school teachers and students, physics researchers, Perimeter Educational Outreach staff, and media professionals, the module shares the power of science and empowers students to fully engage in the process of scientific discovery.

    Using This Resource in Your Classroom

    Flow of Activities This resource consists of a video and seven activities that explore work and energy. The focus is conceptual understanding, and the resource should be supplemented with related topics and mathematical lessons. Activity 1 introduces students to energy flow diagrams and work- energy bar charts. Activity 2 builds on these skills by examining energy transformations in simple devices. Activity 3 explores energy in nuclear transformations, such as alpha and beta decay. Activity 4 introduces the concept of ionizing radiation and has students examine a variety of potential sources of ionizing radiation in their lives. Activity 5 uses a hands-on activity to introduce binding energy and mass-energy equivalence. Activity 6 guides students through the process that builds elements inside a star. The final activity and video take students on a journey through the evolution of conservation laws and introduces them to dark energy as the latest addition to our model of the universe.

    Each activity uses the tools introduced at the start, so beginning with Activity 1 is recommended. Activities 3, 4, and 5 discuss similar concepts from different perspectives. There are many connections between them, but each can be used independently.

    Structure of Activities Each of the module’s activities can be completed in approximately one hour and includes two parts for students:

    1. Student Activity: a sequence of hands-on activities and related discussion questions

    2. Consolidate Your Learning: an assessment for/of learning (formative/summative) designed to help students cement the content covered in the activity

    The activities are supported by modifiable handouts. You are encouraged to adapt these to meet the needs of individual students or your particular class.


    A Deeper Understanding of Energy

  • Promoting Effective Group Work The student activities have been designed with small groups of students in mind. Sharing group work expectations with students will keep groups on task and lead to better participation and deeper learning. Two critical components for effective group work are as follows:

    1. Individual accountability: Ensure that each student has an important, specific role to play (e.g., experimenter, recorder), so that they are responsible for their own learning. With this approach, students who might

    resist active participation will feel motivated to fulfill their roles and offer meaningful contributions to the group.

    2. Positive teamwork: By fostering a positive and supportive classroom environment, students will encourage and challenge each other in constructive ways. Guide students to set a clear and meaningful goal for the group activity, or provide students with a goal. Ensure each student has a different role, and emphasize the significance of each role in achieving the group’s goal.

    Teacher Background

    The information below is designed to provide a brief overview of energy concepts and related pedagogy. The content is related to the activities in this module but may go beyond the Grade 11 curriculum to provide a deeper framework and help build connections with the Grade 12 curriculum.

    What is energy? Energy is an accounting tool that allows physicists to make accurate predictions on how a closed system will behave. In an open system, work accounts for any changes in the amount of energy in that system (as does heat for thermodynamic processes). Energy is energy, whether it’s being stored gravitationally, kinetically, or in an object’s mass, just as money is money, whether it’s being stored as Canadian dollars, American dollars, or Japanese yen. Different energy stores can transform into each other (for example, mass energy into kinetic energy, or elastic energy into gravitational energy).

    Is energy really conserved? Not all interactions need to conserve energy in Newtonian mechanics (e.g., friction). However, empirical evidence for the idea of energy conservation for the fundamental interactions has been growing since the 17th century, making conservation of energy a foundational principle we use when modelling everyday phenomena. In the early 20th century, mathematician Emmy Noether strengthened the theoretical support fo