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Living Up to Their Potential
Posted 10/04/2018 03:56PM

Fifth graders complete IB unit on energy

The fifth grade’s first IB unit of the year ended on a sweet note Friday – with solar-baked s’mores! 

Since the first week of school, fifth graders have been inquiring into renewed energy and how forms of energy enhance society. They started with a review of the scientific method, followed by research and several in-class experiments.  When their studies turned to learning about the two classifications of energy – potential and kinetic – the students were able to apply their knowledge by planning, creating, and building rollercoasters as part of the Science Olympics challenge. They also turned potential energy into kinetic energy by going roller skating!

Next came a study of the different forms of energy: light, thermal, sound, electrical, and solar. The students heard first hand – via Skype – from the CEO of D3Energy, a renewable energy company with a focus on developing floating solar products (the CEO also happens to be the uncle of Roman W., one of our fifth grade students!). Since 2013, D3Energy has made clean energy available to individuals, businesses, schools, non-profits, and government organizations, using floating solar panels to lower electric bills and minimize one’s carbon footprint.

After all of this hard work, it was time to sweeten the pot – with s’mores!  Applying their knowledge of solar power, students constructed ovens made with a bunch of recycled materials (pizza boxes, shoe boxes, aluminum foil, clear wrap) and a bit of ingenuity, then brought those ovens to school to put them to the test.  Fortunately, the Florida sun cooperated, and our fifth graders were able to enjoy their gooey treats! 


The Renewed Energy unit is part of the IB Primary Years Programme Transdisciplinary Theme: How the World Works. Throughout the PYP (taught to children ages three – fifth grade), the transdisciplinary themes focus on issues that span subject areas. How the World Works is an inquiry into the natural world and its laws; the interaction between the natural world (physical and biological) and human societies; how humans use their understanding of scientific principles; the impact of scientific and technological advances on society and on the environment.


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