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20 October 2014
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Chemistry: Energy Resources and Transfers

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Energy resources and transfers lesson plan

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KS3 Bitesize


  • All students should know the Sun is the ultimate source of our energy.
  • Most students should know the difference between renewable and non-renewable energy sources, and give examples
  • Some students will understand the transfer of energy in terms of molecule behaviour

Bitesize English fish

National Curriculum

The lesson outlines Curriculum sections Sc4.5a and b, about the variety of energy resources (renewable and non-renewable) and the role of the Sun, as well as the formation of fossil fuels. The production of Electricity has not been included specifically (Sc4.5c). Sc4.5d-f are also covered; the distinction between heat and temperature and the transfer of heat energy by particles. Describing phenomena in terms of particles is a Level 7 skill (Sc3 Science Levels).


  • Picture card sequence showing fossil fuel formation; pictures of renewable energy resources. Various sized containers; thermometers; hot water; stopwatches. Flashcards of concepts / objects from lesson.

Teaching activities


Brainstorm all the objects they use everyday to provide them with food, warmth, or activities. Highlight those which are powered by electricity or an energy source. State the electricity itself is produced using an energy source, so essentially everything they use needs an energy source to produce them.


  1. Introduce Non-renewable resources. Rearrange a sequence of picture cards to explain fossil fuel formation. Emphasise Sun's role in their formation. Students copy. Link to electricity generation, and increasing problems of environmental pollution.

    Introduce renewable resources. Have pictures of examples e.g. windmills, solar panels, Thames Barrier. Emphasis Sun's role in their formation. Students make up a crossword using both renewable and non-renewable answers and clues.
  2. Conservation of Energy. Demonstrate how hot objects cool. Heat energy escapes / spreads out, due to difference in temperature of surrounding area. Students investigate difference between heat (thermal energy) and temperature by having two different sized containers of water. Both start off same temperature. Measure temperature decrease. Larger container should take longer to cool (more particles give it more thermal energy so it retains temperature longer). Conclude temperature is due to size of particle vibrations; heat depends on temperature and the number of particles at this temperature. Use the printable worksheet to reinforce.
  3. Ask how they think heat energy moves / spreads out (refer to demo objects and water experiment). Where does the heat energy go once it has left the object? Explain conduction and convection in terms of particles, giving examples of use. Explain movement by radiation, and again give examples. Students explain differences.


  • Use flashcards of various objects / processes / ideas given in lesson. Students use them as cues for speaking for 30 seconds (not repeating or hesitating).


  • Write a newspaper article suggesting why people should use renewable energy resources whenever possible

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