Lesson Introduction

Click Grade 3: Exploring Energy to download the Grade 3—Energy lesson. As you work through the lesson, look for evidence of the ELPS. Although we are highlighting ELPS in this lesson, RtI and ELPS should not be used in isolation but woven into the fabric of a well-constructed lesson. You will see elements of both in all lessons throughout the academies. 

Grad 3: Exploring Energy, Content Objective: I can explore different forms of energy and how we use them. Language Objective: I can show that I understand English text about different forms of energy.

The lesson objectives are the TEKS restated in student-friendly text and can be written on your board.

You will see the notation RM, which is an abbreviation for Reproducible Master, throughout the lesson documents. These pages are located at the end of each lesson and can either be instructional activity sheets or recording pages for students.

Engage: Observing Energy

This lesson uses the 5E lesson model. The first E is Engage.

Locate an LED toy and turn it on. What forms of energy are you observing and how do you know?

View the video to review the activity.

Explore: Exploring Energy

The second E is Explore.

Take a moment and read the following excerpt from the lesson.

Content Builder

The purpose of using the thermometer is for students to record the increasing temperature of the hand warmer in degress Celsius (ºC) and Fahrenheit (ºF). In science, students will use the metric system because the metric system is the universal language for scientists around the world. However, before young students can function solely in metric, they need to build a frame of reference because they are most likely more familiar with the standard measuring system that we use in the United States. In this activity, students will directly compare temperature in ºC and ºF. For example, by comparing 23 ºC to 74 ºF, students will learn that the two temperatures feel the same.

Gather the materials to do the grade 3 Explore activity. As you work through it, keep the above temperature comparisons in mind. It is our duty as educators to help our young scientists build a strong foundation in the metric system as well as the customary system.

Follow the instructions on RM 1 while making sure to record your observations. Note which forms of energy each of the toys exhibits.

Mechanical energy is introduced for the first time in third grade. Students may observe that some of the toys move but may not be able to identify mechanical energy in this part of the lesson.

As you are gathering materials for students to use, make sure you read the safety labels on disposable handwarmers. Some handwarmers become extremely hot, and caution is advised with children younger than 13 years of age. The handwarmers we found most appropriate activate upon shaking. They become warmer if held between the palms of your hands. To find the temperature of a handwarmer, fold it over the end of a thermometer.

Explain: Energy Made Easy

The third E is Explain.

Click Grade 3: Energy Made Easy by The Energetics Book to download the student reader. Each of the lessons will contain a book or short story as part of the Explain section. This does not imply that every lesson has to be formatted with a story. We simply took the opportunty to provide another resource. 

Take a moment to read the story.

What forms of energy are new for third grade? The word thermal has been added to heat. Students will learn to associate those terms. Mechanical energy is also new. Keep the definition simple as outlined in the book. Do not teach the different forms of mechanical energy, including kinetic and potential. These concepts are included in the Grade 6 TEKS, specifically 6 (8)(A). We must wait until students are developmentally ready to learn about kinetic and potential energy. 

Elaborate: Energy All-in-One

The fourth E is Elaborate.

Follow the instructions on RM 3 to complete the activity.

Grade 3: Energy Elaborate. Images of cellular phone, television, ceiling fan, riding lawn mower, toaster, and car.

  • What forms of energy does each object exhibit?
  • How are the objects used in everday life, and how important are they to you?
  • What would happen if a form of energy were missing from these objects?
  • Which form(s) of energy would you consider most valuable to each object and why?

Evaluate: Exploring Energy Assessment

The fifth E is Evaluate.

Read the sentence stems on RM 4 and fill in the blanks.

  • How could we make this assesment appropriate for different learners?
  • Did you observe evidence of the ELPS in the Grade 3–Energy lesson? If so, where and what were they?
  • How would these strategies help your students?

Energy Strand Summary

Let's refer back to the Energy Lesson Summary that you began using at the end of the Grade 3—Energy lesson.

Grade 3: Exploring Energy

Grade TEKS "E" Lesson Summaries

4 (6)(A)

4 (6)(B)

4 (6)(C)


Electrifying Energy

3 3 (6)(A)






LED toy

toys with energy

Energy Made Easy

tools with energy

importance of energy

2 2 (6)(A)


Increasing and Decreasing Energy

1 1 (6)(A)


Energy in Everyday Life


K (6)(A)

K (6)(C)


Energy Is Everywhere

How does the Grade 3—Energy lesson build on the second-grade, first-grade, and kindergarten lessons? How does it support the fourth-grade lesson?

The kindergarten lesson focuses on using the five senses to explore three basic forms of energy: light, sound, and heat. Grade 1 looks at how those forms of energy are used in everyday life. Grade 2 investigates what happens when those forms of energy increase or decrease. Grade 3 introduces heat/thermal energy and mechanical energy. Grade 4 introduces electrical energy and then differentiates among light, sound, heat/thermal, mechanical, and electrical energies. Each grade level depends on the grade prior to lay the appropriate cognitive foundation. It is very important that we each do our part to help our students be successful.