Lesson Introduction

Click Grade 4: Electrifying Energy to download the Grade 4—Energy lesson. Since this is an online course, you will need to gather the materials necessary for each portion of the lesson.

We are beginning with the grade 4 lesson to show where the concepts lead in the K–4 vertical alignment. Electrical energy is introduced for the first time in the grade 4 TEKS.

The grade 4 lesson follows the 5E model and includes scientific processes and concepts TEKS, ELPS, RtI strategies for strugging to gifted students, CCRS, and science notebooking.

Grade 4: Electrifying Energy. Content Objective is: I can differentiate among forms of energy. I can also differentiate between conductors and insulators while demonstrating how an electrical circuit works. The Language Objective is: I can compare conductors and insulators using a table.

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: Observations

View the video to observe the Engage activity.

Explore: Exploring Energy

Begin this section of the lesson by gathering the necessary materials to do the activities outlined on RM 1. If you do not have the necessary materials to complete the activity, use the virtual lab below. Use RMs 2 and 3 to record your observations. 

Safety Alert: When ordering manual generators, make sure they do not have electrical sockets. Students could be tempted to insert their fingers into the sockets, causing injury. 


View the video to debrief the activity.

Explain: Three-Ring Circuit Circus

Picture of a circus tent with the title "The Three-Ring Circuit Circus" on the front.

Click Grade 4: Three-Ring Circuit Circus Book to download the student reader. Each of the model lessons in this course contain a book or short story as part of the Explain section. This does not imply that every lesson must include a story. We simply took the opportunity to provide another resource.

Please take a moment to read the story. Click on the following video to see the human circuit and to hear the story debrief.

Elaborate: Conductors and Insulators

Begin this section of the lesson by gathering the necessary materials to complete the activity. If you do not have the materials, you can use the following virtual lab activity. Follow the instructions on RM 4 to complete the activity and to record your observations.

Image of a T chart for the grade 4 lesson. Conductor is the label on the left side of the t-chart and insulator is the label on the right side. Below the chart are sentences starters. These sentence starters are "I was surprised by . . . " and "Conductors are different from insulators because . . ."

View the video to review the activity and the debriefing discussion with face-to-face participants.

Take a moment to read each of the following science notebook entries for the lesson. Decide which notebook entry you would assign to different students in your classroom. Why?

1. What is the difference between conductors and insulators and how do they affect circuits? What are some examples of conductors and insulators?

2. Explain the design of a screwdriver. Be sure to use words including circuit, conductor, and insulator.

Let's debrief. Prompt 1 could be assigned to any student because it includes basic vocabulary and understanding of the concept. Prompt 2 could be assigned to more advanced students who need the extension and application of the concepts. Now, Prompt 2 could easily be used as a discussion point with all students but might only be used as an assessment tool for those who are ready.

Evaluate: Electrifying Energy

The fifth E is Evaluate. Take a moment to read the assessment on RM 5. 

Why are we incorporating writing into the assessment? As science teachers, it is our duty to help support and build the writing skills of fourth grade students. These students will take the STAAR™ Writing Assessment. By incorporating writing into science, we are meeting two needs at once.

Grade 4 Energy Lesson Debrief

Click Grade 4 Energy Lesson Debrief to download this document. Use the document and the lesson materials to find evidence of the Support Frameworks (ELPS, RtI, CCRS) addressed in the Grade 4 Energy lesson.

Grade 5 STAAR Released Test Question

What form of energy does this question address?

Released Grade 5 STAAR Science Question. Image of a parallel circuit with one battery, two light bulbs, and one switch. The switch is placed on the circuit for lightbulb two and is in the open position. The battery is connected to the part of the parallel circuit that's directly connected to lightbulb 1. The question asks what the student would observe.

How does elementary science support the fifth-grade knowledge needed to answer this question? Light energy is introduced in kindergarten and carried throughout grade 4. Students begin learning about electrical energy and basic circuitry in fourth grade.

How do we prepare students to answer this question? We begin laying a strong foundation for students beginning in kindergarten and must teach students the TEKS in each grade level.

This question addresses TEKS 5 (6)(B) and 5 (2)(D). The correct answer is D; Lightbulb 1 will be on, but Lightbulb 2 will be off.

Lesson Summary

Click Energy Lesson Summaries to download the document. Print this document out and fill in the activity for each "E" in the Grade 4 lesson. You will refer back to this page throughout the energy strand as you complete each grade level's energy lesson. This tool will help you keep the activities and lessons organized. 

Grade 4 Lesson

Grade TEKS "E" Lesson Summaries

4 (6)(A)

4 (6)(B)

4 (6)(C)






energy ball observations

open/closed circuit investigations

Three-Ring Circuit Circus

insulators and conductors

Write a how-to letter explaining a circuit