I often start a new topic by BRAINSTORMING with the kids. ...... seeing what they already know about the topic (activating prior knowledge) and finding out what they want to learn about the topic. When the kids come up with their own questions about a new topic, then they are usually more motivated to learn.
One way to find out what kids already know about a topic is to fill in a GRAPHIC ORGANIZER. You could use one of the graphic organizers on Learning Workroom's website.
Click Here: http://www.learningworkroom.com
The children can write Energy in the middle circle and also write in any facts or information that they already know.
In the surrounding circles they can list any energy forms that they know with facts, questions, etc. Younger students can draw pictures or dictate their information to an older student, parent, teacher, etc.
Energy: the ability to do work, cause motion, or produce change
Energy Forms: Electricity, Magnetism, Light, Sound, Solar, Heat, Wind, Mechanical, etc.
The children can share their information, pictures, and questions with each other and share how they use energy in their own lives.