Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Sources of Energy

Carol Houck


Students research various methods for preparing food and analyze energy sources.


The student knows that radiation, light, and heat are forms of energy used to cook food, treat diseases, and provide energy.

The student identifies forms of energy and explains that they can be measured and compared.


Per class:
-Internet access (optional)
-Research materials
-Science text
-Copies of the rubric found in the attached file


1. A discussion of energy and energy resources may be necessary prior to this activity.

2. A sample pamphlet should be used as a template to follow. A pamphlet previously done by the teacher or another student may serve this purpose.

3. Computer time may be necessary for this activity.


-Students will compare and contrast various energy forms.
-Students will use reading and writing skills to analyze energy forms.
-Students will know that food can be prepared using various forms of energy.
-Students will use computer technology to research and assemble concepts.

1. Organize the class into groups of two to conduct research on forms of energy. Brainstorm with students various ways in which a person could cook a hotdog.

2. Inform students they will work in teams of two to design a pamphlet that discusses the pros and cons of preparing a hotdog using the methods determined during the brainstorm activity. The pamphlet should be created on the computer using graphics and text. The narrative should explain the benefits of each method as well as its potential hazards and drawbacks. Each pamplet should address the following questions
a. Why is this energy source a good way to cook a hotdog?
b. Why is this energy source a bad way to cook a hotdog?
c. Why might somebody prefer this energy source over another?
d. Why might somebody choose not to use this energy source?
e. In what ways is this source of energy dangerous?
f. What special materials are necessary to cook a hotdog using this source?

3. Working in teams of two, students submit a rough draft of the pamphlet to the teacher. After the pamphlet has been approved, teams complete the final version.

4. After completion, pamphlets are shared with other class members. Discuss the pamphlets and display them in the classroom.

5. Assess understanding and resolve any misconceptions that may remain.


Students should exhibit an understanding of the following points:
-A hotdog may be cooked using various methods including microwave, sunlight, steam, stove, hotplate, oven, boiling water, fire, or heat lamp.
-The student should note the constructive uses of each form of energy as well as its disadvantages. For example, microwave ovens are a quick way to heat food and destroy some forms of bacteria. Microwave ovens give off radiant energy that is dangerous to people.
-Infrared energy is used to keep foods warm in restaurants. Infrared energy is dangerous to people and causes the quality of food to deteriorate.
-Heat energy makes food taste better and kills bacteria and parasites. Heat energy destroys vitamins.

The following assessment questions may be used.

1. Why might an individual wish to prepare a hotdog by boiling it?
a. Boiling the hotdog makes it hot.
b. Boiling the hotdog kills bacteria and germs.
c. Boiling the hotdog cooks the meat.
d. All of these are good reasons to boil a hotdog.

(answer d: These are all good reasons to boil a hotdog.)

2. Which of these methods may be used to prepare food?
a. a solar oven
b. a microwave oven
c. an electric conventional kitchen oven
d. All of these are possible ways to cook a hotdog.

(answer d: These are all possible ways.)

3. A hotdog left outside in the sun will get hot and cook. What explains this observation?
a. The ground absorbs the hotdog's energy.
b. The hotdog loses energy outside.
c. The sun provides energy which cooks the hotdog.
d. The earth provides energy which cooks the hotdog.

(answer c: The sun provides the energy to cook the hotdog.)

4. Forms of energy such as radiation, light, and heat may be used for what purpose?
a. cooking food
b. treating diseases
c. providing energy
d. all of the above

(answer d: These forms of energy can be used for all of these purposes.)

The following writing prompt may be used for assesment:
Which energy form do you use most often to cook food and why? What methods do your other family members use? (Criteria and levels of performance would need to be generated and shared with students prior to completing the assessment.)

The Pamphlet Rubric may be used to assess the pamphlets. (See attached file.)


-Debate the pros and cons of the forms of energy used to cook food.
-Invite a chef or nutritionist to speak to the class.
-Investigate some of the latest and most sophisticated uses of radiant energy used to treat diseases.
-Take brochures to an Adult Education cooking class.

Attached Files

A rubric for assessing the pamphlet.     File Extension: pdf

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