Level 4

Alaska Science
Key Element A8b

A student who meets the content standard should understand the scientific principles and models that state whenever energy is reduced in one place, it is increased somewhere else by the same amount (Energy Transformations).


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Performance Standard Level 4, Ages 15–18

Students measure energy transfers that take place around them and use the data to examine The Law of Conservation of Energy.

Sample Assessment Ideas

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Sample Assessment Ideas

  • Students burn a candle or kerosene and measure the energy transferred to a measured amount of water; describe the relationship between energy in water and the fuel burned; identify all energy losses that occur.

  • Students draw a diagram describing how photosynthesis in plants stores energy from the sun in the chemical bonds of sugars; identify energy losses to the environment.

Expanded Sample Assessment Idea

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Expanded Sample Assessment Idea

  • Students trace the flow of energy from a food source to its final form; make calorimetry measurements to support these ideas.


Students will:

  1. Choose 3 foods from their daily diet that they will use in calorimetry experiments (at least one food item should be an oily, fatty food.)

  2. Research the calorie content of the foods.

  3. Perform standard calorimetry experiments burning a measured amount of one food to heat a measured amount of water.

  4. Complete the calculations to determine energy content of food; identify corrections for energy losses.

  5. Create a poster or model that traces energy inputs beginning with solar energy source, and showing all energy conservations.

Reflection and Revision

Create poster or model to display energy information. Include an error analysis—what are the sources of error? How can the experimental design be modified to significantly reduce the energy loss?


Levels of Performance

Stage 4
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Student work is complete, correct, and shows detailed evidence of knowledge related to food energy, energy transfer and the Law of Conservation of Energy. Poster or model includes three foods, their calorie content; data and calculations using appropriate units from calorimetry experiment, and a detailed error analysis that includes modification to experimental design.
Stage 3
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Student work is mostly complete, correct, and shows evidence of knowledge related to food energy and energy transfers, but may contain minor errors or omissions. Poster or model includes three foods, their calorie content; data and calculations from calorimetry experiment that may be represented without appropriate units, and a discussion of experimental error and how to reduce experimental errors.
Stage 2
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Student work may be incomplete and show limited evidence of knowledge related to food energy or energy transfers. Poster or model may show evidence of skilled craftsmanship but contain limited information related to food types, calorie content, and the calorimetry experiment.
Stage 1
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Student work is mostly incomplete, incorrect, shows evidence of major misconceptions relating to energy and energy transfers.
Standards Cross-Reference gold rule

Standards Cross-References
( Alaska Department of Education & Early Development Standards

National Science Education Standards

The total energy of the universe is constant. Energy can be transferred by collisions in chemical and nuclear reactions, by light waves and other radiations, and in many other ways. However, it can never be destroyed. As these transfers occur, the matter involved becomes steadily less ordered. (Page 180)

All energy can be considered to be either kinetic energy, which is the energy of motion; potential energy, which depends on relative position; or energy contained by a field, such as electromagnetic waves. (Page 180)

Waves, including sound and seismic waves, waves on water, and light waves, have energy and can transfer energy when they interact with matter. (Page 180)

Each kind of atom or molecule can gain or lose energy only in particular discrete amounts and thus can absorb and emit light only at wavelengths corresponding to these amounts. These wavelengths can be used to identify the substance. (Page 180)



Whenever the amount of energy in one place or form diminishes, the amount in other places or forms increases by the same amount. (Page 86)

Transformations of energy usually produce some energy in the form of heat, which spreads around by radiation or conduction into cooler places. Although just as much total energy remains, its being spread out more evenly means less can be done with it. (Page 86)

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