Print and distribute The Mysterious Everything student sheet to your students. Ask them to read along with you as you read it out loud in class. The student sheet does not include all of the text your teacher sheet has, and that is because you will want the students to try and guess what The Mysterious Everything is.
“The Mysterious Everything”
(Excerpted from the Flying Turtle website: http://www.ftexploring.com/me/everything.html)
What is this stuff?
Whatever happens is caused by it. Whatever is, is made up of it.
You need it. You are made of it.
Everything needs it. Everything is it.
It is everything!
You need it to run, to walk, to sit,
to sleep, "perchance to dream,"
to eat, "perchance to belch,"
or to make any other rude noises you shouldn't make.
You use it constantly, every moment, awake or asleep.
You can't get mad without it.
You can't get glad without it.
You can't get anything without it.
It makes the wind blow, rain fall, and lightning zap and thunder. It "feeds" volcanoes and earthquakes. It drives tidal waves, typhoons, and tornadoes.
It powers the universe.
It powers bacteria.
It is the Mysterious Everything.
Let's call it ME for short.
Stop reading here and ask the students if they know yet what ME is. Chances are not, since it is vague. Begin reading again.
Most of the ME that we use pours down onto the earth from the sun. It is so eager to get here and start heating things up that it zips through the 93 million miles of space vacuum between us and the sun in eight and one half minutes. It heats the oceans and land masses and the air. It makes wind and ocean currents. It evaporates water, forms clouds, and drops rain and snow all over the place.
Plants, on the land and in the water, absorb the ME from the sun, then use it along with water (sent to them by the sun) and carbon dioxide to make more of themselves. They store the ME in molecules they make with the help of ME.
The Mysterious Everything keeps moving and changing.
Animals eat the plants. They use the Mysterious Everything that was stored in the plant molecules to breathe, move, stay warm, and to make more of themselves by combining the plant material with water. Then other animals eat the animals that ate the plants. Again the ME is used and changed.
The Mysterious Everything keeps moving and changing. It exists in many forms.
Over and over again it is transformed from one form to another. As far as anyone knows it never goes away, gets less, or gets more. The total amount always stays the same.
Though in the great scheme of things the total amount available to keep making things happen is always getting less. If we didn't get a new blast of it everyday from the sun, we would all run down and die in an unpleasantly short cold time.
Huh? How can it stay the same but become less? Be patient, all will eventually be revealed.
Stop reading and ask the students:
If the students know the answer, have a discussion about energy. Ask them these questions:
If students still haven’t figured out what it is, continue reading, but ask students to listen from this point onward. The following content is not included on their student sheet.
What I am calling the Mysterious Everything, ME for short, is what scientists and engineers rather boringly call ENERGY.
Note: You can stop reading here and continue to have a class discussion. Or you can continue reading. These last paragraphs are fun and informative.
I didn't want to use that common old everyday word. It might cause someone, not you of course, but someone, to think, "Oh, a boring science subject. I don't do science. I'll just turn off my brain now."
Well don't. Energy is too wondrous and mind boggling a subject to have just one name.
Mysterious Everything is a good name for the stuff. The Everything part is good because everything that happens requires it. There are no "happenings" without it. And now, thanks to Albert Einstein and other scientists, we know that matter and energy are interchangeable. Yeah, it's the old E=mc² equation. Matter can be converted to energy and the other way too. Two different sides of the same coin, you might say. So, energy really does appear to be everything.
The Mysterious part fits, too. Yeah we know some things about energy, a heck of a lot more than we used to know. We can measure it. Describe how it behaves and predict what it will do. We can use it in countless ways. But we don't know any more about what it ultimately really is, or where it came from, than we did 5,000 years ago. All we really have learned to do is use mathematical formulas to describe its behavior.
Scientists and engineers learn how it behaves and use that knowledge. Scientists use the knowledge to study and explain our world and the universe. Engineers use the knowledge of how energy behaves to make the machines and devices that make up our modern technological world. If you like mysteries, you'll love energy. Listen to what Richard Feynman, one of the best known physicists of the twentieth century, said about energy, “It is important to realize that in physics today, we have no knowledge of what energy is. We do not have a picture that energy comes in little blobs of a definite amount.”
So we'll call it the Mysterious Everything. And sometimes, just so you can communicate with the less imaginative, we'll call it Energy⎯and Matter.
Energy is always changing. Wait five minutes, blink your eyes, and Mr. Energy is wearing a different hat. Turn around and the "Great Motivator" has changed its disguise. Look away for a moment and...well...you get the idea.
(Excerpted from the Flying Turtle website at: http://www.ftexploring.com/me/everything.html)This teacher sheet is a part of the Combustion lesson.