Teaching Physical Science with Children’s Literature: Energy Makes Things Happen


How do certain things in life work? Where to objects recieve the help they need to move and operate? How does the sun work? These are all questions that students must be able to comprehend and answer at the elementary level. Energy Makes Things Happens written by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley and Illustrated by Paul Meisel is a great book to get kids thinking about the different aspects of energy and some things in our daily lives that involve the use of energy. At the end of the book, the author provides different activities that teachers could do with their students.

The book starts off with a 2page layout of different items in our everyday lives that use some sort of energy. Throughout the story there are different examples of energy use such as, ” the sun shines in the sky and two children run with a kite”. After giving the examples of energy the authors end by saying ” all these things have different kinds of energy”. Further along the book, it is explained that energy can be transferred and the ways that this tranfer can take place. Each thing that is mentioned has a specific reason as to why it is considered energy; what makse it have the characteristics that defines energy.

Curriculm Connections:
This book could be used to introduce the overall unit of energy. It can be used to describe the different aspects that will be covered throughout the lesson and provide an opportunity for students to start thinking about the world around them and what characteristics of energy they see in their everyday lives. After reading the book, the teacher can ask the students to name some things they think constitute energy that they see in their everyday lives. This book will help the student understand that 1.2) moving objects exhibit different kinds of motion and that d) this motion can be seen in playground activities and the toys that children use in their everyday lives.

Additional Resources:
For great background information on energy and how it changes try Energy Changes.

Energy Quest: Great hands on website to help the students better understand the aspect of energy.

Education World: Lesson plan on how energy is created from water

General Information:
Book: Energy Makes Things Happen
Author: Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
Illustrator: Paul Meisel
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication Date: January 2003
Pages: 5-31
Grade Range: k-1
ISBN:  9780064452137

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