Thermal Energy & Heat

What are Forms of Energy?

There are many different forms of energy and in third-grade physical science, our standards include heat energy, light energy, and sound energy.  This 3rd Grade Physical Science Thermal Energy & Heat unit covers every inch of the standard!

The goal is to learn about energy and how we use it in everyday life.  I will be honest and say this was another subject I knew very little about before diving into the deep end! Of course, I started with my favorite science friend, Bill Nye and he did not disappoint with potential and kinetic energy! The students love his energy and I love all the vocabulary he uses!

Energy and Its 3 Basic Forms Heat, Light, and Sound

When I began researching this unit I knew I was going to do some great experiments.  I loved the experiments so much, I pulled all of the labs out of the big unit, Thermal Energy & Heat, and made a mini-unit!  The students loved all of the hands-on activities and really retained what they were taught!  I always think hands-on is best!  I know that is how I learn the best!!!

Energy Sources for 3rd Grade

My Thermal Energy and Heat Unit is packed full of lesson plans for 2-3 weeks, labs, printables and assessments. My goal was to make this unit super easy to use and something you could print and do in your classroom tomorrow!!!

Learning Materials Included in Unit:
            • Vocabulary – Interactive Notebook Page
            • Text Features with Reading Passage *MOST Popular*
            • 7 Labs with full instructions
            • 4 assessments
            • Word Wall
            • **Student pages include test prep questions to insure understanding of each lab.

Head over here to check out one of my VIDEOS of an easy lab in progress!!!!!

Heat Experiments for 3rd Grade

My “cool” factor went up 99% when we started doing these experiments in class.  Now I will be the first to admit, not all of them were a success.  I taught three Science classes and some of the classes it would flat out fail while others it would be a total success.  Thank goodness for Youtube.  Anytime something failed, I turned on a video and we watched the experiment work correctly.  I only remember breaking one thermometer!


Test Prep and Differentiation

When testing rolls around I will pull out these choice boards to use as a review.  Choice Boards are used to show understanding. They can make differentiation so much easier to manage in your classroom. Choice boards are a great tool to use because they allow students to make choices while encouraging them to think critically. I love using choice boards for differentiation.


My students love being able to make choices in their learning. The board can be used as classwork or as homework. Students really do love being able to choose how they show you what they know.

This HEAT packet has two different versions of choice boards, but both are very similar.  I have included all of the graphic organizers needed, including instructions for making a picture book.


I love to use a choice board as a review for State Testing. They can use their Science book and Interactive Notebook to complete the different tasks. It is a great way to review a lot of material in a few days!

In my classroom, I would require them to complete three choices. I would provide copies of the graphic organizers and using the same format every time, it really helped with differentiation.  Finally, students would turn in their rough drafts, as well as a final copy.   It is possible to use the boards for partner activities, as well as independent activities and centers in small group reading.

I hope you gained new ideas or two for teaching HEAT and THERMAL ENERGY in the classroom!!! I have several Science posts, including a few with freebies!

Mrs. Patton

Welcome! I am Kim Patton and have been a second grade teacher since 2010. I’m a Christ-follower, wife, mother, teacher, blogger, and TpTer. I love traveling, spending time with my family, creating classroom materials, pizza, Peloton, and playing in the camper! I am glad you're here!

All posts

1 Comment

  • […] I love incorporating Science into Small Group Reading!  For more ways to include text features click here to read more! […]

  • Leave a Reply

    I am Kim Patton and have been a second-grade teacher since 2010. I’m a Christ-follower, wife, mother, teacher, blogger, and TpTer. I love traveling, spending time with my family, creating curriculum, pizza, Peloton, and playing in the camper! I am glad you're here! Read More

    Blog Posts

    TpT Shop