We haven’t taken the time to feature a book for awhile and I thought it would be worthwhile to feature Catch the Sun, by Anne Johnson, as an initiative of Mortenson Construction’s Renewable Energy Groups. Catch the Sun explains solar energy through the eyes of a young boy named Nils whose father is in construction of clean energy sites. Nils does research on clean energy before going on a tour of some sites with his father.
Catch The Sun!
The book would be a great supplement to any upper elementary classroom introducing energy and the transfer of energy, renewable energy, the sun and patterns of change and the role of engineering. It also gives some opportunities to apply mathematical concepts in explanations of kilowatt-hours and energy costs. A quick perusal of the Next Generation Science Standards shows connections to the Disciplinary Core Ideas and Cross Cutting Concepts in Energy, Space Systems, and Earth Systems. Asking students to use the information provided in the book as a source to evaluate and communicate information, or asking them to create a model showing some of the ideas or concepts discussed (energy transfer, sun’s movement across the sky, etc.) would emphasize some important practices in the NGSS. Finally, solar energy technology can support a unit or project on Engineering Design.
For further lessons that support the teaching of energy at the elementary level please check out our Experience Energy curriculum.
Mortenson also has a webpage with supporting resources, as well as background on their other renewable energy book, Catch the Wind.
If you are in Minnesota and interested in making connections to our clean energy policy you can read more on that here.