Energy Transfer

8-10 yrs old

Computer Science


Students will use code to help model light, sound, heat, and electrical energy transfer.

avatar Submitted By: John Miller

October 29, 2018


  • Collaboration
  • Creativity
  • Critical Thinking

Supporting Files

World File

World file for student use

Lesson Plan

Lesson plan in Word format.

Learning Objectives

  • • Students will understand how to use the clone command.
  • Students will understand how to use the fill command.
  • Students will understand agent movement, repeat, and place commands.
  • Students will learn how to create an “undo” command.
  • Students will learn how to change the time of day.
  • Students will make observations to provide evidence that energy can be transferred from place to place by sound, light, heat, and electric currents. (NGSS 4-PS3-2)

Guiding Ideas

Blocks can be copied and placed in a different location using the clone command .

Given coordinates, the fill command can fill a space with blocks .

Sound energy diminishes over distance traveled .

Electrical energy can be transferred over wire .

Heat energy can be transferred through the atmosphere .

Light (energy) from the sun helps plants grow .

Students will benefit from an understanding of the relative coordinate system used in this activity to fill and clone blocks. There are 3 coordinates represented by ~0 ~0 ~0. With a student standing on a block, the first coordinate reflects east/west orientation. West is negative and east is positive. The second number is the relative position up (positive), or down (negative). The final number reflects a position north (negative), or south (positive) of the player. In this world, the students face north upon spawn and great the NPC. The greenhouse is east, wood pile south, and note blocks are west.


Student Activities

This activity is best completed by individuals, or by students working in pairs.

Students will visit 3 stations to interact with models that demonstrate energy transfer.

  1. Build a greenhouse roof using the fill command and plant trees around the perimeter using the player agent. (Light energy)
  2. Visit the pre-built note block area, install a button and listen to the generated beat before cloning the space and adding beats of their own. (Sound and electrical energy)
  3. Witness heat transfer from fire charges to wooden logs to the atmosphere. (Heat energy)


Fly to the obsidian block on top of the southwest corner of the building. Investigate the number of blocks east and north of that position. This will be used in the fill with command.

Create an on chat command and place a fill with command within it.

  • fill with (glass block)
  • from ~0 ~0 ~0
  • to ~21 ~0 ~-21
  • [replace]

Run the command. If a mistake is made, students can create a copy (crtl+C then ctrl+V) and rename it “undo.” Change the block from glass to air and run the command.

Have the agent plant trees around the perimeter of the greenhouse. Students should stand on the obsidian block on the ground in the northwest corner of the building and create a command to teleport the agent to them. Command the agent to face south. Add a sapling into the agent’s inventory.

Allow students to experiment given the instructions below:

on chat command “trees”

repeat (5) times do

agent move [forward] by 6

agent place [back]

agent turn left

Students can copy this stack and paste it 3 more times, attaching each to the bottom. This will instruct the agent to plant trees along all 4 sides of the greenhouse.

Note blocks

Attach a button to the east facing side of the stone block next to the sign with the arrow. Press the button and a tune will play. Students should not make any adjustments to this set-up before cloning their own copy to play with.

To stop the repeating tune, break the circuit (redstone) on top of any sand block.

Standing on the obsidian block in the southeast corner, students will make a clone of the set-up and place it adjacent to this one using this clone from command:

on chat command “clone

  • clone from ~0 ~0 ~0
  • to ~-15 ~-1 ~-9
  • into ~-15 ~-1 ~-19
  • mask [replace]
  • mode [normal]

Students can now adjust the note blocks by right-clicking on them and can also adjust the electrical timing. As students move away from the note block, the volume decreases.

Wood pile

Students will find “fire charges” inside the chests. They are to place at least one charge into each dispenser. An inverted light sensor sits atop each dispenser. When night falls the dispensers will shoot out (transfer) the charges, igniting the wood. As the wood burns, it will likely transfer heat energy to the rooftop. Students will also witness “smoke” being transferred into the atmosphere.

When students are ready for night to fall, have them type . . .

/time set sunset


Performance Expectations

Students will demonstrate their understanding of a fill command by creating a glass rooftop for the greenhouse.

They will share their understanding of agent movement and block placement by coding their agent to plant tress around the perimeter of the greenhouse.

They will witness how sound energy travels over distance by cloning a note block station and creating a tune.

They will be able to describe how heat energy is transferred from fire charge to logs to rooftop to the atmosphere.

Students should be able to answer the following questions:

  • How does electricity transfer energy from one block to another?
  • Describe how a forest fire is an example of the transfer of heat energy.
  • How could you use a daylight sensor to explain light energy transfer?


  • Collaboration
  • Creativity
  • Critical Thinking

External References

Supporting Files

World File

World file for student use

Lesson Plan

Lesson plan in Word format.