Sara Lacy

Professional Title
Senior Scientist
About Me (Bio)
Sara Lacy is a senior scientist at TERC. The focus of her current work is development of resources for teaching and learning about energy in elementary school. She is principal investigator of the project Focus on Energy: Preparing Elementary Teachers to Meet the NGSS Challenge and was previously PI of Rethinking How to Teach Energy: Laying the Foundations in Elementary School. At TERC, Sara has developed and facilitated science curriculum for in-service K-8 teachers for the Lesley/TERC Science in Education Online Master's Degree program and The Fulcrum Institute for Education in Science and for children in grades 3-5 as a member of The Inquiry Project and the Talk Science project. She holds a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from Princeton University.
Citations of DRK-12 or Related Work (DRK-12 work is denoted by *)
  • Tobin, R. G., Lacy, S., Crissman, S., & Haddad, N. (2018). Model-based reasoning about energy: A fourth-grade case study. Journal of Research in Science Teaching.*
  • Tobin, R., Lacy, S., Crissman, S., Haddad, N., Wentink, O., & Seeley, L. (2019). Where does energy go when it's "Gone"? Promoting understanding of energy dissipation. American Journal of Physics, 87(7).*
  • Crissman, S., Lacy, S., Nordine, J., & Tobin, R. (2015). Looking Through the Energy Lens: A Strategy Helps Students Develop a Fuller View of Energy's Role in a Variety of Phenomena. Science and Children.*
TERC, Inc.

This project will develop and investigate the opportunities and limitations of Focus on Energy, a professional development (PD) system for elementary teachers (grades 3-5). The PD will contain: resources that will help teachers to interpret, evaluate and cultivate students' ideas about energy; classroom activities to help them to identify, track and represent energy forms and flows; and supports to help them in engaging students in these activities.

TERC, Inc.

This project is a collaborative effort that aims to develop a grade 3-5 Learning Progression that will provide a coherent approach to teaching energy in elementary school and lay a strong foundation for further learning in middle school. The project will identify a network of core concepts and principles about energy that are fundamental and general enough to be compatible with scientific ideas about energy, yet within reach of 5th graders.