Copernicus Kids have been busy exploring a couple of sources of renewable energy such as wind and sun, as well as experimenting with kinetic and potential energy. Some of the activities last month included, building wind operated cars, experimenting with light by using plastic solar light bulbs and completing electrical circuits to give energy to an electrical bulb. They also explored with pulleys, created wind mills, and even cooked using a solar oven! Conversations about conservation were also a big part of our days including talking about which sources are renewable and which are not.
Kids designed and constructed small cars using recycled materials including cardboard and bottle tops. Some calibration and troubleshooting assistance was provided by teachers. Kids really enjoyed operating their cars using the power of wind, which in this case was via balloons! The experimentation of light sources was also engaging, as kids installed plastic bottles in make shift “rooms” and used the sun’s rays passing through the water in the bottle to fill the dark space with light. Electrical light bulbs were also powered by completing a simple circuit. A complementary activity included the deconstruction of electronics such as battery operated toys and solar operated calculators. Our students were able to connect certain concepts by looking at a variety of circuits which looked similar to those they had worked with before!
When talking about the immense energy the Earth receives from the sun (more in one hour than can be used in one year!), Copernicus Kids made a solar oven. Using a pizza box, dark paper, plastic wrap, and aluminum foil, the oven was constructed in a team effort. Quesadillas anyone? Yes! Kids prepared and baked a quesadillas using the solar oven they built. What a tasty activity!
Finalizing this exciting energy theme, our students experimented with some simple machines and their relationships with mechanical energy. Students enjoyed playing with pulleys, ramps, and wedges. Teachers explained how they were transferring the energy from their bodies (in the form of work) to lift the different objects in the buckets attached to the pulleys. This was also the case when playing outside shoveling sand!
The ramps were also very successful. Students enjoyed testing the height of the ramps as well as how different objects travel at different speeds, resulting in varying displacements patterns. During this time, our conversations revolved around how potential energy changes to kinetic as our objects gain speed going down the ramp.
During our present month, the conversations about energy progressed to how the sun provides the energy for plant germination and growth. Stay tuned to our next blog which will detail some of the Copernicus Kids’ activities in planting and horticulture!