In this hands-on activity, students explore the electrical force that takes place between two objects. Each student builds an electroscope and uses the device to draw conclusions about objects' charge intensity. Students also determine what factors influence electric force.
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Students create their own anemometers instruments for measuring wind speed. They see how an anemometer measures wind speed by taking measurements at various school locations. They also learn about different types of anemometers, real-world applications, and how wind speed information helps engineers decide where to place wind turbines.
We are surrounded everyday by circuits that utilize "in parallel" and "in series" circuitry. Complicated circuits designed by engineers are made of many simpler parallel and series circuits. In this hands-on activity, students build parallel circuits, exploring how they function and their unique features.
Everyday we are surrounded by circuits that use "in parallel" and "in series" circuitry. Complicated circuits designed by engineers are composed of many simpler parallel and series circuits. During this activity, students build a simple series circuit and discover the properties associated with series circuits.
In the exploration of ways to use solar energy, students investigate the thermal energy storage capacities of different test materials to determine which to use in passive solar building design.
Students use balloons to perform several simple experiments to explore static electricity and charge polarization.
In the everyday electrical devices we use calculators, remote controls and cell phones a voltage source such as a battery is required to close the circuit and operate the device. In this hands-on activity, students use batteries, wires, small light bulbs and light bulb holders to learn the difference between an open circuit and a closed circuit, and understand that electric current only occurs in a closed circuit.
Students learn about using renewable energy from the Sun for heating and cooking as they build and compare the performance of four solar cooker designs. They explore the concepts of insulation, reflection, absorption, conduction and convection.
Student teams investigate the properties of electromagnets. They create their own small electromagnet and experiment with ways to change its strength to pick up more paper clips. Students learn about ways that engineers use electromagnets in everyday applications.
Students learn about current electricity and necessary conditions for the existence of an electric current. Students construct a simple electric circuit and a galvanic cell to help them understand voltage, current and resistance.
Students drop water from different heights to demonstrate the conversion of water's potential energy to kinetic energy. They see how varying the height from which water is dropped affects the splash size. They follow good experiment protocol, take measurements, calculate averages and graph results. In seeing how falling water can be used to do work, they also learn how this energy transformation figures into the engineering design and construction of hydroelectric power plants, dams and reservoirs.
Students gain an understanding of the difference between electrical conductors and insulators, and experience recognizing a conductor by its material properties. In a hands-on activity, students build a conductivity tester to determine whether different objects are conductors or insulators. In another activity, students use their understanding of electrical properties to choose appropriate materials to design and build their own basic circuit switch.
Students learn that it is incorrect to believe that heavier objects fall faster than lighter objects. By close observation of falling objects, they see that it is the amount of air resistance, not the weight of an object, which determines how quickly an object falls.
Students learn more about forces by examining the force of gravitational attraction. They observe how objects fall and measure the force of gravitational attraction upon objects.
Students learn how the sun can be used for energy. They learn about passive solar heating, lighting and cooking, and active solar engineering technologies (such as photovoltaic arrays and concentrating mirrors) that generate electricity. Students investigate the thermal energy storage capacities of test materials. They learn about radiation and convection as they build a model solar water heater and determine how much it can heat water in a given amount of time. In another activity, students build and compare the performance of four solar cooker designs. In an associated literacy activity, students investigate how people live "off the grid" using solar power.
During a power failure, or when we go outside at night, we grab a flashlight so we can find our way. What happens inside a flashlight that makes the bulb light up? Why do we need a switch to turn on a flashlight? Have you ever noticed that for the flashlight to work you must orient the batteries a certain way as you insert them into the casing? Many people do not know that a flashlight is a simple series circuit. In this hands-on activity, students build this everyday household item and design their own operating series circuit flashlights.
Students complete a series of six short investigations involving magnets to learn more about their properties. Students also discuss engineering uses for magnets and brainstorm examples of magnets in use in their everyday lives.
Students explore the composition and practical application of parallel circuitry, compared to series circuitry. Students design and build parallel circuits and investigate their characteristics, and apply Ohm's law.
Students learn that charge movement through a circuit depends on the resistance and arrangement of the circuit components. In a hands-on activity, students build and investigate the characteristics of series circuits. In another activity, students design and build a flashlight.
Students learn how water is used to generate electricity. They investigate water's potential-to-kinetic energy transformation in hands-on activities about falling water and waterwheels. During the activities, they take measurements, calculate averages and graph results. Students also learn the history of the waterwheel and how engineers use water turbines in hydroelectric power plants today. They discover the advantages and disadvantages of hydroelectric power. In a literacy activity, students learn and write about an innovative new hydro-electrical power generation technology.
In this hands-on activity, students construct a simple switch and determine what objects and what types of materials can be used to close a switch in a circuit and light a light bulb.
Students come to understand static electricity by learning about the nature of electric charge, and different methods for charging objects. In a hands-on activity, students induce an electrical charge on various objects, and experiment with electrical repulsion and attraction.
Students learn about wind as a source of renewable energy and explore the advantages and disadvantages wind turbines and wind farms. They also learn about the effectiveness of wind turbines in varying weather conditions and how engineers work to create wind power that is cheaper, more reliable and safer for wildlife.
Students build their own two-cell batteries. They also determine which electrolyte solution is best suited for making batteries.
Students learn the history of the waterwheel and common uses for water turbines today. They explore kinetic energy by creating their own experimental waterwheel from a two-liter plastic bottle. They investigate the transformations of energy involved in turning the blades of a hydro-turbine into work, and experiment with how weight affects the rotational rate of the waterwheel. Students also discuss and explore the characteristics of hydroelectric plants.
Students build their own simple conductivity tester and explore whether given solid materials and solutions of liquids are good conductors of electricity.
Students learn how engineers transform wind energy into electrical energy by building their own miniature wind turbines and measuring the electrical current it produces. They explore how design and position affect the electrical energy production.
To explore different ways of using solar energy, students build a model solar water heater and determine how much it can heat water in a given amount of time. Solar water heaters work by solar radiation and convection.