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Energizing Experiments

There are lots ot ob\ ions good reasons for including a unit on energy in your ham radio curriculum. While lining up my guest speakers for my classroom this term, f decided to invite a spokesperson from our local electric utility Con tdison. Guest speakers are always a good idea. They bring a change of pace and face for the youngsters, or lo whomever your daily audience is* We wound up having several assembly programs being given so that other children besides ihe ham radio students couid benefit from the visit, I fere are some of the experiments the children seemed to enjoy the most-

Ail of us know that energy is a hig part of our lives, Scientists define energy as the ability ro do work. There are many forms ol energy; for example, there are heat, light, electricity movement of air, water, and machines, and gravity (the earth's pull). There arc many sources of energy; for example, there are fossil fuels, hydropower. nuclear power, and solar power. Sheets of paper were distributed for the students to list the ways in which energ\ makes their lives better ll was pointed out that some energy sources are limited and costly, That's why conserving energy is so important. After the experiments were completed, the children were asked to add io the list ihcv had made.

The first experiment dcult with conduction. The materials needed are: hot water, shallow pant metal spoon, wooden spoon, plastic spoon, and a glass rod or lube.


Heat is an important form of energ\ in the home. Heal is "molecules in motion." Molecules are particles that are too small lo see with the eye. All things are made of molecules. They move back and forth slov\ !y at cot^I tempera-lures—faster at warmer temperatures. Heat can move by conduction —heat passing directly from one thing to another through touch, Convection is when something heats air (through conduction )t which then rises, carrying the heat elsewhere. Radiation is invisible "heat rays" which carry heat away from something. (No touching of objects or movement1s of air is needed.)

Homes, schools and other buildings lose heat in cold weather, and gain heat in hot weather by conduction. Heat is "conducted" through walls, doors, windows, etc. Ln this experiment you'll "feel" conduction at work.

Marty spin-off lessons come after a guest speaker has visited a ham radio classroom* Here 5 Krisry, 8th grade*

L Pour about 1 inch of water in [he pan.

2. Place the spoons and the glass rod or lube in the hot water Which object do you think will become the warmest?

3. After 2 minutes, remove the objects fro m the w ate r Whie h one feels the warmest ? Which one leels the coolest? Children were asked to explain why on their papers.

This was a really simple experiment designed for lower grades. Of course ii can be adapted for older classes accordingly.

How To Figure Electricity Costs

The next activity led to several spin-off lessons in math and science. "How To Figure Electricity Costs" brought us many favorable comments from the parents. Ma-ierials needed: classroom lighting information i wattage and number of bulbs in the classroom ).

Electricity is a form of energy used widely in homes, schools, and other buildings. Choice and use of lighting and appliances affect electricity costs. This experiment will give you a rough idea of how electricity costs are determined.


1. Find nut how many lighi bulbs are used to light your classroom.

2. Find out how many w diis of electricity each bulbusesr (More watts means more electricity is being used.)

3. Total the watts. Be sure to include the watts for each bulb.

4. Divide the total by IIXK).

5. Multiply your answer by the average number of hours the bulbs are left on during each school day<

6. Multiply your answer by the number ul sehtxil days in the year. This will tell you roughly the number of "kilowatt-hours" of electricity the lights will use in the school year.

Hands-on experiments can he "energizing. This is Mohammed. 7th grade;

If each kilowatt-hour costs 10 cents, about how much does it cost to lighi your classroom for the year? Can you think of two ways to cut lighting costs in school and at home?

The students enjoyed running all over the classroom, jotting down the wattage information. More importantly, it made them aware that there is a real cost to consumption ui electricity,

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