Monday, March 9, 2009

Energy Conversions

For the past week we have been working at understanding that energy cannot be created or destroyed, it can only be changed from one form of energy to another. To learn the 7 basic forms of energy, the students have learned the mnemonic:CLASHE"M.
Atomic (nuclear)
Heat (thermal)
Using toys such as wind-up mechanical toys, balls, push cars, jack-in-the box, etc. the students have used them to demonstrated potential energy and how that can be converted into kinetic energy. The kids have also learned how to draw Energy Conversion flow charts to help them better understand the concept that energy cannot be created or destroyed, only converted (changed) from one form to another.
The students have used the GenComs, small, hand cranked electrical generators, to produce electricity to light small light bulbs, ring door buzzers, and operate small motors. They have also examined small generators so that they could see that electricity is produced (generated) by having copper wire move through a magnetic field. They began to understand that some type of mechanical energy was neceassary to to turn the generator. To help them with this, they have studied flow charts for photovoltaic (solar) cells, hydroelectric, and nuclear powered generators.

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