Energy exchange

What you do:

Understand how energy moves from one form to another using littleBits! In this activity we will stored energy (batteries), solar energy, and mechanical energy into electricity.

What you need:

Per group:

  • littleBits:
    • Power Bit
    • USB Power Bit
    • Fan Bit
    • Wire Bit
    • Long LED Bit
    • Buzzer Bit
    • Bargraph Bit
  • 9V batteries
  • Solar panels with USB outputs (can be shared between groups)
  • Hand crank flashlights with USB output (can be shared between groups)

Media

Activity

Have the students explore the different ways they can turn on different littleBits components. Can they turn on an LED with a battery? How about with a solar panel in the sun? In the dark? How hard to they have to turn a hand crank to get it to power these circuits?

Ask the students about the different types of energy going into these circuits (electrical, solar, mechanical) and the different types coming out (light and mechanical). Can they think of other types of energy conversion in their daily lives?

Crater Case – Moon crater flour drop

What you do:

Why do craters on the moon have different sizes? It has to do with energy!
Teach students the relationship between speed, mass, and energy with this fun and flour-y activity.

In this activity, we’ll drop balls from predetermined heights into a pan of flour. By measuring the size of the created crater, we can estimated how much energy the falling ball had.

What you need:

Lesson plan

  • Aluminum broiling pan (1 per group)
  • Flour (2 lbs per group)
  • Golf ball or other small spherical object (1 per group)
    • Optional: balls of other sizes
  • Yard stick (1 per group)
  • Ruler (1 per group)
  • Rubber poppers (1 per student)

Mighty Mix-up – Chemical potential energy

What you do:

Learn about chemical potential energy! Many chemicals store energy, which can be released when mixed. In this activity, we mix chemicals and observe the change in temperature.


This activity is also a good opportunity to emphasize safety and good scientific technique. Mixing chemicals can create unexpected results, so students should only do so under adult supervision. Calcium chloride can be toxic if ingested, so please review the MSDS before using. Mixing these chemicals can cause splashing so safety goggles are recommended.

What you need:

Lesson plan

Worksheet

  • Thermometer (1 per group)
  • Dixie cup (2 per group)
  • Plastic cup, clear, 8-12 oz (2 per group)
  • Baking soda (1.5 Tbsp per group)
  • Vinegar (1/4 cup per group)
  • Calcium chloride (1 tbsp per group)
  • Water (1/4 cup per group)
  • Plastic bowl (1 per group)
  • Marking pen (1 per class)
  • Tablespoon (1 per class)
  • Quarter cup measure (1 per class)

Searching for Seeds

What You Do:

Learn about the plant life cycle by exploring common fruits for different seeds. Engage students by allowing them to observe fruits with a new perspective.

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Marble Mania

What You Do:

What is energy, and how can we visualize its transfer from one object to another? In this lesson, we’ll visualize kinetic energy with marbles! Students should walk away with an understanding that energy is related to mass and velocity.

What You Need:

Marbles, Assorted sizes (4-5 per group)

Pool noodle, cut in half lengthwise (1 half per group)

Meter stick (1 per group)

Marble mania worksheet (1 per student)

Worksheet

LessonPlan


Media


Lego DNA Base Pairing

What You Do:

Teach kids about the genetic code by spelling and decoding codon secret messages with Lego bricks.

See the rest of this experiment »

Discover DNA

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What You Do:

Explore how scale models are built and used.

Learn about DNA and its function in the body.

Investigate how information is stored in DNA.

Build a candy model of the DNA structure.

Decode a secret message.

PB and J Day

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What You Do:

Practice writing and following directions.

Understand why clear instructions are important.

Explain to your teacher how to make the best PB & J!

Tower Power

What You Do:

Explore the engineering design process.

Learn about engineers and their jobs.

Practice teamwork and communication skills.

Build a index card tower in response to a design challenge.

Lesson adapted from the Engineering Adventures “Shake Things Up” curriculum from The Museum of Science, Boston.

LittleBits Introduction

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What You Do:

Explore circuits and their components.

Use the engineering design process to solve a problem.

Build functional circuits with LittleBits.

Lesson and media based off the material available at the LittleBits website.

Recommended Lead-Up Lesson: Circular Circuits