Thursday, January 23, 2014

Year 2 - Week 15 - Kinetic and Potential Energy Experiments and more

Kinetic and Potential Energy Experiments and Types of Sentences Dress Up!

Today we had a little delay with the weather.  Being in North Carolina, when it snows 1/3" - things are delayed, preschools are closed and Moms scramble!  Originally growing up in upstate, it's funny to see the panic over a flake of snow!
So…to save time, allow kids to play in that fabulous 1/3" of snow and make alternate arrangements for little ones, we omitted our lap books today and instead, we sang and hand motioned through the Week 15 Grammar.  Then we broke out our activities to help the kids understand better, the concepts of energy - potential and kinetic!

To start, we built a catapult out of popsicle sticks, rubber bands and a plastic spoon.  Easy peasy and the kids enjoyed making them.  The directions for these are on the Wonderful Wednesday portion of the Teaching Plan.
We then took them into the gym and decided to try a couple different objects to launch from our spoon catapults.

We discussed the potential energy that was in our catapults and how we could increase the amount of potential energy by pulling our spoons back as far as possible.  When we released them it became kinetic energy and we observed to see which balls went the furthest.
Next we took plastic cups launchers (I made them by cutting off the bottoms of plastic cups and pulling a balloon tied off and cut then pulled over the mouth of the cup).  I found directions at here.  This made a "launcher" for our balls that had lots of potential energy! 

The kids tried launching pom-poms and small plastic balls out of them, to see how far they would go and how the potential energy could be increased or decreased by the amount of force/tension applied when pulling back the balloon, before releasing the object.  We had our engineer guest demonstrator today to help us understand kinetic and potential energy!  :)
Next we used various sized rubber bands and compared shooting them across the mats, to see if the size or tension placed on the band, effected the amount of potential energy and kinetic energy.

The last activity we did was to give all the kids dominos!  Then they either teamed up or they individually made domino runs and tested them.  Discussion on the potential energy of the domino before the first domino was tapped and then the kinetic energy once it's released and proceeds to knock over each domino in a chain reaction, was discussed.

No discussion involving kids, regarding kinetic and potential energy, would be complete without a demonstration of jumping jacks!  

 Then our yummy snack!
Te end, we played a game of Trivial Pursuit™ with the kids for CC Memory Work Review time, while they finished eating their snacks!  

Lot's of fun today with experimentation regarding kinetic energy and understanding potential energy!

It was a wonderful Wednesday!

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  1. Loving this for an active science experiement. Best way to learn

  2. We made catapults a while back, but we never discussed potential energy. That's a great idea and I love all the ways you found to demonstrate it through hands-on activities.

  3. I'm sure they completely get the idea of potential and kinetic energy now! What great experiments!