Lesson 3: Electricity


Activity 1: A Generator

Materials: ScienceWiz Energy box, bicycle, push pin (kit)
You know that energy flows in electric currents. To understand more about how the electricity in your home is made, you will make a generator as described on pages 19-21 of book in your ScienceWiz Energy box. When you finish the experiment, explain to your parent how you produced energy.
Your child will need assistance with this project. Be sure that he understands how he was able to produce electricity. Ask him to explain what he did.

Activity 2: Power Plants and Fossil Fuels

Materials: ScienceWiz Energy box, coal (kit), hammer, paper clips (kit), tea candle (kit)
Energy can be generated in many different ways. Batteries store energy that can be converted to the energy of motion (a toy car) or to light energy (a flashlight). Many things that do not use batteries must be plugged into the wall. The power in outlets is supplied by power plants.

Much of the electricity and heat for homes come from the burning of fossil fuels. Fossil fuels, such as natural gas and coal, are burned to create heat and electricity. Fossil fuels are formed from dead animals and plants buried deep beneath the surface of the earth. The heat and pressure has caused the matter to change into fossil fuels. Fossil fuels are limited and are being used more rapidly than they can be replaced. Many scientists worry we will run out of fossil fuels if we do not find alternative forms of energy. Also, the burning of fossil fuels releases a lot of pollution into the environment.

Reread the bottom of page 23 and the top of page 24 of the book in your ScienceWiz Energy box to help you understand how fossil fuels produce electricity, and then conduct the experiment described on page 23.

NOTE: Use a hammer to break the piece of coal into smaller pieces, and then use one of the smaller pieces for the experiment. Ask a parent for assistance. Be sure to keep the candle for use in Lesson 4.
Discuss what a nonrenewable resource is and why many people worry about the United States' dependence on fossil fuels. NOTE: You or your child (with your assistance) should use a hammer to break the piece of coal into smaller pieces. One of the smaller pieces can then be used for the experiment. Also be sure that your child holds onto the candle. It will be used again in Lesson 4.