Lesson 2: Electricity

Getting Started

We use electricity to make light and to run motors. Every day we use electricity without thinking about where it comes from or how it works. Electricity can come from a battery or an electrical outlet. Think of all the ways you use electricity during a single day!

Stuff You Need

  • Let's Explore Energy by Moving Beyond the Page
  • coal (kit)
  • hammer
  • markers
  • matches
  • paper clips (kit)
  • poster board
  • small metal pot
  • tea candle (kit)

Ideas to Think About

  • What is your relationship with energy?
  • How are energy and the environment interrelated?

Things to Know

  • Batteries store energy that can be used for motion and light.
  • Fossil fuels are nonrenewable sources of energy, such as coal, oil, and natural gas. They are formed from the remains of plants and animals that have been buried beneath the surface of the earth and changed by heat and pressure.

Skills

  • Identify sources of stored energy, such as food, fuel, and batteries. (S)
  • Explain how machines and living things convert stored energy to motion and heat. (S)
  • Know how energy for your home is produced.
  • Differentiate between renewable and nonrenewable energy sources. (S)

Introducing the Lesson

Explain to your child that today she will explore ways that energy is generated and used for electricity. Ask your child what she knows about power plants.
Reading and Questions
Materials: Let's Explore Energy by Moving Beyond the Page
Read pages 9-12 in Let's Explore Energy and then answer these questions.
Questions
  1. Name three renewable resources that can be used to make electricity.
    Geothermal energy (steam from underground), solar power (radiant energy from the Sun), and hydroelectric power (from the force of rushing water).
  2. Name three nonrenewable resources that can be used to make electricity.
    Uranium, natural gas, and coal.
  3. What is a turbine? How does it work?
    It is a large object that looks like a wheel or fan. It has blades that spin from steam, water, or wind. Inside a generator the mechanical (kinetic) energy of the spinning turbines is converted into electricity.