Try this electricity for kids project for some homeschool science fun.
We are normally inspired by books, but this homeschool science project was inspired by a power cut!! The children were so exited when our electricity failed one evening, that I planned a 'day in the dark' for them to explore the ideas further - and have some science fun!
My idea behind this home school unit study, was to pretend we had no electricity for the day. (If you have a freezer full of food don't turn it off at the fusebox - ask me how I know!!)
Before you start - it is fun to put together a electricity for kids cartoon book on the areas you decide to cover. The Rudiments of Wisdom site is very useful for this.
There are lots of areas you can cover when investigating electricity. The first thing we did was to print off a page of 'electricity danger' signs and put them on everything in the house we could find that use electricty.
Electricity generation and alternatives
We began by discussing how electricity is generated, and what alternatives we have. We did lots of hands-on projects because that is how my children like to learn. My ideas are ;
Wind Power - Again, a child's pinwheel would come in handy! If you live near a working turbine or windmill, then this would be a great field trip.
Solar Power - If you have chosen a reasonably sunny day you could try making a solar oven. For younger children it would be fun to cook a potato for lunch. For older children, you could also try making a solar thermal panel.
Make a Battery. You could make a battery from coins or from fruit. This would also be a great place to do lots of battery type experiments (electromagnetism, battery driven motors etc.). We also had some fun with this battery experiment.
Make a Candle - useful for the dark :) There is a nice easy tutorial here.
Before electricity then of course, our cooking and heating was done by fire. If possible, why not build a fire to cook lunch or have a BBQ!) If you are organised, you could have prepared some Colored Flame Acorns (but do not use while cooking your food).
We also looked at how we could get light if we had no electricity. You could make your own candles, or build a simple oil lamp. We found these useful as it began to get dark!
Further Discussion of Electricity for Kids
Electicity Experiments - how to see electricity
I didn't find any great home school science experiments here, except to show static electricty with a balloon. If you do this in the dark, you can 'see' the little flashes of light. The children enjoyed that, of course!
Nature and Electricity
Nature has it's own ways of producing electricity. Not just lightening - some animals also generate it. There are some examples here. We made a collage of all these, and some pictures of lightening.
History of Electricity
Why not look at inventions for using and generating energy? You could cover
Steam Engines James Watt (UK) 1763. It was his steam engine that paved the way for the Industrial Revolution.
Batteries The first to succeed in producing energy this way was Alessandro Volta in 1799.
The Lightbulb Joseph Swann (UK) and Thomas Edison both produced a glowing lightbulb within months of each other. In 1883 they went into partnership to manufacture their invention.
Further Ideas Why not add other electricity using inventions (such as TV, refrigerators, vacuum cleaners etc)to your timeline or Book of Centuries.
One of the advantages we have in homeschooling is that we can teach our children practical skills. Why not show the children how to ;
There is also an opportunity in this unit study to talk about the dangers of electricity for kids- and safety advice.
And finally, we talked about the environmental impact of electricty. Of countries that didn't have it. Of how light pollution is affecting the bird population. And what measures we can take to minimise the impact on the earth.
A great way to end your Home School Science Day!