Today we did a simple project to study potential and kinetic energy. I never liked science class at school. I found it dry and I never liked all the math involved. But this project was fun! All you need is a car built from Legos and a balloon.
First, we watched this video on YouTube, a cute cartoon that explains the difference between potential and kinetic energy. It goes into the equations but we didn’t watch that part. We used it as an introduction.
Elle built a Lego car to use for the project. You have to leave a hole in the back of the car to insert the end of the balloon. The balloon blown up with air in it is an example of potential energy. Don’t tie off the balloon. Just hold it shut with your fingers. When you let the balloon go, the air rushes out and powers the car. This is kinetic energy.
This project also serves as an illustration of the First Law of Energy (energy can never be created or destroyed, only converted). You use energy (your body and breath) to blow up the balloon and then it gets converted into a power source for the car.
Kids can have races or they can see whose car travels the longest distance. You can incorporate math by measuring distance with younger kids or having older children calculate the speed of the car (distance divided by time). That’s what’s great about homeschool. You can take one fairly simple project and incorporate several subjects. I had Elle do a worksheet I typed up to get in some writing.
Your kids will want to play balloon volleyball after the project is done. So there’s your PE for the day. 🙂
Happy homeschooling to you and your family!