Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Electricity 1.30.12

Today we learned about Benjamin Franklin and Electricity!!
BJ is really taking off with this format I use now. Wish I would have thought of it sooner.

When I prepare the lessons I read all the material. Pick out what I feel is important, put that information into questions and define words, look up the internet links for the books, choose the ones I think fit into our lesson the best.

Then it is all in his lesson plan on a flash drive. He plugs it in and knows exactly what to read, has his questions to answer, words to define and sites to see. The state gets what they want and then we go to the fun stuff.

I have all the material needed for the experiments ready and when he is done we jump into that.

What is great is he is occupied reading, and filling in the information which frees me to read to O his lessons for the day. When he is done he goes to his brother and they visit the web sites together. I love listening to Bj explain to Owen what they are seeing. I am there to supervise and interject when necessary.

I added a little something extra this week. I felt we should become more familiar with the scientists we are reading about. We learn who they are, how they lived and died, what they discovered but we see their pictures once and then go on to the next one. The pictures were fading in my head so I made a printed sheet up and taped it to the wall. BJ knew them all O knew two of the four.


Sir Isaac Newton

Ben Franklin

Albert Einstein

 Soon we will have several more to add. How exciting!!

Our experiments today were courtesy of an Enviro Battery kit I picked up at Michaels.

There were 5 experiments dealing with electricity.
The kit comes with almost everything needed, most of which can be reused.
copper and zinc plates, connecting wires, cups, screw caps for water bottles, a light tower, sound chip, LCD watch, tape

At the beginning we learned that the universal colour wire for the positive charge was red and the negative charge was black.

We also learned that for these experiments the copper plate would be the carrier for the positive charges and the zinc plate would be the carrier for the negative charges.

Since we just learned about Benjamin Franklin and we would be using aqueous mediums to conduct the electrical charges for all our experiments it offered a fine hands on opportunity to teach about things that conduct electricity and where we might want to me in a thunderstorm or what to avoid if live wires were down.

Experiment #1 - Make a potato powered clock. The boys got excited to see it work!
Everything we need

Attaching the wires

Inserting the plates

It runs!

Experiment #2 - Musical Mud

This one did not quite do what we had hoped. Maybe it was the wrong kind of mud, or it was not wet enough As suggested we tried fruit. The orange worked much better.
We used a paper cup to amplify the sound and with it we could pick up a faint something.

Experiment #3 - Water Wonder

The LED light they give is quite faint but we did get it to light up. What was fun was adding vinegar to the water as suggested and watching the light burn brighter.

Experiment #4 - Paper clip party
The paper clips were used as a substitute for the zinc plates. I believe it is to help show the child that other items conduct electricity as well.
This one was a dude. Possibly my paper clips were not coated in zinc. I will fish around for some to see if I can get any to work.
Experiment #5 - Crazy Coin
This one employed the use of pennies to take the place of the copper plates.
Alternating aluminum, vinegar dampened cotton, and a penny two times we created a six layer sandwich held together with a clothespin.
It was a little tricky inserting the wires and not losing the sandwich. I found that by resting one part of the clothespin on the counter I could lever the clothespin open and not had it all fall apart.
It worked but I believe we would have had a better reaction with older pennies.

Experiment # 6 - Freaky Fork
This was interesting. We used 2 forks as substitutes for the copper plates, connected to the connecting wires and the battery. After inserting them into the lemon the watch ran just fine.

These experiments were fun and well worth the time.
You would not have to buy the kits if you had coated wire available, a sound chip and a small LCD watch. The other items could be obtained around the house.

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