Light, heat, and sound are all important sources of energy that students need to learn about in order to understand the world around them. While these concepts may seem complex for students as young as kindergarten to understand, doing scientific activities and experiments about sources of energy will help students begin forming an understanding at their level. There are plenty of fun and educational ways to learn about energy that help young learners make sense of light, heat, and sound.
Learning About Light
When learning about light, it is important to begin by talking with students about the different sources of light, like the sun or light bulbs. Then, students can begin experimenting with how light has an effect on the world around us. For example, sources of light can be blocked by objects, which causes a shadow. Because the color of any object depends on the type of light sent to our eyes by that object, there are also many fun color activities that students can do when learning about light. Using tools like color paddles or even just observing the colors we see around us can help students form a better understanding of light.
Learning About Heat
Like with light, colors can be used as a fun way to learn about heat. Students may not realize it, but they have probably already observed that when they wear black clothing in the sun, they will get hotter than when they wear lighter-colored clothing in the sun. This is because different colors absorb more heat than others. Why not turn this into a fun science experiment so that students can make the connection? With simple supplies like a thermometer and construction paper, students can observe how the sun heats up some colors more than others. In my Exploring Force, Motion, and Energy science unit, you can find even more fun ways to learn about heat as a form of energy.
Learning About Sound
There are also many fun and simple ways for young students to learn about sound. In my science unit, I include ideas like making a rubber band and tissue box guitar so that students can see the vibration. However, there are several other ways students can observe the vibration that leads to sound.
One experiment that demonstrates this only requires a rubber band, bowl, salt, a small speaker, and some plastic wrap. If your speaker is small enough, you will begin by putting it in the bowl. If not, you can just have your speaker nearby. Then, you will stretch the plastic over the bowl, and use the rubber band to secure it in place. Pour a small amount of salt onto the plastic wrap. When you play music through the speakers, the salt will begin to “dance” and bounce due to the sound vibrations. You can read more about the experiment here.
Through exploration and science experiments, young learners can begin forming an understanding of energy. They can observe light, sound, and heat, and the effects that they have. These fun ways to learn about energy not only engage students because they are exciting, but they also help students gain a better understanding of the world around them.