Monday, January 26, 2015

Human Conductor Of Electricity

My boys are in love with the Energy Stick from Steve Spangler Science!

It's a plastic tube about 7 inch long, and it has colored LED lights inside the tube. It also has two electrodes on either side of the tube. 
When these two electrodes are touched at the same time and the circuit is complete, the tube buzzes and lights up.

I love the fact that it requires no setup, it's a great visual  (and noisy - it's a bit surprising in its buzzing loudness and flashing lights!) aid, and very hands-on.
Energy Stick in the dark
It's a great simple tool to teach the kids the basics of electricity. like open and closed circuit, difference between conductors and insulators.

My 5 year old loves it - he understands that if mom, him, and his brother are all holding hands and holding the electrodes of the tube, the circuit or path is complete. He understands that instead of touching his brother's hand, if he touches his shirt, the tube will not light up because the shirt did not let the electrons pass through :)

 So water conducts electricity. Hmm, so is it a good idea to touch electric sockets with wet hands?

Metals like steel also conducts electricity, or, they are conductors.

But legos (with which we cannot part even for a few minutes) are plastic, and they are insulators.

What else could you test? 

The first graders in Batman's class loved it, they got a real  "charge" out of it. Try it with 24 kids and see the hilarious results when they find out that they are all "electric"!