It’s never too early to start our children’s solar energy education. I have taught kids of all ages from 4 to 17 and have found that regardless of their backgrounds, kids learn best when they are able to DO with their hands. Kids who DO, learn. Kids who watch, forget.
Solar Energy Education: Experiments By Age
Regardless of the age of your child, she will get the most from these experiments if she is able to set up and run as many of the parts as possible. This will no doubt result in frustrations for you, but try to resist the “for goodness’ sake, let ME do it” trap. There is no rush. It is vital that our children develop a solid understanding of the power of the sun and the many applications of Solar Energy.
The experiments are sorted by appropriate age groups. These activities require parental supervision.
experiment for ages 4+
Rainbow Pinwheel: This simple and fun project will reveal the nature of white light to your child and can be extended to investigate complementary colors. Have a look at the child science experiments: Rainbow Pinwheel and get cutting!
Melting Ice Cubes: The Ice Cubes solar energy kids experiment uses different colored backgrounds to affect the melting rates of ice cubes. This is a simple and entertaining way to introduce heat absorption to your child.
experiment for ages 8+
The Hot Bounce: Learn how temperature can affect the behavior of a high bounce ball in this very cheap and easy experiment!
White Light RBG: This easy to set up experiment allows your child to investigate some of the properties of visible light and the effect of mixing different color lights.
Water Purification: This setup will demonstrate that clean drinking water can be harvested from a relatively polluted source using evaporation through solar power. This is one of the easiest water science experiments to set up and is one of the most rewarding for young children.
Wood Art: Harness the power of the sun with a magnifying glass to create art in this fun solar energy education experiment. But make sure to have a bucket of water or a hose ready!
Water Pressure: Learn about how pressure relates to rate of water flow in this cheap and simple water pressure experiment. This also covers the basics of voltage in electric circuits!
experiment for ages 12+
The Speed Of Sound: This experiment tests the speed of sound in air using nothing other than two bits of wood and a mobile phone.
Nail Rusting: This nail rusting experiment is a great introduction to the concepts of corrosion, electron transfer and alloy properties.
Preferential Rusting: This experiment builds on the nail rusting experiment to show the ability of metals to protect one another through rusting at different rates. Have a look at this excellent preferential rusting experiment.
Solar Still: Build your own water purifier and extract liquid from plants with this simple solar energy experiment. This experiment also has good survival value, so get the kids digging!
Plant Response to Light: Discover how plants respond to light in this plant growth development experiment. Will the plant grow straight up, or will it bend to the light?
experiment for ages 15+
Graphing Heat Absorption: Find out how the color of the surface of an aluminium can affects its ability to heat up in this excellent energy project for science. This is suitable for either the classroom or the home.
Radiant Heat Loss: This radiant water heat loss experiment may give a surprising result. We all expect black surfaces to heat faster than light colored ones, but is the same true for heat loss?
Home Made Galvanic Cells: Learn more about the internal workings of batteries with these simple to set up home made Galvanic cells. Give your child’s Chemistry an understanding a solid boost!
Success in the sciences requires a solid base of mathematical skill. Our children benefit from strong basic maths skills and I will be providing the tools and techniques that will give your child the best chance of success in this very important subject.
For free tips, worksheets and more see the Math Help section of this site.
There are also lots of fun free math games to inspire your child, most of which only need pencil and paper! Add math practice to your child’s solar energy education today!