# 8 Fun Energy Activities for Elementary Students

Ever thought why the paper plane flies only a little distance when thrown with hands as compared to when elastics are used to propel its speed? It’s the elastic energy that boosts up the speed of our regular paper planes and provides them a burst of speed.

Similarly, students can find the applications of different types of energies in their daily lives with a little pinch of their creativity and a whole bag of imagination. Beginning from the potential and kinetic energies, and covering solar energy, chemical energy, elastic energy, heat energy, and various others, this post will cover some amazing classroom energy activities that will allow students to unleash their hidden scientists and discover the world of physics and mechanics.

## Energy activities for elementary school students

Physics games and activities are a great way to pique the kid’s curiosity about boring textbook concepts. These activities provide students with hands-on experience and greater clarity of the concepts and make their practical understanding lenient. Some amazing energy activities for elementary school students are-

### 1. Catapult using sticks

Catapult using sticks is an easy yet efficient classroom activity based on potential energy. This activity can be done in a classroom or even in an open space.

Material required:
Rubber bands, ice-cream sticks, bottle cap, glue, and a cotton ball

Instructions:

• Take 5 to 7 ice cream sticks and pile them up. Use a rubber band to secure the sticks from both ends.
• Take another ice cream stick and put it perpendicular to one side of the piled-up sticks. Repeat it on the other side. Tie both the sticks using a rubber band. Ensure the rubber band is tied up tightly and make an X in between.
• Now, secure one end of the perpendicular sticks using a rubber band.
• Using glue, paste the bottle cap on the open side of the sticks, that is the end that is not tied. Ensure the hollow of the bottle cap is facing upward.
• Now put a cotton ball in the bottle cap. Your catapult is ready to fire! Simply press the stick downward on which the bottle cap is secured and leave it once you have pushed it down enough. See how far the cotton ball goes.

#### Thoughts for the brain!!

Ask kids when the potential energy is converted into kinetic energy and how they can calculate the potential energy. Also, will it make any difference if the stick is pushed downward too much or too little?

### 2. Flying Airplanes using Elastics

Let’s bring a power of elastic energy to our regular paper planes. A simple activity that covers the concept of elastic energy in a fun manner. This activity can be best performed in an open space.

Material required:
Origami papers, waster cardboard, rubber band

Instructions:

• Using waste cardboard, make an airplane launcher or simply a ramp.
• Secure the sides of a ramp or the launcher with cardboard and fix a rubber band on the sides of the ramp. The rubber should be tight enough to produce a great amount of elastic energy.
• Now, make your regular origami plane and fix a hook at the nose of the plane.
• Let students use the hook and the rubber band to catapult the plane and fly it away as far as possible. The student whose plane will go the farthest will win.

#### Thoughts for the brain!!

Ask students if the tightness of the rubber band matters, or if the loosely held rubber band would have the same effect. Why or why not? Further, encourage students to compare how far the plane will go using only hands or the elastic band.

### 3. Roasting Marshmallows using Solar Ovens

An interesting activity to bring the power of solar energy straight to the classrooms. Students can make their solar oven in the classroom and go into the sunlight for the practical part.

Material required:
Pizza box, aluminum foil, duct tape, plastic wraps

Instructions:

• Take a pizza box and make a slightly wide border on the lid.
• Cut the border from three sides and leave the hinge end uncut. You will get the flap on the lid of the pizza box.
• Now cover the inside of the flap with aluminum foil. Also, cover the inside of the base of the pizza box with aluminum foil.
•  Secure the plastic wrap on the sides of the lid (border) using duct tape. By this stage, you will have three layers in your pizza box. First, the flap on the lid is covered by aluminum foil, second, the borders of the lids are secured by plastic wrap, and the third base of the pizza box is covered with aluminum foil.
• Now, again paste some black sheets above the foil on the base of the box.
• Use a wooden stick to open the flap at 90 degrees from the lid. Your solar oven is ready.
• Take a slice of cheese or a piece of marshmallow and a small sheet of foil. Put the food item on foil and keep it on the base of the box.
• Cover the lid. Keep the model outside in the sun. wait for some time to have your cheese melted or marshmallow roasted.

#### Thoughts for the brain!!

What is the purpose of the black sheet and the plastic wrap?

### 4. Playing guitar using rubber bands

A fun sound energy activity that can be performed in the classroom to teach kids the concept of vibrations and sound waves.

Material required:
Tissue box or any other box with an opening on one side, rubber bands of different lengths and thickness, pencil

Instructions:

• Take a tissue box and secure the rubber bands on it horizontally. Attach a cardboard pipe on the side of the tissue box to give it a guitar-like appearance.
• Attach pencils on both sides of the opening of the box, under the rubber bands.
• Pluck the rubber bands and enjoy your music.

#### Thought for the brain!!

Why use rubber bands of different lengths and thickness? Is it the sound that causes vibrations or do vibrations lead to the production of sound?

### 5. Playing basketball

A wonderful activity to educate kids on how potential energy converts into kinetic energy using a simple basketball.

Material required:

Instructions:

• Find a wall and mark the lines on it using a marker, starting from the floor and above as far as it goes.
• Divide the kids into groups of 5-6 students each.
• Let the student drop the ball from one marking and see will the ball bounce back to the same level or above it or below it.

#### Thought for the brain!!

What was the energy at the beginning when students were merely holding the ball? The initial energy changed to which energy? If a student again pushes the ball down, what energy is being utilized?

### 6. Flying a Vinegar Rocket

A thrilling activity to familiarize kids with chemical energy and mechanical energy. It can be done in an open field.

Material required:
Film canister, baking soda, water, vinegar

Instructions:

• Take a film canister and add some fins to it to give it a rocket-like appearance.
• Take ½ cup water and ½ cup vinegar and mix them in a measuring glass.
• Fill the liquid in the canister. Ensure one end is tightly shut and the other can be shut easily like a lid.
• Now add baking soda to the canister, drop the lid, and quickly move away from the canister.
• Students will have first-hand experience on how chemical energy is converted into mechanical energy.

#### Thoughts for the brain!!

What happens when vinegar and baking soda combine? Which energy was released during their combination?

### 7. Which spoon heats up first?

A great activity to acquaint kids with the crux of heat energy and teach them how different metals react in the presence of heat.

Material required:
Aluminum foil, paper, lit candle

Instructions:

• Take aluminum foil and make a strip of it. Similarly, take paper and make a strip out of it.
• Now take another paper strip and paste an aluminum strip on one side of it.
• One by one bring the strips near the heat and observe how different metals react in the presence of heat.

#### Thoughts for the brain:

What causes paper to fold inwards whereas foil outwards? List some other metals and how they will react to the heat.

### 8. How far do your marbles travel?

Another fun and engaging activity to teach kids kinetic and potential energy and how it is used in different areas. It can be done in both the classroom and an open area.

Material required:
Cardboard ramp, milk carton, marbles of different sizes, meter scale

Instructions:

• Place the ramp on the ground with a milk carton at the bottom of the ramp. Ensure the opening of the carton is towards the top of the ramp.
• Place a meter scale beside the milk carton.
• Let kids drop the marble of the smallest size down the ramp and identify how far it pushed the milk carton using a meter scale.
• Repeat the process with marbles of different sizes.

#### Thoughts for the brain!!

Ask kids to identify which energies were in play during the whole process. What difference does the marble with more weight make in the generation of the kinetic energy?

## Bottom line

Just like work, power, and energy activities, energy activities are full of learning and practical knowledge. Educators can easily implement these activities in their classrooms and can help students understand the core of the energy concept. Since learning physics being a dyscalculic is tough, these energy activities are also a great help for them as they are thoughtfully designed for the understanding of all. So, educators, what are you waiting for? Pick your favorite activity and let your students witness the fun side of physics and its concepts.