Energy Project for Children

The definition of energy is the capacity of a system to do work. We all have it to a greater or lesser degree. The sun, however, seems to have a whole lot of it, doesn't it? After all, it can light up our entire solar system forever, without burning anything. It is true that only about half a billionth of the sun's radiated energy reaches our planet. Yet, even those few "crumbs" from the “solar table" are enough to nourish and sustain all life, plant and animal, on earth. Not only that, but if this tiny trickle that arrives could be harnessed efficiently, it could easily meet the energy needs of our modern society with p energy to spare. For example, there was a house built on the TV show Extreme Makeovers for a family recently because he had harnessed the power of the sun to heat his family's home from found objects in a garbage dump, and the sun.

Borrow an adult and a magnifying glass and take them outside on a sunny day.

Gather some dry leaves and very small sticks. Place them over a crumpled piece of paper. Make sure you have a grown-up with you so that you don't burn anything down! Now, capture the rays of the sun with the magnifying glass and focus the beam onto the paper. Hold it there for a minute or two. Soon, you will see something happening. What is it?

Why don't you and I just use a little bit of this same energy to cook a hot dog?

We'll need the following equipment:

  1. Two empty boxes from the local grocery store

  2. Aluminum foil.

  3. A 11 x 14-inch piece of poster board

  4. One unpainted wire coat hanger

  5. Masking tape

  6. Two nuts

  7. Two bolts

Set up your equipment this way:

  1. Make a trough that is shaped like half a cylinder with the poster board.

  2. Make half circles that will be the end covers for this trough out of the sides of the cardboard box.

  3. Cover the trough with the aluminum foil.

  4. Tape the trough to the end pieces.

  5. Attach the trough to the 2nd box. Frame it using the nuts and bolts. Be sure the trough can move up and down in one place.

  6. Put holes trough the focal point of the trough at either end.

  7. Straighten the wire coat hanger and bend one end to make a handle.

  8. Push the coat hanger through the hole on one side. Put the hot dog on the coat hanger, and push the coat hanger through the hole on the other side.

  9. Set in the sun, and let the reflected rays cook that dog.

  10. Eat slowly and enjoy.

Now that you see how the sun can cook a hot dog in a rather short time, think now of what effect the sun can have on your own unprotected skin. Be careful when playing outdoors, especially on sunny days unless you, too, meet with the same outcome as our poor, unfortunate wiener? If that were to happen, your name would have to be changed to ‘Frank’!