Children can learn about gravity, light waves and electricity by conducting simple, yet interesting, science projects. The projects do not involve complicated math equations or expensive materials and are enjoyable for children and adults. You can find most items for these experiments in the cupboard, on your vanity or in the toy box.
Bounce Up Clown
Children can learn about gravity by constructing a bounce up clown. Construct the clown by cutting a ping pong ball in half. Fill half of the ping pong ball with modeling clay and press it down. Cut a piece of construction paper about 6 inches long and roll it into a tube to fit over the half of the ping pong ball with the clay inside. Tape the paper to hold it in the form of a cylinder; a small toilet paper roll will also work. Decorate the paper cylinder by drawing colorful clown clothes and a face. Cut out paper arms and funny feet and glue them to the cylinder. Place the decorated cylinder on top of the clay filled half of the ping pong ball and tape it in place. Now place the clown on a level floor or table and tip him over. The clown will bounce right back up. The reason this happens is because the Earth's gravity pulls on the base of the clown to make him stand up. When the base is pulled down, the top of the clown flip upward.
Most children are familiar with static electricity. Static electricity is the energy that makes their hair stick up when they comb it, and causes a spark when they touch a door knob after walking across a carpet. Try a simple experiment that uses static electricity to make a light bulb light up. Take a light bulb, a comb and a wool scarf into a room with no windows or a room that can be made dark. Turn off the lights and rub the comb with the wool scarf about 20 or 30 times. Touch the comb to the metal end of the light bulb. The filament in the light bulb will start to glow. This happens because electrons moved from the scarf to the comb causing it to become negatively charged. The electrons then travel from the comb through the light bulb and make the filament glow.
Visible light is made of all the colors of the rainbow. You can use a prism to separate visible light into the different colors, but did you know you can combine the colors back together? Cut out a circle from a piece of white card. Divide the paper circle into three sections. Color one section blue, the second one red and the third section green. Make a small hole in the center of the colored circle. Insert the end of a pencil in the hole and spin the card on the end of the pencil. When the spinner moves very fast, the light is reflected from all the colors so fast that the brain perceives a mixture of all the colors and the eye sees only a white card. Try the experiment with different colors, like orange, purple and yellow to see if you get the same results.
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