Girl Scouts Experiment with Energy

BY AMANDA MOSES

Members of the Starrett City Girl Scouts (SCGS) are starting to “Get Moving” as they work on obtaining an energy badge. Last week, the scouts had a lesson in P.S. 346 on energy basics from their former troop leader, Richard Schwartz, who works as an electrical engineer for Tech Systems, Inc.

“Energy comes from different sources, it is not something that just appears,” said Schwartz, “If it exists, then it will continue to exist.” He explained that energy or matter cannot stop existing. It is merely altered, for example paper can be burned but that does not mean it disappears. Instead, the paper turns into ash.

There are several forms of energy: thermal, radiant (light), kinetic (motion), electrical, chemical, nuclear and gravitational. He then went on to tell students that energy can be either renewable (sources that can be replenished) or nonrenewable.

Schwartz created his very own solar panels, and explained that this form of renewable energy turns the sun’s rays into electricity. “Now we are going to try and make our own energy,” he announced while distributing a handful of oranges, nails and wire to students.

The scouts were amazed to learn that four oranges, using positively and negatively charged wires (the nail is a conduit) can create the energy equivalent to one AA battery cell.

The purpose of this experiment, he said, is to demonstrate how an electrical current can be generated using citrus fruits. According Schwartz, a battery simply stores chemical energy, similarly so, the acid in a fruit, when combined with a nail, can create energy.

Learning the energy basics is one of many projects/classes the scouts will be participating in to earn their energy badge. This month, the scouts hope to hold an overnight energy project, where they will try to use as little electricity as possible. For parents who want to participate in fun science and technology experiments with their children visit www.sciencekids.co.nz/experimentsl