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December 01, 2013


We have been doing a project on Energy at Isai Ambalam. As with anything worthwhile it has been something we have been slowly working on, with discussions, experimentation, calculations and more recently a visit to Sunlit futures (a solar energy based company).

The most interesting discussion we had was regarding the law of conservation of energy. In 5th and 6th grade the children learnt that energy is the ability to do work. Work was implicitly understood through everyday activity and the idea that energy is used up in doing work. In 7th grade, however, the law of conservation of energy is introduced. 'Energy is neither created, not destroyed. It only converts from one form to the other (I added under normal conditions, without adding in E=mc^2).' The children seemed happy to have one more piece of info to rattle out, at which point I posed the following question.

Since energy is neither created nor destroyed how does any work, that apparently uses energy, get done? If they were getting out of confusion I gave sufficient examples of areas they thought energy is used up. Hmm...small pleasures of being a science teacher, let children mull over a gotcha and get them to a point they really want to know something :).

When energy is converted from one form to another, we call it work. Clear? Great when you clap kinetic energy gets converted to heat and sound energy. What happens to the sound energy that does not reach the ears of people when you clap...

We also did a bunch of Arvind Gupta's experiments that were quite informative and fun!

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