Today we started and ended class by observing an instructor burn flash paper (a special kind of paper – don’t try this at home!). But between the first time and the last time, we learned a lot about energy!

Students had the opportunity to experience several different experiments, each involving different types of energy. At one station, students combined vinegar and baking soda (they can try this one at home!) and observed the fizzing, bubbling, and sharp temperature drop! They then determined which types of energy were involved in this reaction – chemical energy, kinetic energy, sound energy, and thermal energy! At another station, students observed the bounce height of two seemingly identical rubber balls… but they were different in an important way. Ask your student how!

At the end of class, we realized that we usually started observing one kind of energy and then observed other forms of energy at the end of the experiment. We concluded that energy changes form. In fact, this is the one of the most key scientific ideas: energy cannot be created nor destroyed, but can be converted from one form to another.

Ask your young physicist about their favorite experiment from today – you might be able to recreate it easily at home!


Hoy comenzamos y terminamos la clase observando al instructor quemando “papel de flash” (un tipo de papel especial, ¡no intentes esto en casa!). ¡Pero entre la primera y la segunda vez, aprendimos mucho sobre la energía!

Los estudiantes tuvieron la oportunidad de realizar varios experimentos diferentes, cada uno involucrando diferentes tipos de energía. En una de las estaciones, en la oscuridad, los estudiantes rompieron una pastilla de menta (Wint-o-green mint) y vieron un destello azul (¡esto sí que lo puedes probar en casa!). Luego determinaron qué tipos de energía estaban involucrados en esta reacción: energía elástica, energía de la luz y energía del sonido. En las estaciones de química, los estudiantes realizaron dos reacciones químicas, pero ambas reacciones produjeron burbujas y cambios de temperatura. Pregúntele a su estudiante cual es la diferencia entre las dos reacciones.

Al final de la clase, los grupos presentaron sus observaciones (¿qué pasó?) y las formas de energía involucradas en cada estación. Nos dimos cuenta de que usualmente comenzábamos a observar un tipo de energía y luego observamos otras formas de energía al final del experimento. Concluimos que la energía cambia de forma. De hecho, esta es una de las ideas científicas más importantes: la energía no puede ser creada ni destruida, sino que puede convertirse de una forma a otra.

Pregúntale a tu joven físico sobre su experimento favorito de hoy; ¡podrás recrearlo fácilmente en casa!

Does your child enjoy our visits? Please consider supporting our program so we can reach more students!


Lauren Koppel

Lauren earned a Bachelor’s degree with a double major of Biology and Psychology from Clark University, and a Master of Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. During her undergraduate years, she worked in a evolutionary neurobiology lab that studied the neural development of annelids (marine worms), with a focus on the sox family of genes. Lauren loves learning about how the world works (including everything from biology to chemistry to engineering), and is passionate about sharing that knowledge and enthusiasm with others. In the past, she has interned at the Museum of Science, where she educated learners of all ages through hands-on activities, games, and experiments. Other science education organizations with which Lauren has worked include The People’s Science, EurekaFest, and Eureka! of Girls Inc. of Worcester. Currently she lives in Boston, where devotes her free time to playing Quidditch, reading sci-fi novels, playing her ukulele, and enjoying all the culinary delights the city has to offer.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.