Elementary

Computer Science (X) - Elementary (X) - Energy (X)

Lifting with Levers

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In this video segment from Cyberchase, Jackie, Matt, and Inez try to move a stack of slabs blocking a doorway. They decide to use a long board as a lever, but they soon realize they need a longer board in order to move the heavy slabs. The problem is that they are not sure exactly how long the lever should be. Since they do not have the time to try out levers of varying lengths, Inez decides to construct a scale model. While testing their model levers, they learn about the relationship between the length of a lever and its lifting capability.

Horsepower

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In this video, a young man talks about buying a new car and tries to understand what horsepower really means. With some help from a young woman who explains where the term comes from, he sets out to look for more information to find his perfect car. In the accompanying classroom activity, students conduct an experiment to calculate how much horsepower they can produce. This resource is part of the Math at the Core: Middle School Collection.

MN Original | Assemblage Artist Jan Elftmann

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Learn how Jan Elftmann’s penchant for collecting objects shines through in all of her work. She makes art approachable for the every day person in her playful assemblage work and eye-catching art cars.

Elftmann helped found the Minnesota ArtCar Parade after she completed her first art car–a pick up truck covered with 10,000 wine bottle corks. She’s currently working on her third art car.

For more MN Original resources, click here.

Cooking Cookies with Solar Power

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The ZOOM cast tests two homemade solar cookers to determine which one can cook a "s'more" faster. Both designs exploit the fact that heat flows in three ways: by conduction, convection, and radiation. Though one cooker performs better than the other, they both outperform the experiment's control setup.

Curious George: Ramp-n-Roll

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George must figure out how to build a ramp so that Hundley, a little dachshund, can get out of a basement window in this video excerpt from Curious George: Hundley’s Great Escape. In the accompanying lesson plan, children play with ramps and objects that roll in order to understand simple machines.

This resource is part of the Curious George STEM Collection.

Kid Inventor: Newspaper Crank

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In this video segment from ZOOM, a young inventor named Andrew demonstrates the machine he engineered to fold newspapers for his paper route. Turning a crank handle puts the first fold in a paper, and sliding a wooden shelf makes the second fold. Once the paper is folded this way, Andrew can easily slip a rubber band over it and go about his deliveries quickly and efficiently.

Electricity | Science Trek

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In this video segment from IdahoPTV's Science Trek you follow electricity from its generation at a hydroelectric plant to your home, while learning some of the vocabulary about electricity. Discover some other sources of electricity, and why it is so dangerous.

Discussion of Electric Circuits

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In this video from Teaching Elementary Physical Science, teacher Linda Block and her fourth-grade students compare different configurations of light bulbs, wires, and batteries. The students draw diagrams to compare the circuits that successfully light the bulb with those that do not. The class then discusses observations about several circuits in order to reinforce their understanding.

A Sick Planet (Episode 1)

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This Utah Education Network segment demonstrates the global warming effects of rapid climate change, the role of human activity in these changes, and what humans can do to keep it from getting worse.

Air Power: Making a Hovercraft

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The hovercraft was originally developed to more efficiently transport passengers and freight over water and land. In this video segment adapted from ZOOM, cast members build a simple hovercraft. A balloon filled with air provides the airflow that lifts a plastic plate off the table, while cast members supply the push that propels the craft forward.

A Thing or 2 about Simple Machines (Part 2!) | The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That!

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What can you do with simple machines? In this short video from The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That!, the Cat takes us on a tour of Machine-a-ma-zoo, and demonstrates simple machines, with some help from Thing 1 and Thing 2. They take a look at a wheel and axle, and a wedge.

Solar House

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In this What's Up in the Environment? video segment, an electrical engineer in Virginia and his 13-year-old son explain how they produce electricity in their home. 

Virtual Field Trip Video: Powering the Planet | Nature Works Everywhere

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We use energy to power our lives every day—to boot up our computers, fuel our cars, charge our cell phones, flick on a light switch, and in a myriad of other ways. Join scientist Alex Wegmann as we embark on a Virtual Field Trip to explore a compelling question: How can we get the energy we need without harming nature? By harnessing renewable sources of energy, such as sunlight and wind, scientists are finding ways to do just that. 

Find a teacher's guide here to accompany this field trip.

Building Simple Machines: Plant Quencher

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How difficult can it be to water a plant? Pretty difficult when your objective is to build the most complicated machine possible to complete this simple task. In this video segment from ZOOM, Jillian demonstrates the use of ramps, wheels, pulleys, and other simple machines to construct her "plant quencher."

Kid Inventor: The Couch Protector

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Electricity has been a powerful force in the hands and minds of inventors. Tired of constantly chasing his dogs off of the couch, Jason put electricity to one of its latest uses, in a "couch protector." In this video segment from ZOOM, Jason describes the conception and design of his imaginative device.

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