Dorian Kids Club: Power Experiment

Solar Power  |  Geothermal Power  |  Air Power  |  Hydro Power  |  Lemon Power  |  Magnetic Power
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Solar Power

Do You Want to Build a Solar Oven:
The  sun is hot enough to bake food. Here's how to make a simple solar oven  that gets hot enough to warm up cookies and other treats, like s'mores.  It won't get really hot, though, so you cannot bake things in it, and you won't burn yourself when playing with it. 

Be sure to have an adult help you with this!

What you Need:
- 1 Pizza Box
- Newspapers
- Tape
- Scissors
- Black Construction Paper
- Clear Plastic Wrap
- Aluminum Foil
- 1 Piece of Notebook Paper
- 1 Pencil/Pen
- 1 Ruler/Wooden Dowel/Stick

Ready to Build a Solar Oven:
1. Make sure the cardboard is folded into  its box shape and closed.

2. Place the piece of notebook paper in the center of the lid of the box, trace its outline on the lid, and then put the piece of paper aside.

3. Carefully cut the two long edges and one of the short edges of the  rectangle that you just traced on the lid of the box, forming a flap of  cardboard.

4. Gently fold the flap back along the uncut edge to form a crease.

5. Wrap the underside (inside) face of this flap with aluminum foil.  Tape it on the other side so that the foil is held firmly. Try to keep  the tape from showing on the foil side of the flap. The foil will help  to reflect the sunlight into the box.

6. Open the box and place a piece of black construction paper in so it  fits the bottom of the box. This will help to absorb the sun's heat.

7. Close the box, roll up some newspaper, and fit it around the inside  edges of the box. This is the insulation that helps hold in the sun's  heat. It should be about 1 to 1 1/2 inches thick. Use tape to hold the  newspaper in place, but only tape it to the bottom of the box, not the  lid.

8. Cut two pieces of plastic wrap an inch larger than the flap opening  on the box top. Open the box again and tape one piece of plastic wrap to  the underside of the flap opening. After taping one side, BE SURE TO  PULL THE PLASTIC WRAP TIGHT, and tape down all four sides so the plastic  is sealed against the cardboard. Then close the box and tape the other  piece of plastic wrap to the top of the flap opening. Again, be sure the  plastic wrap is tight and tape down all four edges to form a seal. This  creates a layer of air as insulation that helps keep the sun's heat in  the box.

Finished Building? Try it out:
On a sunny day, pick a treat to warm up and carry it and  the box outside to a sunny spot. If it's cold outside, put a towel or  blanket under the box so the bottom doesn't get cold. Open the box, put  the treat in the center, and close the box. Now open the flap and turn  the box so the foil is facing the sun. The shadow of the flap should go  straight back from the back of the box. Move the flap up and down and  note how it reflects the sunlight. Use a dowel, ruler, or stick to prop  up the flap so that it bounces the sunlight into the box. Wait about a  half hour for the box to warm up in the sun. Then enjoy your warmed-up  treat!

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Geothermal Power

Do You Want to Make a Power Plant:
In a geothermal power plant, steam is used to turn a  turbine. The  turbine is attached to a generator to make electricity.  There are two  places in the world where natural steam is found under  ground and is  used to make electricity. One is in Italy. The other is  north of San  Francisco in an area called The Geysers. The Geysers  produces enough  energy to power a city of about one million people. But  in recent  years, the amount of steam produced by the area has decreased.  Some  people think that it's because there are too many holes in the  ground  like the pot cover with 20 holes. It's like having a soda with 20   straws in it and all of your friends and you sipping at the same time.   The soda glass will be drained VERY fast. That's what some people think   is happening to the Geysers, that it's running out of steam.

What you Need:
- Children's pinwheel
- Aluminum foil
- Empty soup can or similar sized tin can with one end cut off
- A wooden ruler- Small cooking pot
- Hot plate
- Hammer
- 10p nail
- Tape or rubber bands
- Mitten type of pot holder

Ready to Make the Power Plant:
1.  Take hammer and nail and carefully punch a hole in  the end of the  tin can near the edge. Punch another whole directly  across the top from  it. The two holes should not be bigger than 1/8 inch  across. Tape or  attach the ruler to can with rubber bands.

2.  Put water into the pot and cover the top of the pot with two layers   of tin foil. Tightly crimp the tin foil around the edges so it seals  the  top tightly.  Using the nail, punch a hole in the top of the tin  foil  cover in the very center about 1/16 inch across. Put covered pot  to  side.

3.  Put the pot onto the hot plate and bring to a boil.

4.  Put on the mitten pot holder, and when steam starts coming out of   the top, carefully hold the pinwheel over the one hole. Notice how fast   the wheel spins.

5.  Take the can on the ruler and place it on the top of the pot so  that  the hole is in the center of the open end of the can. Steam should  now  be coming out of the top of the can through the two holes.

6.  Carefully hold the pinwheel. Turn the pinwheel so that the holes  are  on opposite sides of the pinwheel. Notice how fast the pinwheel  turns.  

7.  Take pot off the hot plate and let cool. Carefully take off the tin   foil, add more water to the pot and put tin foil top back on. Take the   nail and poke lots of holes all over the tin foil. Punch 5 holes close   to the edge away from the center hole, repeat the experiment with ten   holes around the edge, 20 holes around the edge.

8.  Bring the pot back up to boiling. Hold the pinwheel over only the   one center hole. How much steam do you see? How fast is the pinwheel   turning?

What Will You Discover?
With one hole the pinwheel, how fast did the pinwheel  turn?
With the can making the steam hit the wheel equally on either side,  what  happened?
When you punched more holes in the tin foil what happened?

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Air Power

Do You Want to Experiment with Air Power Transportation?

What you Need:
- Balloons of different sizes
- Masking tape
- 25 feet of thin fishing line (mono-filament line)
- Plastic drinking straws (one for each balloon)
- Some heavy books
- 25 foot tape measure
- A pad of paper and pencil for writing measurements 

Ready to Make the Air Power Transportation:
1. Blow up each balloon, holding the end closed with your  fingers so it stays full, and have someone else tape a straw to the  middle of the balloons. Let the air back out of the balloons.

2. Take the piece of fishing line and stretch it tight between the back  of two chairs spaced about 20 feet apart. Leave one end with a bow knot  so that you can untie it easily.

3. Put some heavy books on the seats of the chairs to keep them from  tipping over.

4. Untie the fishing line and push the line through one of the straws  with the front of the balloon facing and bring the balloon and straw  back to the other end (the starting line). Retie the string to the chair  so the fishing line is tight.

5. Blow up the balloon as much as you can. Pinch off the end. Then let  go of the balloon. Measure how far it went along the fishing line.  Try  another balloon of different sizes, or try the same balloon blowing it  1/2 way full or 1/4 of the way full. Measure how far the balloon  travels.

6. Write down each of the balloons type (round, long, small, large) and  how much you blew it up (full, 1/2 way, 1/4 full, just a little) and how  far each of the balloons traveled.

What Will You Discover?
A law of physics says for every action, there is an equal  and opposite reaction. The force of the air escaping from the balloon  and pushing out the end forced the balloon to travel forward. This is  the same principle used in rockets. Yet, instead of air...the rockets  use rocket fuel. The air you blew into the balloon became stored energy.  When you released the balloon's end, the stored energy became mechanical  energy moving the balloon. Rather than flying all around the room, the  straw and the fishing line kept the balloon traveling in a straight  line.

What balloons worked best: the long skinny ones or the round ones? 

What happened when you blew up the balloon only half way or 1/4 of the  way?

Do you think air can be used for moving a car? What about moving an  astronaut in space? Can you think of other things that compressed air  can do?

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Hydro Power

Do You Want to Experiment with Water to Produce Energy?
Water is a renewable resource that is an important source  of electricity in California and the Northwest. The potential energy of  water is harnessed to produce mechanical energy which can be used  directly, or used to generate electricity.

Moving Water, Moving Blades...
You can make a small water turbine model by taping  cardboard strips on a cork. Put pins in the ends for axles and make a  U-shaped holder for it. You can also slip metal or plastic fins into the  slits made in the cork. This will turn as fast as the water stream is  moving, so generally turbines have high speed jets directed toward them.

An Overshot Water Wheel:
This model is like the old waterwheels used for grinding grain or  running machines. Great power and slow speed were needed to turn the  heavy grinding stones at an even speed. This device could use a  relatively small stream. It is the weight of the water in the buckets  that causes the wheel to overbalance and turn. You can equip your wheel  with a string and bucket and find out how much weight the mechanism can  lift.

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Lemon Power

Do You Want to Make a Battery From a Lemon

What you Need:
- 18-gauge copper wire (smaller gauge will work too, but 18-gauge is stiffer)
- Wire clippers
- Steel Paper Clip (Some people find that a 2-inch strip of Zinc woks better)
- Sheet of Coarse Sandpaper
- Lemon
- Help from an Older Friend or Adult

Ready to Make the Air Power Transportation:
1. Have your older friend or an adult strip 2 inches of insulation off  the copper wire. Clip the2 inches of bare wire with the clippers.

2. Straighten out the paper clip and cut about 2 inches of the  straightened steel wire, or use a 2-inch piece or strip of zinc.

3. Use sandpaper to smooth any rough spots on the ends of the wire and  paper clip or piece of zinc.

4. Squeeze the lemon gently with your hands. But don't rupture the  lemon's skin. Rolling it on a table with a little pressure works great.

5. Push the pieces of the paper clip and the wire into the lemon so they  are as close together as you can get them without touching.

6. Moisten your tongue with saliva. Touch the tip of your wet tongue to  the free ends of the two wires.

7 You should be able to feel a slight tingle on the tip of your tongue  and taste something metallic.

What Will You Discover?
The lemon battery is called a voltaic battery, which changes chemical  energy into electrical energy. The battery is made up of two different  metals (the steel paper clip and the copper wire). These are called  electrodes, which are the parts of a battery where electric current  enters or leaves the battery. The electrodes are placed in a liquid  containing an electrolyte, which is a solution that can conduct  electricity.  In a solution of water and an electrolyte, like the acid  in the lemon, an excess of electrons collects on one end of the  electrodes. At the same time, electrons are lost from the other  electrode. Touching the electrodes to your tongue closes the circuit and  allows an small electric current to flow. A single lemon produces about  7/10 of a volt of electricity. If you connected two lemons together, you  can power an inexpensive digital watch (uses about 1.5 volts). (Use a  length of thin, flexible wire to connect the silver wire of one lemon to  the copper wire of the other lemon. Then attach thin wires from the  other two wires in the lemons to where a battery's positive and negative  poles connect to power the watch.)  The tingle felt in your tongue and  the metallic taste is due to the movement of electrons through the  saliva on your tongue.

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Magnetic Power

Do You Want to Make a Battery From a Lemon
Magnets are fascinating. How many magnets would you find in a car or truck? See Figure 1. Would you have spotted that many? The magnets illustrated here are permanent magnets, one of many types of magnets used today.

Dorian Ford Kids Club was created for kids. We want your kids to have an enjoyable time while waiting with you at our Dorian Ford dealership. Whether your kids are waiting with you when purchasing or leasing a new or used vehicle, or simply waiting out a service appointment with you, send them to our coloring station in our Showroom Lounge! We have provided various coloring pages, Crayola crayons, and even a kids puzzle to keep your little ones occupied. Our Showroom Lounge is even equipped with a television. You are more than welcome to change the channel to entertain your children with cartoons! When in doubt, check out our other Dorian Ford Kids Club pages for ideas on activities and games you can play while you wait. You didn't bring the kids with you? Take some coloring pages home for them! More coloring pages and activities coming soon. Do you have any ideas on things  we should add to or change about our Kids Club pages? Send an e-mail to with the subject line Dorian Kids Club with any and all of your suggestions!
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