Energize Your Class With The Energy Ball

Janice Van Cleave

by: Janice VanCleave

As a teacher, I enjoyed having people visit my class. It brought out the “ham” in me and I did and said things that even surprised me.  Rubbing a balloon on my hair and making my hair stand on ends was not unusual, but climbing on top of my desk sticking the charged balloon to the ceiling was a bit over the top.

What I disliked was the unscheduled visitor with an evaluation sheet in hand. But, I was always prepared. In fact, I had a box filled with materials for fun engaging activities. It was my “Emergency Experiment  Box.” When the evaluator unexpectedly arrived, out came the box and the show began.

My teaching abilities were being evaluated during an unexpected visit,  so I was prepared to show all my best qualities. I suggest you have an Emergency Experiment Box, and I do recommend including the Energy Ball.

Whatever you put in your box, make sure you know as much about the experiment as possible. The Energy Ball is great for teaching the scientific method. Too often kids memorize the steps of the scientific method, but do not use them on a daily bases. The scientific method is a set of problem solving tools—but every problem does not require using every instrument in the tool box.

I regress, let me get back to using the Energy Ball to fire up your students with or without unexpected guests.

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The Energy Ball

Sarah Brandtby:  Sarah Brandt

The uniquely entertaining energy ball is a fun way to demonstrate open and closed circuits, as well for prompting discussions on conductivity. The following activities are perfect to use in elementary and middle school grades first exploring electricity and circuits.

When both sensors on the ball are touched and a complete circuit is formed, the ball flashes a red light and buzzes.

What makes the energy ball work?

Energy Ball

Inside the energy ball is a simple circuit that is completely self-contained. By touching both sensors, the circuit is completed by electrons flowing through your body or another conductive material such as a paper clip. Materials that activate the energy ball
are good conductors, meaning they pass electrons easily. Materials that do not activate the energy ball are poor conductors (or insulators), meaning they do not pass electrons easily. Read the rest of this entry »