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First graders go hands-on learning about energy

Michael Walker and Landen Brewer try to figure out how to get light to reflect off of a mirror and into the sound box while Brinlee DesJardins listens for a reaction.

Michael Walker and Landen Brewer try to figure out how to get light to reflect off of a mirror and into the sound box while Brinlee DesJardins listens for a reaction.

Think first grade is just beginning to read and adding simple numbers? Well, think again!

Brittani Canipe’s first graders at Fisher Elementary School just completed their first science unit on energy. These youngsters explored five different types of energy—chemical, mechanical, heat, light, and sound, focusing on light and sound.

Mrs. Canipe taught lessons then turned the students loose to experiment using special science kits from Herkimer BOCES.

In small group centers, they learned how chemical reactions can create light and heat.  The students discovered that solar panels absorb the light energy from heat lamps and flashlights and could power little solar bugs and solar cars.

Small groups worked together to orient flashlights and mirrors to bounce (reflect) light into the hole in a sound box. When successful, the box vibrated. They also experimented with different types of materials (black and white paper) to see how different colors reflected or absorbed the light from the flashlight.

In addition to experimenting with light energy, the students experimented with sound energy.  They used tuning forks to see how sound could be absorbed or reflected by different types of materials.

The classes and experiments were fun ways to reinforce important concepts and skills. Students:

  • Planned and carried out investigations to provide evidence that vibrating materials can make sound and that sound can make materials vibrate.
  • Made observations based on the evidence that objects in darkness can be seen only when illuminated.
  • Planned and conducted investigations to determine the effect of placing objects made with different materials in the path of a beam of light.
  • Used tools and materials to design and build a device that uses light or sound to solve the problem of communicating over a distance.

“I would like to thank BOCES for providing my class with these wonderful learning experiences.  The hands-on experiments made for many new scientists-in-the-making,” said Mrs. Canipe.

photo of a girl with a tuning fork and metal bowl

Lily Edick listens to decide if the sound from the tuning fork is being absorbed or reflected by the metal bowl.

Photo of a boy inserting a tuning fork in a glass of water.

Dubhlainn Mullin observes how sound produces a vibration by placing a tuning fork in a glass of water.

 Brayden Smalls and Samuel Nesbitt work together to reflect light off of a mirror, while their group mates (Makenzie Shepard and John Davis) listen for the sound box’s reaction and give helpful tips.

Brayden Smalls and Samuel Nesbitt work together to reflect light off of a mirror, while their group mates (Makenzie Shepard and John Davis) listen for the sound box’s reaction and give helpful tips.

photo of students on carpet

Aubrie Sherwood experiments with light energy at different distances while Daniel Davis and Farah Warren listen to their sound box to see if it is reacting to the light.