Activities for exploring energy


I am teaching a science unit in Year 2 (Stage 1) next term that covers forces and energy (as part of the Australian Curriculum). This is the first time that I am teaching this unit. I have found lots of great resources on exploring forces and energy (light and sound), but I am having trouble coming across a nice selection of quality resources that provide a practical application for exploring heat, electrical and mechanical energy for 6-8 year olds. I am after something that is engaging and fun to do in the classroom. My aim is to link forces and energy to accidents and safety in the playground, as well as beyond the school gate (as a pedestrian or in a vehicle). 

Would anyone kindly point me in the right direction or be willing to share any ideas? I would be grateful.

Thank you.


Subject(s)STEM Clubs, Science, Physics
Age5-7, 7-11
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I have worked with yr 2 students in science and we have generally just focused on forces rather than forces and energy.

Yr 2 Physical sciences from Australian Curriculum: A push or a pull affects how an object moves or changes shape.

In terms of some simple energy activities you could look at using a battery with an LED or small light bulb to make it light up. Or use one of the torches that has a crank handle rather than a battery so that you turn the handle converting kinetic to electrical to light energy (IKEA used to have these for quite cheap). The old pinwheel looking at size of wings or distance from fan. Rubbing hands together to make heat. Could look at static electricity and connect it to getting a shock in the playground if the slide is make of plastic. Rocket balloons and/or cars can be a fun exploration of elastic energy and forces as you can also look at how the shape of the balloon changes. If connecting to safety you could try water balloons (or eggs depending on allergies) as your "student" or "crash test dummy". Looking at dropping the water balloon from the playground vs throwing it from the same height, or in a vehicle looking at the amount of force used to push the vehicle and what happens to the balloon when the vehicle crashes, whether the balloon is strapped in or not. If you are lucky enough to have access to iPads, videoing in slow motion could add in some interesting discussion.

Not sure how helpful this is, but hopefully sparks an direction for you. Here is a video with some older students looking at designing safety for their egg driver.

The other site that maybe worth looking at is Engineering is Elementary.

Good luck!




These are all wonderful ideas and are a lot more engaging than the activities I found. It will definitely make planning my program a lot easier. I am looking forward to giving it a go.

Thank you!