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Royal National Park Environmental Education Centre

Royal National Park Environmental Education Centre

Telephone02 9542 1951

Exploring energy

Science and technology – physical world

Program overview

Students explore energy and electricity, using a range of engaging resources, such as model generators, dynamos, solar ovens and solar panels. Students will learn about electricity generation, different ways electrical energy can be generated, and the effect of heat energy in a solar oven.

Session details

75 minutes. Up to 3 sessions (one class each) per day.

Key syllabus outcomes

  • Students question, plan and conduct scientific investigations, collect and summarise data and communicate using scientific representations (ST2-1WS-S)
  • Students describe the characteristics and effects of common forms of energy, such as light and heat (ST2-8PW-ST)

Inquiry questions

  • How do light, heat and electrical energy make things happen?


Energy makes things happen (heat, light and electricity)


  • describe the effects of heat energy
  • explore some common sources and uses of electrical energy and describe different ways electrical energy can be generated sustainably, for example: (ACSSU219)
    • solar cells
    • hydroelectric power
    • wind turbines
    • geothermal power generation
    • wave power

Learning experiences

Generating electricity

Students observe an electricity generator using a coil of wire and a magnet. They predict how the amount of electricity generated can be increased, e.g. increasing the number of coils, strength of magnet, speed of relative motion. Students observe and use model generator to produce light and motion and relate this model generator to a power plant. Students identify that electricity is generated by turning a turbine (other than solar or battery) and in Australia a majority of electricity is produced by burning coal.

Alternative energy sources

Students brainstorm and identify renewable energy sources. They observe a model wind generator and hydro generator. Students experiment with dynamo torches, model wind turbines, hand crank power generators, and mini solar cars.

Solar oven

Students observe the effects of heat energy through cooking garlic bread in a large solar oven. They discuss the features of the oven and compare the outside temperature and the oven temperature.

Note: A great follow-up activity/STEM challenge is to research, design and build solar ovens in small groups. For a final competition the group that can melt a square of chocolate the quickest wins!