QUESTION FOR KIDS: How can sunlight be converted into energy?

We can harness the power of the sun to power many things, big and small. You can have fun with solar power in your own back yard with this simple solar-powered motor experiment. What else can you imagine solar power doing?

Materials for this activity:

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Follow this easy, step-by-step activity:

In this activity, kids will see how energy can be converted from sunlight using a basic solar-powered motor.

  1. Attach the propeller to the axle on the motor.
  2. Take all the supplies (motor with propeller, sun cell, and alligator clips) outside where there is full sunlight.
  3. Clip one end of the alligator clip onto the negative end of the solar cell and connect the other end of the alligator clip to one of the wires on the motor.
  4. Clip the other alligator clip to the positive end of the solar cell and the remaining wire on the motor.
  5. Make sure the solar cell is in full sunlight and watch what happens. You may have to wait a few seconds.
  6. Cover half of the solar cell with your hand or a black piece of paper and observe what happens.

Power of the Sun

A few tips to help you out:

  • It may take a few seconds for the solar cell to start generating energy.
  • Make sure that the alligator clips are attached to bare wire on the motor and solar cell.
  • Full sunlight is needed for the solar cell to work.

Go Beyond the Activity

  • Take your circuit indoors and see if other light sources can power the motor/propeller.
  • Use aluminum foil to create a reflective tube to reflect even more sunlight onto the solar cell and see what happens.


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