The Energy Game

My father dealth a little bit with energy and used the term after I got a little bit of the idea about it. What he would have done I know, because he did in fact essentially the same thing--though not the same example of the toy dog. He would say, "It moves because the sun is shining," if he wanted to give the same lesson. I would say "No. What has that to do with the sun shining? It moved because you wound up the springs."

"And why, my friend, are you able to move to wind up this spring?"

"I eat."

"What, my friend, do you eat?"

"I eat plants."

"And how do they grow?"

"They grow because the sun is shining."

And it is the same with the dog. What about gasoline? Accumulated energy of the sun which is captured by plants and preserved in the ground. Other examples all end with the sun. And so the same idea about the world that our textbook is driving at is phrased in a very exciting way. All the things that we see that are moving are moving because the sun is shining. It does explain the relationship of one source of energy to another, and it can be denied by the child. He could say, "I don't think it is on account of the sun shining," and you can start a discussion. So there is a difference. (Later I could challenge him with the tides, and what makes the earth turn, and have my hand on mystery again.)


A game Feynman's father would play with him, asking what made things work, and following the chain of energy back to the sun.

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 What Is Science?
Books, Brochures, and Chapters>Book Chapter:  Feynman, Richard (1969), What Is Science?, The Physics Teacher, Vol 9, pp 313-320, American Association of Physics Teachers, Retrieved on 2010-11-13


06 NOV 2012

 The Energy Game

The Energy Game > Example/Illustration > The Energy Game in a Dead Moth
Feynman describes a game of tracing all energy back to the sun, and Chet Raymo provides an example of this with a moth being carried away by ants.


05 JUN 2011

 Raising Enlightened Children

Memes about raising children as a spiritual naturalist, with a sense of awe for the Universe and reverence for the laws of nature.
12 JUN 2011

 Instilling Children with the Sense of Wonder

Memes on teaching children about science and appreciation for nature.