Can Energy be Created or Destroyed?

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In this activity, learners explore conservation of energy by experimenting with a solar cell light device. Learners will set the solar cell in the sun for varying times to charge the battery and then measure the time the battery can run in a flashlight. Learners will collect and graph the data to draw conclusions. In the final section of the activity, learners will discover that different devices (such as a clock or toy car) use energy at different rates.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
45 to 60 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan


Materials List (per group of students)

  • 1 solar cell night light device, with battery
  • time-keeping device (clock or stop watch)
  • 1 one-battery flashlight
  • 1 one-battery clock
  • 1 one-battery toy car


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Technology
  • Physical Sciences
    • Energy
      • Potential and Kinetic Energy
  • Mathematics
    • Data Analysis and Probability
      • Data Analysis
      • Data Collection
      • Data Representation
    • Measurement
      • Rate
    • Reasoning and Proof
    • Representation
  • The Nature of Technology
    • The Design Process
      • Problem Solving
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Gathering Data
      • Formulating Explanations
      • Communicating Results

Informal Categories

  • Electronics
  • Outdoor Activity
  • Toys


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



  • All rights reserved, Little Shop of Physics, 2009