Candy is always a fun way to learn STEM. This Candy and Simple Machine Science Project uses simple machines project presents a great way to talk about the transition between potential energy and kinetic energy as well as practice some engineering skills. Kids of all ages will love this mechanical energy activity!
One of my daughters has been begging to learn more science lately. She and all of siblings spent most of an hour watching M and M’s go down the slide and turn the fly wheel. While they played we talked about the physics involved. This is such a fun Mechanical Energy for Kids activity!
Keep scrolling to learn more and see the rest of our simple machines for kids study!
Kinetic energy is the energy of motion. As the candy slides down the shoot, it gains more and more speed. The more speed it gains the more kinetic energy it has.
Where does the energy come from? I asked. My older child knew immediately that this gain in energy was due to gravity. Force fields have been a special interest lately, and gravity is a field force. Any time an object is pulled in by a field force it tends to gain kinetic energy. At the top of the slide the M and M has potential energy. As gravity pulls the candy down the inclined plane, the potential energy is mostly converted to kinetic energy. (A tiny bit of the mechanical energy will be converted to heat by friction.)
Where does the mechanical energy go? This was easy. At the bottom of the slide, or inclined plane the M and M transfer’s it’s mechanical energy to the flywheel, a type of lever. Both inclined plans and levers are a type of simple machine.
Simple machines are devices that change the direction or the magnitude (size) of a force. How did these machines change the force? The inclined planes changed the direction from straight toward the center of the earth to a path that was more parallel. The fly wheel lever actually changed the direction from straight down to a circle- angular motion!
Simple Machine Science Project
- Mini M and M’s (or other similarly sized candy)
- Milk shake straws
- Tooth pics
- Play dough to stabilize the bottom
Mechanical Energy Project Ideas
Build your inclined plane
If your child enjoys these types of toys, you may want to check out Paul Hewitt’s Conceptual Physics. It’s meant to be used as a text book, but is written so well that we tend it to pick it up for pleasure reading. Hewitt uses humor and every day examples to make physics accessible to anyone.
Mechanical Energy for Kids
Don’t be fooled. Physics is not a difficult science because there is so much to learn. There is very little to know. The important thing is that your children learn the skills of applying a few simple concepts in a variety of situations. As they do, they’ll begin to see the amazing complexity of the world all around them, just like my kids did with this candy machine.
Simple Machines for Kids
- Inclined Plane Simple Machine – explanation, activities, and resources
- Wheel and Axle for kids lesson with projects and other fun ideas
- Gears Simple Machines for Kids filled with lots of hands on activities
- Wedges and Screws Simple Machines Lesson for children
- Levers and Pulleys lesson for students
- Free Simple Machine Worksheets
- I Spy simple machines for kids
- MATCH – Simple Machines Game
- 30 Simple Machines for Kids Projects
- Free Simple Machines Booklet
- Candy Simple Machines Project
- Pulley Experiment from recycled materials
Fun Science for Kids
Looking for lots more fun, science experiments for kids? You’ve GOT to try some of these outrageously fun science experiments for kids! We have so many fun, creative and easy science experiments for elementary age children:
- 100 Amazing Food science experiments for kids – arranged by type of science
- Colorful Capillary action science experiment (also known as walking water)
- Amaze kids with these 12 Hands on Science experiments with batteries
- 24 Epic Solar system science projects to try this week
- Fun Water balloon science experiment that explores density
- 50 Fun Preschool science experiments the whole family will want to try
- Simple Galaxy science project
- Easy and Fun Dancing Raisins Experiment
- Learn about weather as you find how to make a weather vane
- Eye opening Eye science experiments
- Easy-to- make Air pressure science project
- Amazing POP rocks science experiment is one of our all-time favorite science experiments we like to do during the summer are
- Stunning Chromatography Flowers are so pretty you’ll forget it was as science project!
- How to Make a Lava Lamp – super easy and SO cool!
- 30 Simple machines science projects kids will want to try
- Easy, fascinating, and colorful project answering Why do Leaves Change Color Experiment
- Free Printable Animal Classifications for Kids Cootie Catchers
- 19 Edible science experiments – which delicious project will you try first?
- HUGE Free Solar System Unit (coloring pages, hands on science projects, worksheets, and more!)
- Pipe Cleaner Constellation Activity (As seen on Good Housekeeping!)
- Teach kids about conductivity with this fun squishy circuits projects
- Amazing, Heat Sensitive, Color Changing Slime
- Life Cycles for Kids (from penguin to sunflower and spider to turkey we have LOTS of life cycles to explore and learn about)
- EASY, Colorful Oil and Water Science Experiment
- Kids will be amazed as you change colors of white flowers with this Dying Flowers Science Experiment
- This super cool Lego Zipline is fun and simple to make
- Human Body Project
- Check out this super cool look INSIDE a Volcano Project
- Exploding Watermelon – science experiment that explores potential and kinetic energy with a big WOW moment!
- Memorable Life Size Skeletal system science project – includes free printable template
- Find LOTS more Easy Science Experiments for kids of all ages!