2017 Flame Challenge Finalist
Writer and former civil engineer from Hillsboro, Oregon
Get to know Hannah
“I’m the mother of young children. When I think about energy, usually I’m thinking about how I wish I had more of it!”
“I tend to remember things visually, so I went for an example that I thought kids might be able to visualize. A specific human experience seemed like the best way to go about that--hence the babysitter on the couch.”
“I have a high respect for children and think they are capable of understanding much more than we adults sometimes give them credit for…But kids can be ruthless critics. They have no problem letting you know when they are bored. Finding the right intersect of aptitude and interest is a fascinating quest.”
"I wish I had your energy! Have you ever heard an adult say this? Well, what is energy, and how do you get it?
Energy is the means to move. Without energy, a ball won’t roll, a car won’t drive, and a babysitter won’t get off the couch. Energy isn’t always something you can measure directly, like with a ruler or a scale. But you can always calculate it with the right measurements. To figure out how, let’s talk about the different types of energy, starting with potential energy.
Potential means “hasn’t happened yet.” A babysitter laying on the couch has potential energy. How much? To find out, multiply the height of the couch by the babysitter’s weight.
Now, let’s talk about kinetic energy. Kinetic means “moving.” Everything moving has kinetic energy. To change the babysitter’s potential energy into kinetic energy, you just need to give him a little push...
...but I don’t recommend this. For starters, kinetic energy stops when he lands on the floor. Ouch!
Instead, try energizing the babysitter with a sandwich—a form of chemical energy. All food has chemical energy—candy, crackers, pepperoni—anything with Calories. Calories are one way to measure energy.
Other options for energizing your babysitter might include: rubbing your socks on the carpet to give him a little jolt of electric energy or blasting some loud music to send sound energy his direction.
No matter the type, once you have energy—that’s when things can start moving."