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Did you ever wonder why parents freak out when a baby sticks a fork in an outlet? It’s no joke: They’re wary of electricity, and rightly so, because it has the power to stop, start and transform all life. In Electricity, kids get up close to the force that makes things “run”: from the muscles of a sprinter to the chips in your computer. It all starts with the movement of electrons: If they like to jump, static is created, but if they go with the flow, you’ll get an electric current. Travel back in time with the great minds that discovered everything we know about electricity – from the Greek scientist Thales, who first described static, to Nikola Tesla, who is behind the wireless machines we depend on today.
Investigate the world’s biggest machine – no, it’s not a rocket ship, it’s actually the power grid that lights up North America. From power plant to light switch, it’s all one big circuit. Ever wonder how the band AC/DC got its name? The moniker is a salute to alternating current (AC) and direct current (DC) – the two types of electricity that power their guitars. Heat, magnetic fields, and chemical changes are all caused by electricity; for kids, this basic fact never fails to fascinate. Take a look at solar panels and other new ways of generating electricity; for kids concerned about the future, tips on conserving energy will really stand out.