Potential Energy Teacher Resources

Find Potential Energy educational ideas and activities

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While building rollercoaster tracks for marbles is definitely age-appropriate for middle schoolers, the calculations on the lab sheets for this instructional activity are above most of them. Physics fledglings measure the potential energy at the beginning of a track, the kinetic energy at its end, and the amount lost to friction along the way. From these values, they calculate the height that a loop can be inserted and still have the marble make it from beginning to end. Hold on to your hats, because it's sure to be a rolicking time!
Students examine the differences between potential and kinetic energy.  In this potential energy lesson students watch a video and complete an in class investigation. 
In this kinetic and potential energy worksheet, students read for information and evaluate comprehension. In this multiple choice and fill in the blanks worksheet, students answer fifteen questions.
Students discover the effect of height and weight on potential energy. In this potential energy lesson, students engage in several mini-experiments where they explore this relationship. Each activity has various ways to identify the two factors that effect potential energy.
Students investigate the difference between potential and kinetic energy. They examine the formulae associated with both types of energy. They complete how quickly a pendulum with swing by converting potential energy into kinetic energy.
In this energy worksheet, students use the gravitational potential energy equation to solve for mass, height, or free-fall acceleration. This worksheet has 10 problems to solve.
Eighth graders listen to a teacher lecture and observe a demonstration of both potential energy and stored energy. After discussing the characteristics and examples of different types of energy, 8th graders make predictions and then perform experiments with rubber bands to model kinetic energy. Students discuss the results of their lab.
Students examine energy sources. In this kinetic and potential energy lesson, students conduct investigations to show how toys produce the two types of energy. Students also draw a picture of a skateboarder and label the examples of kinetic and potential energy.
Young scholars examine the relationship between potential energy and kinetic energy. They explore how the greater the input of potential energy (altitude of the ramp), the greater the output of kinetic energy (distance traveled).
Students observe a simulation of matchbox toy cars on ramps to learn the relationship between potential energy and kinetic energy. In this math and science instructional activity, students arrange the ramps on the floor and place the car at the top of the ramp. Students release the car, recording the distance the car travels during three trial runs. Depending on math proficiency, students either develop a bar graph or average the numbers to interpret the results.
You will need to prepare either a class set or a single demonstration catapult in order to teach this powerful lesson on kinetic and potential energy. Activity sheets are provided to walk learners through the construction of a catapult. If you choose to teach via demonstration, you can jump straight to Activity Sheet 3, on which is a data table for recording distances. Different features of the catapult are varied for comparison. A vocabulary list and challenge questions are provided. 
If you can find Tinker Toys™, then this may be a fun assignment for your physical science class. Using the construction set and a few other toys, they examine the forces involved when it they are being played with. For each, they determine how potential energy is stored, when kinetic energy is in action, and how energy is transferred. The lesson is long and materials heavy, but if you prepare a kit with the materials, you can use it over and over again to help you teach energy.
Middle schoolers engage in an activity which demonstrates how potential energy (PE) can be converted to kinetic energy (KE) and back again. Given a pendulum height, students calculate and predict how fast the pendulum will swing by understanding conservation of energy and using the equations for PE and KE. Excellent worksheets which accompany the experiment are imbedded in this plan.
Don't let the term, "slotted wood board" detract you from the value of this experiment. Class members tie a string to a cart and, with even horizontal force, drag it up an inclined plane. The objective is to compare the work done with the change in potential energy. Note: special equipment is required, either a force scale or computer-interfaced force probe. Make sure to check out the fabulous reading materials available via the embedded links.
Watch your class reach its potential (energy) with this activity. In groups of three, elementary school scientists place a golf ball on a ramp: 5cm from the bottom, then 10 cm, and then 15 cm. They let it roll and measure the distance beyond the ramp where it came to rest. Discuss as a class or have older children write answers to the questions listed on the lab sheet. This classic lesson plan on kinetic and potential energy is even more easily taught using this guide.
For this potential energy worksheet, students determine the potential energy of objects, calculate the work due to conservative forces and the conservation of mechanical energy. This worksheet has 7 problems to solve.
Students drop water from different heights to demonstrate the conversion of water's potential energy to kinetic energy. They see how varying the height from which water is dropped affects the splash size. In seeing how falling water can be used to do work, they also learn how this energy transformation figures into the engineering design and construction of hydroelectric power plants, dams and reservoirs.
Young scholars study kinetic and potential energy. For this energy lesson, students in grades K-2 understand the differences between kinetic and potential energy. Young scholars in grades 3-5 demonstrate that kinetic and potential energy. Students in grades 6-8 design and explain how acceleration, gravity and momentum are used in kinetic and potential energy.
Your introductory physical science class will be energized by this PowerPoint. They will be able to define energy, work, and power. They will be able to perform calculations for kinetic and potential energy. They will be able to describe the various simple machines and forms of energy. Truly, this selection of 71 slides can serve as a note-taking guide for several lessons on energy and work. Make sure to break it up with hands-on experience using simple machines and pendulums.
Ninth graders demonstrate the difference between potential and kinetic energy. In this inquiry based physics lesson, 9th graders design and build a model of a roller coaster using foam tubing to show how mass and height affect the potential energy of an object. This lesson includes differentiated instructional support, learning strategies, and extension ideas.