Being able to explain examples of potential and kinetic energy is important foundation students need in order to fully understand many physics concepts.
The Cool School Comic presents the information in a visual format and engages all of your learners in reading the content. The lesson plan contains everything from facts to hands-on activities. Your learners will be captivated as they examine examples of potential and kinetic energy. Teach science with comics and get your students excited about reading science!
Potential energy is the energy that is stored in an object due to its position or configuration. It is energy that is waiting to be released or converted into another form of energy. For example, a ball at the top of a hill has potential energy due to its position above the ground.
Kinetic energy is the energy of an object in motion. It is equal to the work needed to accelerate an object of a given mass from rest to its current velocity. The faster an object is moving, the more kinetic energy it has.
Examples of Potential Energy
Another way of thinking about it is potential energy is energy that is waiting to be released or converted into another form of energy.
Here are some examples of potential energy:
- A book on a shelf
- A stretched rubber band
- A rock at the top of a hill
- A compressed spring
- A bow and arrow
- Water behind a dam
- A coiled-up slinky
- A loaded gun
- A charged battery
- An athlete in the starting blocks
The object has potential energy due to its position or configuration. The potential energy an object has depends on its mass, height, and the strength of the force acting on it (such as gravity or a spring). The released object will convert its potential energy into kinetic energy, which is the energy of motion.
Examples of Kinetic Energy
Kinetic energy is equal to the work needed to accelerate an object of a given mass from rest to its current velocity. The faster an object is moving, the more kinetic energy it has.
Here are some examples of kinetic energy:
- A rolling ball
- A swinging pendulum
- A flying airplane
- A running person
- A moving car
- Water flowing in a river
- A swinging baseball bat
- A spinning top
- A vibrating tuning fork
- A waving flag
So, the object is in motion and has kinetic energy due to its speed and mass. The amount of kinetic energy an object has depends on its mass and velocity, with more massive objects and faster-moving objects having more kinetic energy.
Examples of Potential and Kinetic Energy Lesson Plan
When I taught middle school physical science and STEM, I always tried to incorporate as much hands-on, student-driven learning as possible. Lessons were always highly visual catering to a wider range of learners. The Examples of Potential and Kinetic Energy Lesson Plan available both here and on Teachers Pay Teachers contains all of the following aspects:
- Google Slideshow- Click anywhere on the page to link to the full slideshow presentation. Enjoy this ZERO PREP teaching aide.
- Interactive Table of Contents
- Fully Colored Version– Perfect for projecting on front board or printing as a poster.
- Black and White Version– Easily printable, fun to color
- Fill-in-the-Blank Doodle Notes– Use as guided reading or guided note-taking tool
- Drawing Doodle Notes– These doodle notes involve more drawing opportunities.
- Create Your Own– A completely blank comic template. Students can draw in vertical lines where they see fit. Assess their understanding in a unique way.
- Hands-on Catapult STEM Challenge- Students engineer catapults. Instructions are in comic form.
- Catapult Follow-up Questions- Questions linking the activity back to potential and kinetic energy.
- Rubrics for “Create Your Own” Comic- Two different rubrics to serve as instructions for students and a grading tool for you.
- Answer Key for Doodle Notes and Catapult Follow-up Questions
- Teacher Tips– Tips and instruction ideas for you!
This particular comic is also available in Spanish. Check it out HERE!
Additional Lesson Plan Ideas
Here are additional example lesson plans on potential and kinetic energy:
- Begin by introducing the concepts of potential and kinetic energy and how they relate to the energy of an object.
- Students brainstorm examples of objects that have potential energy (such as a book on a shelf, a stretched rubber band, or a rock at the top of a hill) and examples of objects that have kinetic energy (such as a rolling ball, a swinging pendulum, or a flying airplane).
- Show students a demonstration of potential and kinetic energy in action, such as rolling a ball down a ramp or releasing a toy car from a height.
- Learners create their own demonstration of potential and kinetic energy using simple materials such as cardboard, scissors, and string. Encourage them to think creatively and come up with their own ideas.
- Next, students are to reflect on the demonstration they created and explain how potential energy was converted into kinetic energy. Have them share their ideas with the class and discuss as a group.
- Finally, conclude the lesson by reviewing the key concepts of potential and kinetic energy and how they can be demonstrated using everyday objects. Encourage students to think about how these concepts apply to the world around them.