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Sandra Montgomery

Is it Potential or Kinetic energy?


Grade: 4th
Time Allotted: 40 45 min.
Class Size: 30 students
Materials:
For each cooperative group of 3 students, provide the following:
Meter sticks
Rubber balls
Tennis balls
Ping pong balls
Potential and kinetic data sheet
3 different colored pencils
For each individual student, provide the following
Vocabulary worksheet
Rollercoaster chart
Blue and red coloring pencils
3 sets of different colored paper
Teacher Preparation
Post the definitions on to the board.
Post the objectives on to the board.
Need internet access ready to show video of a rollercoaster, the link is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?
v=bxPQVGvKpWg&list=PL606BFC8169A8823F&index=4
Station preparation
Set up a table or a desk against a wall.
Place the meter stick against the wall and have the bottom touching the desk/table. Then tape the meter
stick against the wall so it will stay. Stick pins work great and they dont interfere with the numbers.
Have the 100 cm at the top and the 1 cm touching the table.
Have one of each ball at each station. One ping pong ball, one tennis ball, and one rubber ball will be at
the station.
Three different colored pencils, two being red and blue.
Place the potential and kinetic energy data sheet at each station.

Grouping suggestions:
Group the students by giving them a lab station color. If the class breaks down into 8 groups, you will
need 8 different colors. Three cards will be needed for each color.
Randomly pass out the colored cards to each child. Explain that the color they selected will decide the
group they work in.
When you are ready for the students to go to the station, hold up a color of a group and tell those that
have that color to go to a station. Continue the process until all groups are at their station.
Overview
Students should already know how to find the average of three numbers. suggest the class review this skill if
they have forgotten it.
Students will also discover a linear relationship between the heights a ball is dropped and the subsequent
bounce. Students will drop each ball from the 40 cm, 70 cm, and 100 cm. All measurements will be taken from
the bottom of the balls students will measure the height of the bounce from the bottom of the ball.
The students will demonstrate understanding by correctly labeling the site of potential and kinetic energy found
on a diagram add a subheading content background
Potential energy is stored up energy. Kinetic energy is energy an object has when in motion. Potential energy
will turn into kinetic energy once it is in motion.

To make it easier for the students to accurately record the height of the ball bounce,
place a desk up against the wall, and then tape the meter stick on the wall. Make sure
the bottom of the meter stick is against the desk with the 0 cm mark on the surface
of the desk.

If you use journals, students can cut and paste the information on the data sheets into their journals. Older
students could record data independently into their journal.
Classroom Safety
Students should know that the only time that the balls are picked up from the table is when they are using them
for the activity they are doing. Otherwise, they need to be left on the table.
Content Area
Force & Motion: Physical Science Unifying Concept B
Energy: Physical Science Unifying Concept C

Science Achievement Indicators


P.5.B Students understand that forces can change the position and motion of an object.
P.5.C Students understand that energy exists in different forms.
Content objective:
Students will be able to demonstrate potential and kinetic energy.
Students will accurately measure and record data on potential and kinetic energy.
Students will understand the difference between potential energy and kinetic energy.
Key Vocabulary
Potential energy: the amount of stored energy an object has due to its position.
Kinetic energy: the type of energy an object has when it is in motion
Position: precisely where an object is located.
Lesson Hook:
Hold pencil and say, Potential energy. Drop pencil and say, Kinetic energy. Do this a few times and
then have the students do it. When you see that they are doing it with ease say, Show me kinetic
energy. They will hurriedly pick up the pencil and drop it. Say, Show me potential energy. They
will pick it up and hold it.
Show the video of the rollercoaster. Have them predict where the potential energy and kinetic energy is
on the rollercoaster.
LessonActivityItalicsareinstructionsfortheteacher
Pickupapencilandholditout.Say,Potentialenergy.Dropthepencilandsay,Kineticenergy.
Dothisprocess23times,studentswillhaveacoupleofexamplesofseeingwhatisbeingsaid.
Pickupyourpencilsandholdthemoutasyouhavejustseendone.Sayanddowithme,Potential
energy,kineticenergy.Dothisafewtimesuntilyoufeelthattheyunderstand.
Haveyourpencilsonthedesks.Youwillbegivenatermandyouaregoingtoshowwhatitis.Show
kineticenergy.Theywillhurriedlypickupthepencilanddropit.Showmepotentialenergy.Dothisa
fewtimesoruntilyoufeelthattheyunderstandwhatthetermsmean.
Changingthepositionoftheobjectwillchangethepotentialandkineticenergy.
Placethedefinitionsontheboardandgothroughthem.Readwithmethedefinitionsandthenwrite
themdownonyourvocabularysheet/journal.
Gothroughtheobjectiveswiththeclass.Readwithmethroughtheobjectives
Showthevideoclipoftherollercoasterhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?
v=bxPQVGvKpWg&list=PL606BFC8169A8823F&index=4
As you are watching the video, watch where you think the potential and kinetic energy is.

Station instructions: Have the colors of the groups placed above each station.
Pass out the colored pieces of paper and put them into their groups at the desk. Once they are in their
groups hand the group the potential and kinetic energy data sheet. Give them the colored pencils. You
will see three lines on the top of the data sheet. Put your names on it.
Lets look at the data sheet. Put the data sheet up on the board. See how I have each name of the ball
colored with a different color? Now color the sections with the name of the ball, each with a different
color. When you are done, put the colored pencils down and look up.
Look over against the walls. You will see a set up of a meter stick, three balls, colored pencils, and a
regular pencil.
When you go to the stations you are going to do the following:
o One person will drop the ball from an assigned height, another person will watch the rebound of
the ball, and a third person will write down the measurements. You will rotate positions so that
all will have the opportunity to drop the ball, measure the rebound and record the data.
o The person who drops the ball will drop it from three different heights. The heights are: 40 cm,
70 cm, and 100 cm. You will place the bottom of the ball to the measurement of the ruler and
then drop the ball.
o The person who is measuring the rebound will see how high the rebound goes, measuring from
the bottom of the ball.
o You will drop each ball three times at each height and write the measurements on the data sheets
that have been provided to you. Look at your data sheet; see how each ball has three drops?
Show them on the data sheet. Heres for the first drop, the second drop, and the third drop
o When you get done with dropping the balls, then go to the desks and stay in your group.
Send them to the stations for them to do this section of the activity. Go around the room and monitor
and help where it is needed. The color of your station is posted above the station; the color of your
group is the color of the station you go to.
Desk group work
This next part you are going to figure out the average of the drops of the balls. What you are going to do
is to add up the drops and then divide that by the number of drops you did. For example: The ping pong
ball had been dropped from the 100 cm. and got 30 cm from the first drop, 28 cm from the second drop
and 31 cm from the third drop add those up. Show how you added it up. That turns out to be 158 cm.
Take 158 cm and divide that by 3 because we dropped the ball three times. Model how to do it. It ended
up being approximately 53 cm. You will figure the average for each ball and each height of the ball; the
40 cm. the 70 cm. and the 100 cm.
When you are done, put your pencil down.
Next, you are going to plot the average drop of the balls. Take the average of the ball drop and then
graph it on the graph. As a class, the average that was shown to you was 53 cm. for the one drop. Take
that number and chart it on the graph.
Notice how we colored the name of the ball a different color? When you chart your graph, you will use
the same colored pencil to graph for the ball that you are taking the information from. So if the ping
pong ball was colored blue; then the 53 cm would be charted with the colored blue and would continue

charting with the blue until I was done with the ping pong ball. Draw a line through the dots like this.
Model what you expect them to do.
When you are done charting the balls, put your pencil down. Discuss amongst each other what you
noticed about the graph and the drops of the ball from different heights.
You will see on your data sheet a picture of a ball bouncing. Take your blue coloring pencil and circle
the area with potential energy area and a square around the kinetic energy area.
Place up on the board the same picture with the ball.
Where did you think is the potential energy? Have one student come up and place the mark(s). Have
them use a blue marker.
Where did you think is the kinetic energy? Have another student come up and place the mark(s) of
where the kinetic energy is.
When the ball is at the highest point and not in motion this is where it has potential energy.
When the ball is falling and moving that is the kinetic energy. The ball has the most kinetic energy
when it is at the end.
Now does everyone agree with this? Point to the ball drawing.
Show them on the board if they are correct. Do this by taking the blue marker and show where the
potential energy is. Take the red marker and show the kinetic energy.
Take your blue coloring pencil, circle the potential energy and put a square around the kinetic energy
using the red coloring pencil. If you already have them marked this way, still mark it to show that it is
correct.
Now that we have a better understanding of potential and kinetic energy, lets go back to the
rollercoaster.
Pass out the rollercoaster. This is an individual assignment; put a circle around the potential energy and
label it. Put squares around kinetic energy and label it.

Added assessment
The questions are on the rollercoaster assessment.
Watch what happens when I drop the golf ball and tennis ball at the same time.
What does this tell you about the kinetic and potential energy of these two balls? (They are the same)
Place question on the board.
Describe how the graph for these two balls would appear. (about the same) Place question up on the
board.
When they are done, collect assignment and assessments sheets
Assessment
As an informal assessment, go around the classroom and pay attention to the students demonstrate the activity.
The rollercoaster on the data sheet will be their assessment on whether or not they understand the concept of
potential energy and kinetic energy.
The teacher will drop a golf ball and tennis ball at the same time. There are questions on the rollercoaster
assessment that the students will answer.

Cross Curricular Extensions


Math: Use of the metric system. The students will find the mean and median of each ball. Use of graphs.
Geography: Locations of where they would find the largest, fastest rollercoasters in the USA. Then plan a field
trip to visit every one!!!
Language Arts: The students will write a report about rollercoasters, where some are located,
how much it costs, where they would like to go and why.

Names of group members


_______________________________
_______________________________
_______________________________

Potential and Kinetic Data Sheet


Charts

Drop Height

Ping Pong Ball


100 cm

1st drop bounce height

2nd drop bounce height

3rd drop bounce height

Average Bounce Height

70 cm

40 cm

Work area for figuring average

Rubber Ball

Drop Height
100 cm

70 cm

Work area for figuring average

40 cm

1st drop bounce height

2nd drop bounce height

3rd drop bounce height

Average Bounce Height

Drop Height
Tennis Ball
100 cm

1st drop bounce height

2nd drop bounce height


3rd drop bounce height

70 cm

40 cm

Work area for figuring average

Average Bounce Height

Ball Drop Diagram

Rollercoaster

Starting
point

*The rollercoaster is being pulled up by a chain.

Directions: Wait for further instructions from the teacher to answer these questions.
1. What does this tell you about the kinetic and potential energy of these two balls?

2. Describe how the graph for these two balls would appear.

Definitions
Potential energy: The amount of stored energy an object has due to its position.
Kinetic energy: The type of energy an object has when it is in motion.
Position: precisely where an object is located.