Potential Energy

Lesson Plan

Energy Basics:

Issac Says:

"Let's Learn about Potential and Kinetic Energy!"

Potential Energy:

Potential energy exists whenever an object which has mass has a position within a force field. The most everyday example of this is the position of objects in the earth's gravitational field.

Kinetic Energy:

Kinetic Energy exists whenever an object which has mass is in motion with some velocity . Everything you see moving about has kinetic energy.

Conservation of Energy

This principle asserts that in a closed system energy is conserved. This principle will be tested by you, using the experimental apparatus below. In the case of an object in free fall. When the object is at rest at some height, h, then all of its energy is PE.

As the object falls and accelerates due to the earth's gravity , PE is converted into KE. When the object strikes the ground, h=0 so that PE=0, the all of the energy has to be in the form of KE and the object is moving it at its maximum velocity. (In this case we are ignoring air resistance).


Experimental Apparatus

This appartus will drop a mass from different heights. When the mass strikes the ground, some percentage of its original energy will be absorbed by the ground.

The parameters you control are:

In addition you can measure the height of the object above the surface by clicking on the black platform upon which the object rests. The impact velocity of the object will also be given at each bounce.

The functionality of the buttons are as follows:


Experimental Procedure