Document Type

Lesson Plan

Publication Date



Our investigation deals with the difference between kinetic and potential energy, and different situations that model those energies. Students needed to define kinetic and potential energy. In addition they needed to discover what the equations are to calculate these energies. Students were to investigate different situations where these energies are evident using various modeling technologies and design a tangible model they could use to assist in explaining the difference between the two energies. Once students designed these models, they needed to be able to explain where these energies exist in these situations using verbal explanations, mathematical equations, physical displays, and modeling software.

Using software models such as Interactive Physics, Roller Coaster Tycoon, and graphing calculators in conjunction with CBR’s, students will be able to demonstrate to an audience real life applications of these energies and how the two exist in each of the models. Students will be able to share the characteristics of these energies and show how they are related.

Students would also need to coordinate times with the technology and art teachers to assist them in making their cars and ramps. They needed to cut out their cars from a wood block using a scroll saw in the technology room. They also needed to build their ramps using various saws and the expertise of Mr. Uranta. In addition, they needed to paint their cars and the ramp in the art room under the guidance of Mr. Grace.

The main focus of the project is for students to understand that PE and KE exist in all objects and are interrelated. To understand when KE is high, PE is low, and vice versa. In addition, the focus is to have students explore this information through modeling software and many other technologies.


Questions, comments or suggestions about this model may be sent to:
Dr. Leigh Little, The College at Brockport

Larry (2618 kB)
Contains lesson plan and any application files

Tools used

Interactive Physics, TI Calculator

Grade Level