Anchor Phenomenon Ideas: To hook students immediately, demonstrate the double ball drop (drop a tennis ball with a ping pong ball on top) and let the discussion begin! Kids will come back to this phenomenon for their summative assessment as they build a deeper understanding of energy.
Make it Relevant: Focus on the fun! Kinetic energy is everywhere. Point out examples of kinetic energy as kids walk, play sports and listen to music.
Tips and Tricks: Set out meter sticks, cardboard or wood to use as ramps, textbooks, different sizes of marbles and blocks or dice and let kids play. Allow them to build and explore before directing them back to the guided investigations of questions two and three. Remind students to make sure they are changing only one variable at a time as they collect data.
Students continue to gather data as they explore the University of Colorado PhET Energy Skate Park in question four. This engaging simulation allows students to determine how speed and mass affect the skater's kinetic energy.
Student work sample of question two
Extension Activity: The foam tubes used to insulate pipes work well to build marble roller coasters as long as kids don't bend them in half (they do break). Ramps made of paper also work. Masking tape can secure the tubes to any available wall, window or door.
As students calculate the marble's PE and KE, remind them to use kilograms as the unit for mass and meters as the unit for height. For the most accurate KE reading, encourage students to find the speed of the marble over the first long section of their track.