Join Science Buddies this summer for virtual summer camp! Each week, we'll highlight fun STEM themes for kids of all ages, including suggestions for simple hands-on activities, book picks, and more. We'll keep you inspired all summer with creative and innovative science and engineering activities — for free. This week: big-top science with fun activities that tap into the spirit of the local fair, circus, or amusement park.
Use these free lesson plans and hands-on activities to explore potential and kinetic energy with students!
What happens when you stretch a rubber band and let it go? Why? Explaining how energy is stored and transferred and how that relates to the movement and momentum of objects in motion involves understanding potential and kinetic energy. This is an area of science where getting hands-on with the storage, transfer, and release of energy really helps…
This is a really fun project even if you don't like going on roller coasters yourself. You'll build a roller coaster track for marbles using foam pipe insulation and masking tape, and see how much of an initial drop is required to get the marble to "loop the loop." It's a great way to learn about how stored energy (potential energy) is converted into the energy of motion (kinetic energy).
If you'd like to investigate the physics of amusement park rides, then this project is for you. You'll build a roller coaster track for marbles using foam pipe insulation and masking tape, and see how much the marble's potential energy at the beginning of the track is converted to kinetic energy at various points along the track.