Physical Science

How do I introduce Gravitational Potential Energy.

Hello, I am a senior at IU studying physics education and I am working on a unit about conservation laws. I have decent ideas for how to teach conservation of momentum and how to introduce kinetic energy, but I'm having trouble coming up with a good way to transition from momentum to energy. I'd like to introduce gravitational potential energy first. Any suggestions? Thanks, Emily

Emily Paulsen
10 Activity Points

I did a search in the Learning Center and came up with a couple of resources. Here is the link... http://learningcenter.nsta.org/search.aspx?action=quicksearch&text=gravitational%20potential%20energy

Betty Paulsell
48540 Activity Points

One possiblitity would be to use a marble raceway. Have two raceways set up at different angles. Start marbles on the two raceways from the same height and see how far they puch a cup. I have done this with rulers that have a groove down the center and paper cups cut in half. Students can start to see pattens that can then be used to start looking at gravitaional potential energy.

David Gillam
1165 Activity Points

Patricia Rourke
45895 Activity Points

Here is a collection of resources from the Learning Center with supportive ideas and lessons on teaching about potential energy. Chime in and let us know if you discover something of interest. ~patty

Potential Energy Collection
(11 items)
Podcast: Energy: Stop Faking It!, Simple Machines!: Potential and Kinetic Energy
-Podcast
Podcast: Energy: Stop Faking It!, Simple Machines!: Law of Conservation of Energy
-Podcast
Podcast: Picture-Perfect Science Lessons: Using Children’s Books to Guide Inquiry: A 5E Lesson Using Roller Coasters by Marla Frazee
-Podcast

Patricia Rourke
45895 Activity Points

I hope this is not too late to help. I designed a lab activity where students measure the efficiency of using a rotary electric motor to lift a mass. Here is the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OUt9th2D-Pg

Antonio Chaves
150 Activity Points

Hi Antonio, It is never too late to jump into a conversation to share; this is the neat thing about online forums offering connections to your science community at any time and on many devices. Thank you for sharing your video on how you introduce GPE. That is a great way to introduce the topic and to garner the interest of students. Some visitors to this thread may appreciate your sharing any written material that you may have to accompany your activity. Encouraging students to engineer similar devices is a solid path to new engineering guidelines, too. Thanks a bunch for sharing. Patty

Patricia Rourke
45895 Activity Points

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