Energy: Energy Transformations

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Science Objects are two hour on-line interactive inquiry-based content modules that help teachers better understand the science content they teach. This Science Object is the second of four Science Objects in the Energy SciPack. It provides a conceptual and real-world understanding of how energy is transferred, from object to object and from one form of energy to another. Although the various forms of energy appear different, each can be measured in a closed system. This makes it possible to keep track of how much of one form of energy is converted into another form. Most of what goes on in the universe—from exploding stars and biological growth to the operation of machines and the motion of people—involves some form of energy being transformed into another form. The law of conservation of energy states that whenever the amount of energy in one place (or form) decreases, the amount of energy in other places (or forms) increases by the same amount.

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Reviews (17)
  • on Thu Jan 28, 2016 5:09 PM

I really enjoyed this SciPack. It really broke down how to explain the transfer of energy. I teach 3rd grade and even though we deal primarily with heat and thermal energy this sci pack is still a good way to introduce potential and kinetic energy. The transfer of energy often leads to the involvement of thermal energy. This is a good way to introduce this to my students even though we don't go over in detail this topic.

Gerard Latimore
Gerard Latimore

  • on Tue Sep 02, 2014 5:38 AM

I really enjoy Science Objects. In 1-3 hours, the Energy: Energy Transformations Science Object will help me re-learn, refresh, or learn for the first time some critical science concepts I will have to know to obtain my Science Educator credentials. I appreciate that I can complete them at my own pace, and that, if used as park of a SciPack, I have access to a content expert to go to for help. The NSTA Learning Center Science Objects are really beneficial!

Naomi Beverly  (Marietta, GA)
Naomi Beverly (Marietta, GA)

  • on Wed Feb 29, 2012 11:59 PM

Very informative. The most comprehensive approach to teaching energy transformation to all ages and for both educators and learners.

Ronaldo Relador  (Bowie, MD)
Ronaldo Relador (Bowie, MD)

  • on Mon Jan 16, 2012 12:03 AM

This Science Object was just wonderful. I don't know how else to say it. It was clearly one of my favorites out of all of the ones I've done so far. I found myself engaged through the whole object!

Brandy Stewart
Brandy Stewart

  • on Mon Oct 24, 2011 6:14 PM

This Science Object was clear and concise! It gives the seeker of knowledge a good idea about the law of the conservation of energy (how it works, what it means and a frame of reference for how to apply it). This Science Object also puts the calculation of PE and KE into its applicable context; great simulations and explanations!

Duane Little  (Washington, DC)
Duane Little (Washington, DC)

  • on Sun Jul 24, 2011 7:14 PM

A great visual display of energy transformation! My students will benefit immensely as they map energy flowing through a closed system. The thought provoking questions forced me to address my currentmethod of instruction fof this topic.

Karen G
Karen G

  • on Thu Apr 14, 2011 10:26 PM

This was just plain fun. It seems the older I get, the more I forget. As I prepared to teach my middle school students Energy transformations, it was very useful to me to have reviewed the material through this Sci Object. The material was presented in a way that made sense and often contained interactive applets allowing me to test my understanding of the material to that point. Often this format lends itself to page after page of stuff I am never sure I need to teach or not. Sci Objects get right to the point, making sure the language is formal enough to allow the user to use the language of Science with our students, and informal enough to make sure the concept is understood clearly. If I had one wish, it would be that the interactive found in the Sci Object were available somewhere for me to use with my students. If I had known about the Sci Objects as resources, I would have taken the time to go through all of them to help prepare me for my National Board Certification

Sandra Gady  (Renton, WA)
Sandra Gady (Renton, WA)

  • on Mon Mar 21, 2011 2:34 PM

This is an excellent resource for novice and intermediate learners. The animations are frequent and really good, and the follow-up questions really gets the learner to think. Transformations lead easily to the Law of Conservation of Energy and this Science Object does a great job.

Donald Boonstra  (League City, TX)
Donald Boonstra (League City, TX)

  • on Tue Nov 09, 2010 6:19 PM

This SciObject provides content information and activities about how energy changes from one form to another. It contains animations, simulations and embedded assessments so teachers unfamiliar with the concept can enhance their understanding. This series of SciObjects (or the SciPack they are in) is one of my favorites because it helps make an abstract concept much more concrete. It would make a good review if you haven't had to teach these concepts recently as well.

Bambi Bailey  (Tyler, TX)
Bambi Bailey (Tyler, TX)

  • on Sat Nov 06, 2010 2:17 PM

Conservation of energy is a difficult concept . This science object helps through interactive graphics and good questioning techniques to build upon this understanding. Key concept in understanding this rule in closed systems is explored.

Arlene Jurewicz Leighton
Arlene Jurewicz Leighton

  • on Sat Aug 08, 2009 6:48 AM

As an elementary teacher, most of us have reading or math certs, so this is very helpful. Useful ideas for the classroom too.

Liz M  (Interlaken, NY)
Liz M (Interlaken, NY)

  • on Sat Aug 06, 2016 7:58 PM

The paragraph was informative. It provided me with a more in-depth look when it comes to energy.

Alicia Walton
Alicia Walton

  • on Sun Feb 03, 2013 7:26 PM

As I worked through the sections, I noticed that some questions required more than 1 correct answer. I was wondering why my responses would have an 'x' and '/' mark. I needed to find another right answer. Overall, this is an awesome resource to review and reinforcement energy transformations. I especially enjoyed the audio dialog; this benefits students requiring assistance in reading. Examples were awesome because they included diagrams to assist visual learners. I enjoyed the interesting facts boxes as an additional resource. I feel that this resource would be appropriate for regular or students requiring modifications since some students are aware of other types of energy and this section emphasizes on kinetic and potential energy.

Euvelyn Calma
Euvelyn Calma

  • on Thu Sep 22, 2011 6:32 PM

Yes, I have to say I am not always a fan of physical science but I do enjoy getting new and improved information from websites. This is a great resource to help ME just like I assist students

Kendria J  (Dallas, TX)
Kendria J (Dallas, TX)

  • on Sun Sep 18, 2011 3:46 PM

This object was above-grade-level for my class. It was informative, but the most they could handle is a simple explanation that energy is never lost (universally or in a closed system), and that it transforms. An explanation of kinetic energy, potential energy, and the calculation of KE would be a bit much for them. Nice presentation but I would have also liked something I could more easily adapt to my grade level.

Consuelo Fajardo
Consuelo Fajardo

  • on Sun Mar 07, 2010 6:10 PM

Good information to know. I wish there was a certificate of completion I could add to my portfolio!

Melissa O  (Houston, TX)
Melissa O (Houston, TX)

  • on Sun Sep 11, 2011 1:56 PM

Interesting material but this resource does not enhance my kindergarten curriculum. As a professional development course I am less than pleased to spend my time on a subject and material that I am unable to use in my classroom. What relevance does this have to my kindergarten standards?

Rhonda Garmon
Rhonda Garmon


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