**Camille Gales - Edward Coles Elementary School**
**Potential Energy: How is It Related to Kinetic Energy?**

Camille Gales Edward Coles Elementary School

8441 S. Yates Boulevard

CHICAGO IL 60617

(773) 535-6550

**Objective(s)**:

This is an integrated primary level math and science experience designed to

demonstrate the relationship between potential energy and kinetic energy. The

greater the input of potential energy (altitude of the ramp), greater the

output of kinetic energy (distance traveled). The steeper the ramp the

greater the distance an object will travel (roll).

**Materials Needed**:

matchbox toy cars, a ramp with an altitude of 3 centimeters and a length of 28

centimeters, a ramp with an altitude of 6 centimeters and a length of 28

centimeters, a ramp with an altitude of 12 centimeters and a length of 28

centimeters, masking tape, a smooth flat surface, centimeter tapes or meter

sticks

**Strategy**:

Place the ramps on the floor or other smooth flat surface. Place the tapes or

meter sticks at the end of the ramps. Place each car at the top of the ramp

and release it. Measure the distance the car travels. Do three trials for

each of the three ramps. Record the results.

**Performance Assessment**:

Primary level children: develop a chart that shows each trial run for the car (a

column for ramp height beside the column for distance traveled), develop a bar

graph for each ramp to display the results, explain the relationship between the

altitude of the ramp and the distance traveled by the car, accurately state that

the unit of measure being used is centimeters.

Intermediate and upper level children: average the results of the three trials,

interpret the results in terms of the relationship between the slope of the

angle of the ramps and the distance traveled, develop charts and graphs to

organize and display the data

**Conclusions**:

The cars released from the ramp with the altitude of 12 centimeters should

travel the greatest distance. When the altitude of the ramp is doubled the

distance traveled should also double demonstrating that there is a direct

relationship between the altitude of the ramp (potential energy) and distance

traveled (kinetic energy).

**References**:

**Physics:Its Methods and Meaning**. Alexander Taffel. Allyn and Bacon, 1986.

**Primary Science Curriculum Guide** Chicago Board of Education, 1979.

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