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Forms of Energy: Potential and Kinetic Energy Transforming and Transferring

In this experiment, students build a paper ramp and use it investigate collisions between marbles. By letting a marble go at different heights you can see how both speed and impact change. By choosing different numbers of marbles you can see how much energy is transferred between the marbles. Throughout the investigation, students relate their findings to the marble’s kinetic and potential energies as well as other types of energy such as heat and sound. 


Concepts Addressed

  • Energy can be transferred into other types of energy.
  • Energy is not destroyed.
  • Energy is not created--it must come from somewhere.
  • Gravitational potential energy is related to kinetic energy of a falling object.


Materials Needed

marbles, cardstock, books for propping


Time Required

This lab takes about 30 mins, but with extensions can take longer.


Student Sheets

• Scaffolded writing prompts & lab reporting 


Related Labs   Motion and Newton's Laws

Forms of Energy: Potential and Kinetic Energy Transforming and Transferring


    Answer Keys and Teacher Notes address most questions and issues that might arise in this study—you shouldn’t have to do any outside research unless you want to.

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