Grade Levels: 6-8, 9-12

Click to open and customize your own copy of the Potential Energy Lesson Plan.

This lesson accompanies the BrainPOP topic Potential Energy, and supports the standard of constructing arguments to support the concept of stored potential energy within a system of objects. Students demonstrate understanding through a variety of creative projects.

Step 1: ACTIVATE PRIOR KNOWLEDGE

Display a picture of a child on a swing, with an adult about to push it. Ask: What would make this swing move? Why? 

Step 2: BUILD BACKGROUND

  • Read aloud the description on the Potential Energy Topic Page
  • Play the Movie, pausing to check for understanding. 
  • Have students read one of the two Related Reading articles. Partner them with someone who read a different article to share what they learned with each other.

Step 3: APPLY
Students synthesize their ideas and express them through one or more of the following creative projects. They can work individually or collaborate.  

  • Make-a-Movie: Create a movie that documents an object’s change in position as its potential energy transforms into kinetic energy. 
  • Make-a-Map: Make a concept map that analyzes the transformation of an object’s stored potential energy into kinetic energy. 
  • Creative Coding: Code a comic that explains how stored potential energy transforms into kinetic energy, and different factors that impact an object’s potential energy. 

Step 4: REFLECT & ASSESS 

Reflect: After sharing creative projects with each other, students reflect on what they’ve learned about potential energy.  Prompt them by asking questions such as: 

  • What factors impact an object’s potential energy? 
  • How might you change an object’s potential energy? 

Assess: Wrap up the lesson with the Potential Energy Challenge.

Step 5: EXTEND LEARNING

Continue exploring energy concepts with BrainPOP’s Energy Unit

 

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments

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