# Energy Skate Park Basics Energy Exploration

Contributor
Jessica Colonel, Hunter College
Type Category
Instructional Materials
Types
Activity , Simulation
Note
This resource, vetted by NSTA curators, is provided to teachers along with suggested modifications to make it more in line with the vision of the NGSS. While not considered to be "fully aligned," the resources and expert recommendations provide teachers with concrete examples and expert guidance using the EQuIP rubric to adapted existing resources. Read more here.

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## Description

This resource is a 6-page activity for students that will guide them through the use of the PhET simulation Energy Skate Park: Basics as they explore kinetic, potential, thermal and total energy. The activity guides students through three explorations and a culminating activity.  The explorations are about the relationship between speed, potential energy and kinetic energy, the relationship between mass and energy, and the role of friction in energy conversions. The culminating activity has students apply their knowledge to design a working loop-de-loop skater track.

Intended Audience

Learner
Educational Level
• Middle School
Language
English
Access Restrictions

Free access - The right to view and/or download material without financial, registration, or excessive advertising barriers.

#### Performance Expectations

MS-PS3-1 Construct and interpret graphical displays of data to describe the relationships of kinetic energy to the mass of an object and to the speed of an object.

Clarification Statement: Emphasis is on descriptive relationships between kinetic energy and mass separately from kinetic energy and speed. Examples could include riding a bicycle at different speeds, rolling different sizes of rocks downhill, and getting hit by a wiffle ball versus a tennis ball.

Assessment Boundary: none

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this performance expectation.

This activity specifically asks students to use information from the provided dynamic graphs to describe the relationships among mass, speed, height, kinetic energy and potential energy. In this activity, students do not construct their own graphs.

#### Science and Engineering Practices

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this science and engineering practice.

The guiding questions in this activity ask students to use information from the graphs provided to answer scientific questions about the relationships between variables. To give students an opportunity to reflect more deeply on the implications of the data they collect, and on their own explanations, have students work through the activity in pairs to create consensus explanations. Have them share their explanations during a whole-class discussion. Then have them work in small groups for the culminating activity of designing a roller coaster. Consider extending the activity to include an engineering design phase in which students actually build and test the roller coaster they design, using real objects, such as pipe insulation and marbles.

#### Disciplinary Core Ideas

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this disciplinary core idea, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

This activity does not define or describe what "kinetic energy", "potential energy" or "friction" actually are. A teacher will need to guide students to understanding of these vocabulary terms, through whole-class discussion, demos, and/or additions to the activity handout. This activity could be used either after students have had some experiences with these concepts, or as a jumping-off point for them. For example, after exploration phase #1, a teacher could pause for whole-class discussion, and ask students: "According to what the model is showing, what does kinetic energy seem to be related to? What does potential energy seem to be related to?" The idea about a change in motion energy always being linked to a change in other energy can also be brought to the fore during exploration #2 about friction. A teacher will need to add questions to the activity sheet, or have a class discussion, so as to make explicit the idea that information in column #4 ("What is happening to the energy levels?") shows a cause-effect relationship. Students may otherwise copy information from graphs without actually thinking about or noticing that a relationship exists.

#### Crosscutting Concepts

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this crosscutting concept, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.