Lesson Plan

Characteristics of Energy


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Big Ideas




Energy can be identified through many sources and forms. Its most common use is the day-to-day activities that are taken for granted. Students will:
  • identify energy sources such as radiant (or light), thermal (or heat), electrical, and chemical energy, and how they all derive from the Sun (or solar energy).

  • determine whether energy we see and experience is kinetic or potential and provide examples of both.

Essential Questions

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  • Energy: The ability to produce a change in matter or to do work. Work is defined as a force moving through a distance (e.g., pushing a rock off a cliff).

  • Kinetic Energy: The energy an object has while it is in motion.

  • Potential Energy: The energy an object has while it is at rest but could exhibit due to its place and condition (e.g., a rock sitting on a cliff ready to fall off).

  • Thermal Energy: Also called heat energy; the driving force behind everything we do from heating homes, cooking food, powering cars, creating electricity. We have natural and manmade heat sources.

  • Radiant Energy: Energy transferred by radiation, especially by an electromagnetic wave.

  • Electrical Energy:Energy made available by the flow of electric charge through a conductor.


120 minutes/ 2-3 class periods

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