SciGen Teacher Dashboard

Unit E1

Potential and Kinetic Energy

Unit E1 Focus Words

Access Student Page (includes Focus Words list and slides for the unit)potential energy

noun – the energy an object has because of its relative position

What objects around you have potential energy?

kinetic energy

noun – the energy of motion

The kinetic energy of falling water can grind wheat into flour, saving human effort. Can you think of something else powered by kinetic energy?


noun – the force slowing the motion of objects due to interactions along their surfaces

Do you think there is more friction with a steel wheel on a train track or with a rubber tire on asphalt?


noun – the quantity of motion of a moving body (mass x velocity)

How does a roller coaster’s momentum enable it to climb hills and complete loops?


noun – the speed in a certain direction

Explain a situation in which velocity changes even though speed stays constant.


noun – the rate of change of velocity per unit of time

A roller coaster train accelerates as it descends. Why?


noun – a force that acts between all masses, pulling them together

Everything that has mass has a gravitational field. Why is Earth’s gravity the most obvious to us?


noun – the property of matter by which things continue their current motion (either going straight at the same speed or staying still), unless a force acts upon them

More massive things tend to have more inertia. Can you think of an example?

This project was supported by Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation initiative dedicated to engaging everyone with the process of science.

Word Generation by SERP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Strategic Education Research Partnership

1100 Connecticut Ave NW Suite 1310 • Washington, DC 20036 • (202) 223-8555