Vernier Software & Technology

# Driving with Energy

## Introduction

People get energy from the food they eat. Energy also comes in other forms, like the electricity that allows us to turn on lights and heat water. Energy comes from different sources, but did you know that most energy, no matter what it is used for or where it comes from, can be classified as either potential energy or kinetic energy? Let’s take a look at these two types of energy.

Energy waiting to be released is called potential energy. Objects with only potential energy aren’t in motion, but could be soon. Objects in motion have energy called kinetic energy. Energy can change from potential to kinetic and back again. For example, when you are at the top of a roller-coaster ride, the car is barely moving, but it is so high off the ground it has a lot of potential energy. That means it has the potential to gain speed when it goes down the hill. As it descends, potential energy is converted to kinetic energy. At the bottom, when the roller coaster is moving the fastest, the potential energy has been converted into kinetic energy. Kinetic energy is then converted back to potential energy as it climbs back up the hill. When the ride ends and stops moving at the bottom, it contains neither potential nor kinetic energy.

In this activity, a toy car will be pulled back a certain distance, giving it a certain amount of potential energy. The distance your toy car travels will be an indicator of how much kinetic energy it has.

## Objectives

In this activity, you will

• Vary the amount of potential energy in a toy car.
• Use Go!Motion to measure the movement of a toy car.
• Define kinetic and potential energy.

## Sensors and Equipment

This experiment features the following Vernier sensors and equipment.

### Option 2

You may also need an interface and software for data collection. What do I need for data collection?

## Elementary Science with Vernier

See other experiments from the lab book.

 1 Learning to Use Go!Temp 2 How Do Mittens Keep You Warm? 3 Baggie Mittens 4 The Sole Purpose 5 Cool Reaction! 6 Cold as Ice 7 Are We Cool or What? 8 Why Do We Need Thermometers? 9 Celsius or Fahrenheit. What's the Difference? 10 Getting it Just Right! 11 The Temperature Probe Spends the Night 12 Hold Everything! Comparing Insulators 13 Keepin' it Cool! Design Your Own Thermos 14 I'm Melting! Water Changes States 15 Solid, Liquid, Gas: Water Can Do it All! 16 Learning to Use the Pressure Sensor 17 Get a Grip! 18 Under Pressure 19 Bubbles in Your Bread 20 Learning to Use Go! Motion 21 e-Motion 22 Batty About Science 23 Spring into Action! 24 Air Ball! 25 Driving with Energy 26 Weigh Station - All Trucks Stop! 27 Learning to Use the Force Sensor 28 Lift the Load 29 What a Drag! 30 Oh! My Aching Back! How Ramps Make Lifting Easier 31 Learning to Use the Light Probe 32 Distance From the Sun 33 Summer and Winter 34 Sunshine on My Shoulders 35 Reflectivity of Light 36 Learning to Use the Magnetic Field Sensor 37 Exploring the Poles 38 Making Magnets 39 Electromagnets 40 Learning to Use the Voltage Probe 41 Are All Batteries the Same? 42 Stacked Batteries 43 All Worn Out! P1 Weather Stations

### Experiment 25 from Elementary Science with Vernier Lab Book

#### Included in the Lab Book

Vernier lab books include word-processing files of the student instructions, essential teacher information, suggested answers, sample data and graphs, and more.