The Many Forms of Energy

A lesson and worksheet about the various forms of energy and how they work.



• Students will be able to define the term energy.

• Students will be able to distinguish among the different types of energy.

• Students will be able to give an example of how each type of energy works.

• Students will be able to define the terms potential energy and kinetic energy.

• Students will be able to give an example of potential energy and an example of kinetic energy.


Suggested Grades:

4th Grade - 5th Grade - 6th Grade

Lesson Procedure:

Print the reading comprehension worksheet passage and questions (see below).

Students should read the passage silently, then answer the questions. Teachers may also use the text as part of a classroom lesson plan.


Lesson Excerpt:

Energy is the ability of something to do work. When an object moves or a bulb lights up, it uses energy. When you cook food, do your homework or ride a bicycle, you use energy.

Energy is described by its source or the kind of work it does, and it comes in many different forms. Electrical energy is produced by the movement of electrons. It is the kind of energy that powers the appliances in your home. Batteries are one source of electrical energy. Chemicals in batteries react to produce electrons that travel along a path known as a closed circuit. When the electrons reach an object like a radio, they transfer energy to the radio so that it is able to operate. When the chemicals in a battery have all reacted, the battery can no longer produce energy, and it goes dead.

Thermal energy is the energy created by the heat-creating motion of atoms and molecules. You can tell how fast atoms and molecules are moving by the temperature of an object. When thermal energy is transferred from one object to another, heat is created. Heat always moves from the warmer object to the cooler one. It moves in a few different ways. When heat moves through an object without causing the object itself to move, the transfer is known as conduction. If you touch a warm object, the heat is transferred to you hand by conduction. When thermal energy is transferred by the movement of matter, it is called convection. This is how a stove heats a pot of water. Another way that heat is transferred is through radiation. This is heat transferred by electromagnetic rays; it's what happens when the rays of the sun warm the Earth.



Lesson Printables:

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