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The Library will be closed Monday, November 12 for Staff Development Day.

We will reopen at 9:00 am Tuesday, November 13.  

Energy Experiment

Energy Experiment Instructions

Printable Instructions

You will Need:

  • A table
  • Two ramps: one short and one tall
  • A toy to slide down the ramps

Set Up:

  • Leave one section of the table clear.
  • Next to the blank space, set up the low ramp.
  • Next to the low ramp, set up the tall ramp.

What to Do:

  1. Put the toy on the flat surface. Notice whether or not it moves. The toy should remain still since it has no stored energy.
  2. Have the toy “climb” up the short side of the short ramp and stop at the top of the slide. The toy now has stored energy.
  3. Let go of the toy. Notice whether or not it moves. When it moves, it is using the stored energy. Stored energy has become used energy.
  4. Have the toy “climb” up the short side of the tall ramp and stop at the top of the slide. The toy now has stored energy.
  5. Let go of the toy. Notice whether or not it moves. When it moves, it is using the stored energy.

Observations:

  • The toy on the flat surface did not “climb”. It had no stored energy to use.
  • The toy on the low ramp “climbed” a short distance. It had a small amount of stored energy which it changed into used energy on its way down the ramp.
  • The toy on the steep ramp “climbed” a high distance. It had a lot of stored energy which it changed into used energy on its way down the ramp.

Extension:

  • Next time you go to a park try going down slides that are different heights. Do you store and use more energy on the tall slides or the short slides?
  • Make your own ramps using blocks, pillows, or odds & ends. You can make ramps from cutting boards on shoeboxes, baking trays on blocks, or even big books leaned on pillows. Experiment with different angles and different objects. Higher ramps let objects store more energy. The more potential energy an object has, the greater its kinetic energy.