What IS Energy?

We have been developing the energy model over the past week. Today, the best thing ever happened: I heard “what is energy?” from three different people, and heard three different answers. To a colleague, energy is the ability to do work. To a middle school student, energy is a property of things that allows them to change how they are. To a high school student, energy is a quantity represented by the area on a force-distance graph that may change between gravitational, kinetic, spring, thermal, and other forms.

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In fact, the success of this energy model makes me want to take a detour into our thermal physics unit. However, in order to spread out the workload for the Higher Level students, I think we will look next at projectile and circular motion.

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Today’s whiteboards come from the inductions of the kinetic and gravitational energy forms.

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