Lesson Plan

Potential And Kinetic Energy

Walk, sleep, run, eat! We're constantly using energy, whether we're moving or not. In this lesson, students learn how their bodies are constantly converting potential energy into kinetic energy and kinetic energy back to potential energy.
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What is energy? Where does energy come from? Help your young scientists answer these questions and more in this engaging physical science lesson plan. Geared toward children in first and second grade, this lesson introduces kids to the concepts of potential and kinetic energy. Through the use of charades, a hands-on worksheet, and plenty of examples, young science minds will gain comfort identifying and comparing potential energy use (i.e., energy at rest, such as sleeping) and kinetic energy use (i.e., moving energy, such as jumping).

Learning Objectives

Students will be able to differentiate between potential and kinetic energy. Students will be able to describe what causes potential energy to change into kinetic energy and vice versa.


(5 minutes)
Potential Versus Kinetic Energy
  • Begin the lesson by talking to your class about energy. Great discussion questions to introduce the topic are: What is energy? Where does energy come from? How many kinds of energy are there? What are the different kinds of energy?
  • Explain that energy is the ability to do work, and that energy comes from all sorts of sources, such as the sun, wind, petroleum, and the muscles inside our bodies.
  • Tell your students that today, they will be learning about the two kinds of energy: potential and kinetic.
  • Ask your students some questions to gauge their understanding of these kinds of energy. Good examples include: What is potential energy? What is kinetic energy? What is the difference between the two?*