Day 10: Energy Flavors

After setting up the big idea of energy conservation with Feynman’s blocks analogy, it was time to lay out a few types of energy—kinetic, gravitational interaction, elastic interaction, and thermal.

I’m pretty impressed by how students can reason their way to what each of these energy types must depend on just by simple thought experiments, like holding a bowling ball over one’s head, and imaging what happens to the energy (or pain one will feel upon getting hit) as you raise the ball. Students were able to see it also depends on an interaction with the earth when we posited what would happen if the earth were to suddenly disappear—then ball would no longer fall, and there shouldn’t be any interaction energy.

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About John Burk

The ramblings of a physics teacher.
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