The Work and Kinetic Energy Interactive is an adjustable-size file that displays nicely on smart phones, on tablets such as the iPad, on Chromebooks, and on laptops and desktops. The size of the Interactive can be scaled to fit the device that it is displayed on. The compatibility with smart phones, iPads, other tablets, and Chromebooks make it a perfect tool for use in a 1:1 classroom.


Teaching Ideas and Suggestions:

This Interactive provides the learner with a rich, interactive environment for investigating relationships between the force exerted on an object, the distance over which the force acts, and the speed and kinetic energy that the object acquires. There are three different options on the Main Menu: Putting On The Force, Another Angle on Force, and Putting On The Brakes. Putting On The Force provides a framework for investigating situations in which the Force is in the same direction that the object is moving. Another Angle On Force allows learners to exert the force at an angle to the direction the object moves, either at an upward angle or a downward angle. And Putting On The Brakes allows learners to investigate situations in which the force is applied in a direction opposite the motion. In all of thee options, learners can select a no-friction environment or an environment with friction. The value of the coefficient of friction can be modified. Learners can also modify the magitude of the force, the initial object speed, and the object mass. 

The simulation animates the motion. The motion can be paused, forwarded 1 frame, backed up one frame, or played through to the end. Values of position (relative to the starting location), speed, kinetic energy, and thermal energy are updated in real time. Once the animation has completed, students have the option of viewing a kinetic energy vs. speed plot, viewing a two-state bar chart that also lists the work done by the force exerted on the object, and using a scrubber to reverse the play-head to any position along the animationi to acquire values pertinent to their study. The plot of kinetic energy vs. speed is provided courtesy of Plotly and can be downloaded. Tools are included on the plot to zoon in, pan, select specific sections, auto-scale, etc.

We have provided two ready-to-use classroom activities for use with the simulation - Kinetic Energy and Work and Kinetic Energy. Each were designed to be used by teachers with their classes. We grant teachers the right to download and use the activities. They can also be placed on any password-protected class management site as a digital tool for use by students. We just request that they not be uploaded to a publicly-accessible sharing site. Our website should remain the sole source of the activities. 


Related Resources

There are numerous resources at The Physics Classroom website that serve as very complementary supports for the Work and Kinetic Energy Interactive. These include:
  • Minds On Physics Internet Modules:
    The Minds On Physics Internet Modules include a collection of interactive questioning modules that help learners assess their understanding of physics concepts and solidify those understandings by answering questions that require higher-order thinking. Assignments WE3, WE5, WE9, and WE10 of the Work and Energy module provide great complements to this Interactive. They are best used in the middle to later stages of the learning cycle. Visit the Minds On Physics Internet Modules.

  • Curriculum/Practice: Several Concept Development worksheets at the Curriculum Corner will be very useful in assisting students in cultivating their understanding, most notably ...

    Work-Energy Relationships

    Visit the Curriculum Corner.

  • Labwork: 
    Simulations should always support (never supplant) hands-on learning. The Laboratory section of The Physics Classroom website includes several hands-on ideas that complement this Interactive. Four notable lab ideas include ...

    Marble Energy Lab
    Marble Energy II Lab
    Work-Kinetic Energy Lab
    Stopping Distance Lab

    Visit The Laboratory.
  • Science Reasoning Activities:
    Science classrooms should be filled with reasoning activities. There is one very related activity in the Work and Energy section of the Science Reasoning Center that will challenge students to employ close reading, data analysis, and logical reasoning. The activity is named ...

    Hot Wheels Stopping Distance

    Visit the Science Reasoning Center.

Additional resources and ideas for incorporating Work and Kinetic Energy into an instructional unit on work and energy can be found at the Teacher Toolkits section of The Physics Classroom website.  Visit Teacher Toolkits.