Vernier Software and Technology
Vernier Software & Technology

Work and Kinetic Energy

Figure from experiment 13 from Physics Explorations and Projects


The goal of this activity is for students to determine the relationship between work done on an object and the resulting change in kinetic energy.

In the Preliminary Observations, students observe the speed of an object that has had work performed on it. A cart on a track pushed by hand can be an effective initial observation, as well as the use of a human dynamics cart. For the next phase of the Preliminary Observations, modify the amount of work being done on the object, and observe the change how it moves. We recommend that this be done as a whole-class activity.

During the subsequent inquiry process, students may use a motion detector, a Motion Encoder, or a Go Direct Sensor Cart to collect data for a cart on a level track. There are a variety of methods for varying the work input and measuring the kinetic energy of the cart system.

Students should finish the activity having evaluated data graphically and developed a model of the relationship between work and change in kinetic energy.

Learning Outcomes

  • Design and perform an investigation.
  • Draw a conclusion from evidence.
  • Identify that the work done on a system is equal to the change in kinetic energy.

Sensors and Equipment

This experiment features the following Vernier sensors and equipment.

Option 1

Option 2

Option 3

Option 4

Option 5

Additional Requirements

You may also need an interface and software for data collection. What do I need for data collection?

Next Generation Science Standards

Disciplinary Core Ideas

  • PS3.A Definitions of Energy
  • PS3.B Conservation of Energy and Energy Transfer
  • PS3.C Relationship Between Energy and Forces

Crosscutting Concepts

  • Cause and Effect
  • Systems and System Models
  • Energy and Matter

Science and Engineering Practices

  • Developing and Using Models
  • Planning and Carrying Out Investigations
  • Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking
  • Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions

Physics Explorations and Projects

See other experiments from the lab book.

1Constant Motion and Changing Motion
2Balanced Forces and Unbalanced Forces
3Gravitation on Earth
4Newton’s Second Law
5Projectile Challenge
6Impulse and Momentum
7Equilibrium of Forces
8Circular Motion
9Conservation of Momentum
10Egg Protection Challenge
11Springs Making Things Move
12Kinetic Energy and Mass
13Work and Kinetic Energy
14Work Done by Gravity
15Energy in Collisions
16Rube Goldberg Machine
17Charge and Charge Models
18Coulomb's Law
19Measuring Electric Current
20Conservation of Charge
21Voltage in a Circuit
22Battery Challenge
23Magnetic Field of a Current
24Current from a Changing Field
25Generating Electricity
27Wave Speed on a String
28Speed of Sound
29Interference and Diffraction
30Sound and Loudness
31Wave Communication Challenge
32Energy Storage in Capacitors
34Heat as Energy Transfer
35Solar Cells
36Rube Goldberg Machine Revisited

Experiment 13 from Physics Explorations and Projects Lab Book

<i>Physics Explorations and Projects</i> book cover

Included in the Lab Book

Vernier lab books include word-processing files of the student instructions, essential teacher information, suggested answers, sample data and graphs, and more.

Buy the Book

Dev Reference: VST0759

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