What is Energy?

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In this exploratory activity, learners experiment, observe and determine how various toys change from one form of energy to another. Learners play with a pull-back race car, a groan tube, a popper, physics flyer, and balloon car to explore energy, its forms (heat energy, sound energy, etc.) and how it changes forms from potential to kinetic energy. This activity helps learners visualize the abstract concept of energy and apply it to everyday life. Note: the toys listed are recommended but you can use other toys or examples from the classroom or home as well.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
45 to 60 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$5 - $10 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan



  • Physical Sciences
    • Energy
      • Potential and Kinetic Energy
      • Energy and Power
    • Motion and Forces
      • Gravity
      • Rotation Motion
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Formulating Explanations

Informal Categories

  • Toys


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



  • All rights reserved, Little Shop of Physics, 2009