August 17th, 2016

In this lesson, students revisit the writing they did at the beginning of the unit to add in more details and demonstrate all that they have learned about energy.

3.7 Swinging

3.7 — Energy: Swinging Higher

App Features

Note that the Playground Physics app is not required for this lesson.

Materials and Prep

  • Worksheet: Energy: Swinging – Part I (Pass back out students’ completed worksheets from the first lesson.)
  • Worksheet: Energy: Around the World

Expected Activity Time

  • Total Activity Time: 45 minutes
  • Introduction: 10 minutes
  • Investigation: 20 minutes
  • Discussion: 10 minutes


Introduction (10 minutes)

  • Remind students that as a class you have been investigating the question “How can I describe the energy involved with swinging?”
  • Pass back to students the worksheets that you collected from them during the first lesson, Energy: Swinging – Part I.
  • Have students read what they wrote for the definitions of the vocabulary words and the explanation of swinging on their worksheet at the beginning of the lesson.

Investigation (20 minutes)

  • Pass out the worksheet Energy: Swinging Higher
  • Allow students time to reflect on what they have learned and complete the worksheet.

Discussion (15 minutes)

  • Allow students to share how their ideas about the energy involved with swinging have changed since they first wrote their narratives.
  • Encourage students to share their reflections about the process of doing science. What do they feel they have learned about doing science from this investigation and through the use of the Playground Physics app?
  • As a class, revisit the Parking Lot of questions. Any questions remaining in the parking lot that have been answered can be removed. Any new questions that students have now that they know more can be added to the Parking Lot. Provide post-it notes and allow students to add any questions they have.
  • If students want to explore their remaining or new questions in more detail the Science Investigation lesson in the “Getting Started” section can be used to help structure these investigations.


Worksheet Previews

Screen Shot 2016-08-17 at 4.35.13 PM Screen Shot 2016-08-17 at 4.34.57 PM

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Big Idea

The purpose of this activity is to help students connect their initial lived experiences and ideas to their new knowledge about how physicists talk about energy.

The writing component of this lesson is designed as a formative assessment to show what students have learned about energy during the unit. Students should show an improvement in their abilities to describe kinetic energy and potential energy.

Learning Objectives

  • Students will be able to use their observations and analysis of the energy involved with swinging to expand on their previously written narrative.
  • Students will be able to accurately incorporate the vocabulary from this unit into their writing.
  • Students will be able to reflect on the process of doing science.

Standards Addressed


Science and Engineering Practices
Engaging in Argument from Evidence
Construct, use and present oral and written arguments supported by empirical evidence and scientific reasoning to support or refute an explanation or a model for a phenomenon.

Scientific Knowledge Is Based on Empirical Evidence
Scientific knowledge is based on logical and conceptual connections between evidence and explanation.

Range of Writing
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.WHST.6-8.10: Write routinely over extended timeframes (time for reflection and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of discipline-specific tasks, purposes and audiences.

English Language Arts: Writing
CCS.ELA-LITERCY.WHST.6-8.2: Write informative/explanatory texts, including the narration of historical events, scientific procedures/experiments or technical processes.

Text TypesandPurposes
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.6,7,8.1: Write argument to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.WHST.6-8.2.D: Use precise language
and domain-specific vocabulary to inform about or explain the topic.

Standard 1: Analysis, Inquiry and Design Beyond the use of reasoning and consensus, scientific inquiry invoices the testing of proposed explanations involving the use of conventional techniques and procedures and usually requiring considerable ingenuity.

Standard 2: Information Systems

Information technology is used to retrieve, process and communicate information, and as a tool to enhance learning.

PS 4.1a: All energy transfers are governed by the law of conservation of energy.

PS 4.1c: Potential energy is the energy an object possesses by virtue of its position or condition.

PS 4.1d: Kinetic energy is the energy an object possesses by virtue of its motion.

PS. 4.1e: Energy can be considered to be either kinetic energy, which is the energy of motion, or potential energy, which depends on relative position.


Speed is how fast an object is moving regardless of its direction.

Kinetic energy (KE) is the energy of an object in motion.

Potential energy (PE) is stored energy that an object has as a result of its vertical position.