Applied Science - Physics (2B)

  • Comparing and contrasting forms of energy.
  • Investigating different forms of energy.


  • energy
  • light
  • mechanical
  • sound

Students experience different ways to make energy.


We use energy to do work. Energy lights our cities. Energy powers our vehicles, trains, planes and rockets. Energy warms our homes, cooks our food, plays our music, gives us pictures on television. Energy powers machinery in factories. Energy is defined as "the ability to do work."

When we eat, our bodies transform the food into energy to do work. When we run or walk, we "burn" food energy in our bodies. When we think or read or write, we are also doing work. Cars, planes, trolleys, boats and machinery also transform energy into work.

The word energy is used in many different ways. In this lab we will look at how energy can be created by different ways.


  1. Discuss the meaning of energy. Emphasize that energy is difficult to describe but can be derived from many things. In this lab, students look at different "energy makers" and try to establish the type of energy they produce. This lab looks only at light, mechanical, and sound energy. This is only an introduction and students should not be expected to understand the physics of the items. Have students go to the appropriate stations.
  2. Light energy - Light energy is created when light is used. Solar batteries and solar heating create energy from light. There are differences between light energy and heat energy. Light does not always have to get hot; for instance, solar batteries.
  3. Mechanical energy - Simple machines create mechanical energy. It is energy created when it is physically easier to move an object.
  4. Sound energy - There is energy created when air molecules are disturbed. Ask students if sound can hurt your ear drums. Yes, loud noises can rupture the drum of your ear.
  1. Flip-flop top (mechanical/moves)
  2. Bells (sound/different tones)
  3. Prism (light/breaks up)
  4. Hand Lens (light/concentrates)
  5. Peeler (mechanical/lever)
  6. Radiometer (light/makes energy) [The vanes, or wings in the radiometer are alternately dark and light in color. When light strikes these wings, heat is transferred to each one, but not to the same degree. The light wings reflect the rays, and the dark wings absorbs the rays. When the freely moving particles of air inside the radiometer strike the light reflective vanes, they absorb very little energy and do not bounce off very fast. When the atoms strike the dark vanes, they absorb a great deal of energy and rotate at a terrific speed.]
  7. Force Machine (mechanical) [Pick up one ball and let it go - it will hit the other balls. The energy will go through the balls and release a certain amount of energy. For every action there is a equal and opposite reaction.]
  8. Puddle-jumper (mechanical/moves)

 [Back to Applied Science Grid] [Back to Physics (2)]