What are potential and kinetic energy?

Energy has two functional categories potential and kinetic. Energy in an object that could be doing something is called potential or stored energy. Energy in an object that is doing something is known as kinetic, or movement energy.

We use lots of different words for kinetic energy. We call it sound when kinetic energy travels in waves through matter; heat when it increases the movement of atoms and molecules in objects; and mechanical when we actually see it move an object such as a bouncing ball. These are really all the same thing, kinetic energy or movement energy.

Play Quarked Catcher and Shape Sleuth to use kinetic energy in the form of a moving ball to explore the shape of objects.

Potential Energy        Kinetic Energy.

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