Turn cardboard into a marble race track as a fun way to introduce the law of conservation of energy and energy transformations. Can students predict what will make their marble go further? Who will go the distance?
Energy is everywhere and it changes from one form to another. Let’s explore how the gravitational energy of a marble changes to kinetic energy as it travels down a cardboard track.
Energy is the ability or capacity to do work. Energy makes change possible. It is the power or ability to make things happen.
The marble run involves two forms of energy – gravitational energy and kinetic energy.
The gravitational energy in the marble will depend on the height of the starting point of the marble run and the size of the marble. As the marble starts to move and the energy changes from gravitational energy to kinetic energy, the distance the marble travels will depend on the design of the ramp and the friction involved.
Some energy may be lost due to friction and heat energy.
The law of conservation of energy states that energy cannot be created or destroyed but can be changed. In the marble run activity, students identify the forms of energy and are introduced to the law of conservation of energy.