Forms of Energy

Contributor: Roxann Penny. Lesson ID: 12827

What do a rock, the sun, a weasel, the earth, the sounds you hear and the food you eat, and your body, all have in common? They contain energy! Learn about the different kinds of energy and their use!



learning style
personality style
Grade Level
Intermediate (3-5)
Lesson Type
Dig Deeper

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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This fiery mass in the picture above is an abundant source of energy.

  • What is it?

Energy is a bit of a mystery.

After all, the entire universe is made up of energy, but in many instances you can't see it or even taste it. Instead, you can only see what it does.

Scientists define energy as the ability to do work. This does not mean that energy goes to work the same way people do. Instead, think of energy as the ability to create change or to cause motion.

When scientists refer to energy as doing work, they actually mean the ways in which energy can be transformed from one type of energy to another.

For example, electricity can be generated from sunlight using solar cells in panels on rooftops. Also, nuclear power plants produce heat from special fuels to power generators. These generators, in turn, help produce electricity that people can use.

There are different forms of energy. Each form works in different ways. In this lesson, you will briefly explore five different forms of energy and how they work. Take a look at the following interactive to learn about these five forms:

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Energy cannot be created or destroyed, but it can be transformed into something else. There are many forms of energy, including electric, thermal, sound, kinetic, and potential energy. Without energy, we would not be able to do anything.

Continue to the Got It? section to complete an activity that will help you practice identifying the five forms of energy discussed in this section.

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