Exploring Kinetic and Potential
Energy at the Skate Park
Skate Park Energy
Authentic Learning Project
Students will be exploring kinetic
energy, friction, and potential energy
through an interactive simulation.
They will build ramps for a skater to
view how speed and mass affects his
energy and motion.
6.P.2.1. Students are able to describe how push/pull
forces acting on an object produce motion.
6.P.3.1. Students are able to identify types of energy
− 1a. apply existing knowledge to generate new
ideas, products, or processes.
− 1d. identify trends and forecast possibilities.
− 4c. collect and analyze data to identify solutions
and/or make informed decisions.
With this lesson, students will learn how to
develop a hypothesis. They will need to form a
hypothesis of what they believe their skater's
energy will be based on the track, mass, and
speed. For this assignment, the students will be
using a simulation. Not only does this give
them an idea of how professionals form
hypothesis and test ideas, but the
skateboarding simulation is relevant to a
student's leisure activities at a skate park.
Learners will Experiment
Students will use the following website
This simulation will allow students to use technology to design
and experiment with friction, energy, speed, and mass.
Students will first be testing out the given tracks in the
introduction part of the simulation. After forming their
hypothesis about how the energy will change based on
different variables, students will design their own skating track.
They will need to use knowledge they have gained to design
a successful track for their skater. After their design, they will
push the play button of the simulator to experiment with their
track. This will allow them to check their hypothesis on what
potential and kinetic energy of an object depend on.
To display their results, students will create an
Excel spreadsheet. This spreadsheet will list
their observations during the experiment. It will
− The kinetic and potential energy of the skater
when the height/mass changed four different
− The change in kinetic and potential energy when
the speed was at zero, at one-fourth of the dial
and at one-half of the dial.
Students will need the following materials:
− Paper and pencil to record observations
− Excel Spreadsheet
Students will be able to understand how
push/pull forces affect an object's motion
Students will be able to identify types of energy
transformations from kinetic to potential
Students will understand how changing the
track friction, speed, and mass of the skater will
Students will first open the Energy Skate Park
They will begin by forming a hypothesis on how
mass and speed will affect changes in kinetic
and potential energy.
Next, they will experiment with the introduction
part of the simulation, before attempting to
create their own track under the 'track
Instruction Procedures Cont...
After, creating their own track and experimenting with its
effectiveness, the students will start to record their
First, they will record the changes in the kinetic and
potential energy when the mass of their skater changed
four different times. The mass can be changed on the
Second, they will record the changes in the kinetic and
potential energy when the speed was at zero, one-fourth
of the dial, and at one-half of the dial.
The results will be recorded in an Excel spreadsheet.
Student learning would be measured based on
the Excel Spreadsheet the student turned in. I
would be looking to see if the student could
accurately identify that the kinetic and potential
energy decreased as the skater's mass
decreased. I would also be looking to see if the
student's answers showed that at zero speed
their was no kinetic energy, and as the speed
increased the potential energy decreased and
the kinetic energy increased.