Section 1: What is Energy?

What is Energy? Energy is the ability to do Work.

What is Work? Work is a force exerted on an object that causes it to move or change.

When ever we do work we are using energy. Energy is necessary to all stages of life and existence. Energy is EVERYWHERE. Let's take a closer look at what energy is and the types of energy.

Start by reading the section on "What is Energy?" and completing 2 Column Notes

The forms of Energy can be divided into 2 main categories; Kinetic and Potential.

Take a look at this video and learn the difference between Kinetic and Potential Energy.

Can you describe them in your own words?

Kinetic Energy is...

  • energy due to motion (think back to Forces and Motion)
  • the formula to calculate Kinetic Energy is KE = 1/2 * m * v^2
      • (where m = mass and v = velocity)

Potential Energy is...

  • energy stored up due to an object's position (gravitational) or shape (elastic)
  • the formula to calculate Gravitational Potential Energy is GPE = m * g * h
      • (where m = mass, g = gravity, and h = height)


  • Remember from our previous unit, what does m*g equal?
  • What would a shortened formula for GPE be?

For you music lovers who find that adding a beat helps you remember things; try watching this video.