Text Box: 8th Grade Science 
Transformation of Energy
Text Box: Welcome to the Bayard Middle School eighth grade science web site. This site was prepared by Ms. Irene Baron using materials supplied by the Delaware Department of Education through the Science Coalition -Science Van Project.  The course content meets the national and state science education standards.  Students using this site will be better prepared to understand the topics presented in the class room.  

Why Devote an Entire Unit to 
the Properties of Energy?

Energy is arguably the most fundamental quantity in all of science.  It is responsible for changes that take place in all physical and biological systems.  

Using our knowledge of energy, we can identify the relationships among important variables within a system.   The factors that initiate change can be identified, and the effects that result can be explained using energy concepts.  

There are three fundamental properties of energy and roughly eight forms of energy that need to be understood to analyze all of the systems studied by scientists and engineers.  We will address the three fundamental properties of energy and the properties of four out of the eight energy forms in this unit.  

The greatest value of this unit will materialize when students study physical and biological systems in subsequent units.  Energy will serve as a thread that links the components of all of the earth systems.  Long before these students are prepared to learn the details of the forces of interaction, they will use energy concepts to identify the interrelationships within a system, and the factors that influence these relationships.

Energy Transfer and Energy Transformation : How Are They Different?
It is easy to confuse energy transfers with energy transformations, and visa versa.  Part of the reason is that the words sound so much alike, but the biggest reason is that they usually both occur at the same time.  Trying to sort out which is which can be confusing.  The best approach is to treat them as separate phenomena.  We can think of them as being two different occurrences, even if they happen at the same time. 

Energy Transfer
Energy transfer occurs when one object either gives energy to another object. If you want to know if an energy transfer has taken place, ask yourself this question:  Did energy get passed from one object to another object? Donít worry about what kinds of energy are involved.  Just ask yourself did energy move from one object to another?  If it did, we say that energy was transferred, or that an energy transfer took place.

Energy Transformation
Energy transformation takes place when energy is changed from one form to another.  If you want to know if an energy transformation has taken place, ask yourself:  Has any energy changed from one form to another form?  Has kinetic energy (KE) been changed into heat energy?  Has gravitational potential energy (GPE) been changed into kinetic energy?  Has kinetic energy been changed into gravitational potential energy?   If any of these changes have taken place, energy has changed forms, so energy has been transformed.
Knowing about energy transfers and energy transformations helps us to better understand how energy flows whenever a change occurs, and how this flow influences the objects involved.

The energy transformations of the pendulum are studied in Activity #4. Students learn about Gravitational Potential Energy and Kinetic Energy by using a pendulum made from a 2-liter bottle of water suspended from the ceiling.


Mrs. Irene Baron


For information contact web designer Irene Baron:† baroni@christina.k12.de.us