Conservation of Energy

Analyze 9 examples of Conservation of Energy

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conservation of energy worksheet

Light & Energy Unit Study

MatchCard Science Conservatioh of Energy Worksheett

Objective: Give examples of of the conservation of energy.

MatchCard: Downloads below.

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This is MatchCard #17 of the Light & Energy Unit Study. Find more information on MatchCard Science below.

The Law of Conservation of Energy

In a closed system, energy cannot be created or destroyed. Energy can be changed from one form to another.

Energy Transformation

One type of energy can be converted to another type of energy. In this lesson, we will learn about several types of energy transformation. But there are many more that you can find all around you.

Energy Sources

You cannot “create” energy. But you can change energy from another form. A windmill is an example of an energy source that takes kinetic energy and turns it into electrical energy. A physicist studies energy in order to calculate the amount of energy in the new form.

Examples of Conservation ot Energy on the MatchCard

Kinetic to Thermal

hands rubbing together diagram

Before showing the MatchCard, rub your hands together. Ask the student what form of energy you are demonstrating (kinetic.) Have the students rub their hands vigorously for several seconds. Ask what they feel (heat.)

The kinetic energy of your hands was changed to thermal energy.

Nuclear to Electromagnetic

star diagram

In MatchCard #15 Fusion and Fission we learned that hydrogen atoms are fused together in a nuclear reaction on the sun and stars. That produces electromagnetic radiation which you learned about in MatchCard #13.

Wow! Imagine being a physicist and trying to calculate that amount of energy. Obviously, they have to do it from a distance.

Electromagnetic to Chemical

leaf diagram

If you have done the MatchCard Science Botany Unit Study you will have learned in MatchCard #6 about photosynthesis. Even if you haven’t, I’m sure you know that plants need light. The farmers would not be able to grow crops if the light of the sun was blocked and you would die without the nutrients in the food. That is because electromagnetic radiation (in the form of visible light) provides energy to allow the plants to produce chemical reactions. No sunlight, no nutritious chemicals for you. Put the Electromagnetic to Chemical piece on your MatchCard.

Sound to Electrical

brain listening to music diagram

Surprise the student(s) by turning on music or dropping something or making noise. What happened? The energy produced by the sound waves reached your ear. But how did your brain know about that? When the sound waves hit your ear, electrical signals were transmitted from your ear to your brain. Different pitches of sound stimulate different electrical currents.

Electrical to Sound

CD player diagram

This is the opposite of the example above. What causes the sound from your CD or radio or TV? Electrical signals, of course.

Chemical to Kinetic

apple diagram

We talked about the nutrition in food that is produced in the plant. What happens to those chemicals after you eat them? The chemicals are used inside the cell to do different things, but one of the most important is movement. Your muscle cells change the chemicals from the food into kinetic energy. That’s why you are hungry for a snack after you have done a lot of work.

Electrical to Thermal


Cooking uses thermal energy to cause a chemical reaction in the food.

Nuclear to Electrical

nuclear reactor plant diagram

Nuclear power plants produce electrical energy for a community. This is by the fission of large atoms as you learned about in MatchCard #15

Chemical to Thermal

camp fire

Combustion is a chemical reaction in which a flammable object burns in the presence of oxygen. Chemical energy is converted to thermal energy.

Teacher's Note: Nuclear Energy

With most of the seven different types of energy, we have provided at least one example of it being the source of energy and the product of energy transformation. The exception is nuclear energy. While nuclear energy is the source for other types of energy, it is not within the range of normal conditions on Earth that nuclear energy is created. Of course, on the sun you can say that thermal energy is converted to nuclear energy which is converted to electromagnetic energy.

This demonstrates how the sun is the source of all energy on our planet. Solar energy panels directly convert to the sun's rays to usable energy. But most other forms go through other conversions.

Supplemental Activities

Name that Energy Transfer

How many other forms of energy transfer you can think of? Make a list. Perhaps on a long car trip you can identify different types of energy and energy transfer that you see out the window.

Energy Dot to Dot Game

Did you notice that in some examples a type of energy that is produced becomes the source of another energy transformation. Make a game whereby one person lists an energy transformation, and the next person has to list another transformation starting with energy produced in the previous turn.

Use MatchCard #16: Types of Energy as a visual reminder of the different types of energy you can use.

Students have 30 seconds to come up with the next example.

Super Challenge: They have to start at the beginning and recite all the previous examples in the correct order.

Energy Curse

A fun book you might get at the library is Math Curse by Jon Scieszka. It is the story of a student who starts to go bananas as she sees all the world as math problems. At the end she escapes her dilemna of seeing all the world mathematically, and is presented with the dilemna of seeing all the world as a science problem. Perhaps you can write a sequel, by viewing the world as a series of energy problems.

Discussion: Things to Know & Note

1st Law of Thermodynamics

This is a famous formula based on the Law of Conservation of Energy. It states that the amount of change of energy in a system is equal to the energy supplied minus the amount of work done. It could be written this way:
Energy supplied to a system - Work done = Change in amount of energy

Perpetual Motion Machine

According to the Law of Conservation of Energy AND the 1st Law of Thermodynamics, there can never be a perpetual motion machine (a machine that runs without someone supplying energy.) Many people have tried to invent a perpetual motion machine but none have been successful. How would you like it if you could be the first person to invent such an impossibility? If you could make on contribution to the field of energy and physics, what would you l ike it to be?

MatchCard Science

How To Use MatchCards


MatchCards make science concepts and corresponding vocabulary interactive. As students move the information pieces on the MatchCards they review the material they have already learned.

Download the FREE MatchCard Science Instructor's Guide and see how MatchCards can make building their science knowledge base fun.

Light and Energy Unit Study

Light & Energy Unit Study Cover

Kids will be energized to learn more about how the world works as they learn about light, magnetic energy, heat energy, electrical energy, thermal energy, kinetic energy and more. .

Download the entire Light and Energy unit study.

12 Science Unit Studies

MatchCard Science Cover

Chemistry is only one of twelve complete unit studies for kids in 3rd to 8th grade.

Comprehensive objectives, hands-on projects, suggested science fair experiments, and the fun game-like MatchCards keep them interested in learning science. See all twelve MatchCard Science Unit Studies.

Ready To Use Resources

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