Energy Science Learning Community

Bouncing Balls

Grade Level:

Grade 9

State Standards:

Essential Question:

Lesson Question:

How does the mass of the ball affect both the kinetic and potential energy of the ball?


You already have knowledge of:


Objectives: After conducting this lab, you will be able to

Lesson Experiences:

  1. Before you begin, you should have already taken notes on Potential Energy (PE) and Kinetic Energy (KE) and The Law of Conservation.

  2. In this lesson, you will begin with an opener on Newton’s Cradle. A real Newton's Cradle may be used or try this Virtual Newton's Cradle.
    Wikimedia Commons - Newton's Cradle Animation

    Question: Will Newton’s Cradle ever stop? Why or why not?

    As a class we will discuss answers and debate with one another.

  3. You will then watch
    Bill Nye video clip on bowling ball pendulum (2 min).

  4. The teacher should tie this video into the opener about Newton's cradle.

  5. After a brief discussion on Bill Nye video, you will complete pre-lab questions

  6. Once pre-lab questions are checked by the teacher, you may complete your lab.


  1. Your teacher will determine the lab groups.
    Three students to a group works best with this lab.
    Groups may choose their ball of choice.
    Multiple balls may be tested if time permits.

  2. It is recommended that multiple balls be used to create enough data for the class to analyze

  3. After the lab, the class will watch a cartoon clip on energy to further reinforce concepts from lab
    Cartoon clip on energy (4 min.)
    We will then discuss this clip as a class

  4. As homework or classwork, you should complete the homework worksheet.
    This will be graded or gone over orally during the next class meeting.

  5. See lab sheet for specific instruction under resources.

  6. See homework worksheet under resources.





Assessment Rubric

You will be able to... STRONG 5-4 GOOD 4-3 ADEQUATE 3-2 INADEQUATE 1-0 WEIGHTING
Explain the difference between PE and KE Accurately described difference between PE and KE Describe the difference between PE and KE but missed some points Did not accurately described difference between PE and KE Did not described difference between PE and KE 30%
You will be able to define what Conservation of Energy is Accurately described
Conservation of Energy
Conservation of Energy
but missed some points
Did not accurately described
Conservation of Energy
Did not described
Conservation of Energy
You will be able to follow lab directions Followed all the directions followed most of the directions followed a few directions did not follow directions 10%
Answer Pre and Post lab questions Accurately answered all pre and post lab questions Answered all of the pre and post lab questions with 80% accuracy Answered all pre and post lab questions with 60% accuracy Did not answer any of the pre and post questions or had less than 50% accuracy 10%
Work productively in a group Worked well with all team mates to achieve goals all the time Worked well with most team mates or most of the time   Did not work well with group or did not contribute to group work 10%
Actively participate in class discussions Actively participated in ALL of the class discussions Actively participated in most of the class discussions Participated in some of the class discussions but had to be called on Did not participate in class discussions 15%



  1. Projector and Computer/internet access
  2. Balls for lab
  3. Meter sticks
  4. Calculators
  5. Student Worksheets


Phet Simulation for Stage 2 activity