MnSTEP Teaching Activity Collection > MnSTEP Activities > Exploring Work and Energy

Exploring Work and Energy

Alison Stortz, St. Agnes Schools, St. Paul, MN, based on an original activity in Holts Physics


Understanding the difference between pulling and lifting masses in terms of work and energy. This is an introductory activity, should only take about 15-20 minutes during a normal class period.

Learning Goals

Understanding the difference between work and energy in terms of pulling and lifting masses.

Context for Use

This activity works well with groups of 3 or 4, in a large classroom where the groups can spread out. The more room the better to preform this activity.

Subject: Physics:Classical Mechanics:Work and Energy
Resource Type: Activities:Lab Activity
Grade Level: High School (9-12)

Description and Teaching Materials

This is an introductory activity; it should be done before work and energy has been introduced.
Materials: force meter, masses, measuring device, a table

Exploring Work and Energy (Microsoft Word 23kB Aug25 09)

Teaching Notes and Tips

Have enough time to complete activity. Some groups will take longer than others.


This is a good way to start the unit, there is not real assessment as long as they know the difference between work and energy. And how they interact together.

Standards energy and work

References and Resources