# 20 Hands-On Potential and Kinetic Energy Activities for Middle School

Engaging middle school students in hands-on activities that help them understand the concepts of potential and kinetic energy can be a challenge. However, with a little creativity, educators can create memorable learning experiences that allow students to explore these topics in a fun and interactive way. Here are 20 potential and kinetic energy activities for middle school students that are sure to get them excited about science.

1. Balloon Rockets: Use balloons to propel paper rockets across the room. Students will gain an understanding of how potential energy is converted into kinetic energy.

2. Balloon Poppers: Create a simple device with a rubber band and a drinking straw that will pop a balloon when released.

3. Roller Coaster Races: Design and create a cardboard roller coaster. Use marbles to race down the track and watch as potential energy is converted into kinetic energy.

4. Water Bottle Rockets: Create a homemade rocket launcher out of an empty water bottle and launch an empty water bottle across the room.

5. Egg Drop: Construct a parachute or other contraption to protect a raw egg from breaking when dropped from a certain height.

6. Catapult Challenge: Create a catapult out of a ruler, rubber bands, and a spoon. Use different objects to test how far the catapult can launch them.

7. Paper Airplane Challenge: Design and build the best paper airplane. Have students time how long their plane can stay in the air and discuss potential vs. kinetic energy.

8. Paper Towel Roll Races: Create a race track with paper towel rolls and race toy cars down the track.

9. Rube Goldberg Machine: Design a Rube Goldberg machine that can complete a simple task. Discuss how potential energy is used to make the machine work.

10. Mousetrap Car Challenge: Create a mousetrap car with a mousetrap, wood, and wheels. Design the car to travel the furthest distance.

11. Wind Turbine Challenge: Create a wind turbine out of a plastic bottle, straws, and a motor. Test the wind turbine to see how much energy it produces.

12. Egg Hitting Contest: Use eggs and a device to challenge students to see who can launch an egg the farthest.

13. Marble Run Challenge: Create a marble run with paper towel rolls and tape. See how long it takes for the marble to go from the top to the bottom.

14. Popsicle Stick Pendulum: Create a pendulum out of popsicle sticks and a weight. Predict how long it will take the pendulum to swing a certain number of times.

15. Kinetic Collage: Gather interesting items and provide students with glue, tape, and construction paper. Have students arrange the items in a way that represents potential and kinetic energy.

16. Bottle Cap Launcher: Create a bottle cap launcher with a rubber band and a ruler. Experiment with different materials to see which ones fly the farthest.

17. Paper Bag Launcher: Create a launcher out of a paper bag and a piece of cardboard. Discuss the potential and kinetic energy created by the launcher.

18. Bean Bag Toss: Create a bean bag toss game with a bucket and a few bean bags. Have students calculate the distance their bean bag traveled and discuss the potential and kinetic energy involved.

19. Cardboard Box Maze: Create a maze out of cardboard boxes and have students navigate the maze. Discuss how potential and kinetic energy can help them get through the maze faster.

20. Wind Generator Challenge: Create a wind generator out of a fan, a cup, and a paper clip. Have students measure the voltage produced by the generator and discuss the potential and kinetic energy involved.

By engaging students in hands-on activities that help them explore potential and kinetic energy, educators can help them gain a greater understanding of these concepts. These 20 potential and kinetic energy activities for middle school students are sure to get them excited about science.