Kinetic vs. Potential Energy Online Lab and Inquiry Activity


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Using PhET simulations, students explore the relationship of kinetic and potential energy in a closed system. Students become aware of the Law of Conservation of Energy and also experiment with friction.

The original version of this lab uses the following web page:


However, PhET has created a new and improved version of this sim available here:


This resource includes student pages for BOTH simulations which you choose between or use as differentiation.

The original sim has 3 parts:

  • Introduction (no friction)
  • Friction (with friction)
  • Playground (free play)


The updated sim has 4 parts:

  • Introduction (with and without friction, based on settings)
  • Measure (worksheet incorporates a math portion)
  • Graphs
  • Playground (free play)


Both versions of this lab also come with answer keys and digital versions using Google Slides.




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