Illawarra Environmental Education Centre logo

Illawarra Environmental Education Centre

Illawarra Environmental Education Centre

Telephone02 4237 6100

Energy and Forces

Energy and Forces

Stage 3 - Physical world


Killalea State Park or an incursion to your school

Program overview

This program focuses upon the difference between contact and non-contact forces and how energy may be transformed from one form to another. Students will have the opportunity to investigate how electrical circuits can be used to control movement, sound and light within systems and circuits. This program will test a student’s ability to design, test and evaluate an electrical system which demonstrates energy transformations, developing their understanding of the relationship between force and energy.

Inquiry and focus questions

  • How can we make a force stronger or weaker?
  • What type of energy transformations may be observed?
  • How can electricity be used in a product or system?

Learning experiences  

Energy transformations in renewable energy devices

Students are introduced to the formation of electricity via the movement of a generator. Using small, handheld devices, they investigate different types of energy sources that can be utilized to move a generator and create electricity. Methods of capturing light to transfer the energy into heat will be demonstrated, investigated and applied to cook a tasty treat in a solar oven. A collection of renewable energy devices such as the pedal-powered light globes,  will be investigated to explore how they transfer energy from one source to another.

Electrical Circuits

Students are introduced to circuits, switches, conductors and insulators. Students will draw a basic circuit diagram that they will use to create an electrical system using a transformer, wires, batteries and globes. Students are able to conduct experiments looking at whether materials found in the classroom are insulators or  conductors and test a range of energy transformations present within electrical components to form a product or system.

Energy Transfer/Transformation - Rube Goldberg Machine

The Rube Goldberg machine challenge is an exciting activity where groups of students use their creativity and engineering skills and knowledge of energy transfers and transformations to design, test and evaluate an overly complicated machine that rings a bell.  Students will also investigate energy transfer inventions such as the ping pong shooter, magic rollback can and pringles race car. 

Key syllabus outcomes

Science K-6

S3- Physical World

A student:

  • Explores and describes some common contact and non contact forces
  • Explores the effects of changing the strength of a single contact or non-contact force
  • Identifies different types of energy transformations
  • Investigates how electricity can be transferred and transformed in electrical circuits
  • Investigate how electrical energy can control movement, sound or light
  • Design, test and evaluate a product or system that involves energy transformations

Related content