Week 2 Interactive Activity
Energy Forms and Changes
Using a simulation, apply the scientific method to investigate how energy is transferred and changes from one form to another.
Before attempting the activity, read Chapters 3 and 4 of The Sciences. Completing the reading is important for you to be able to correctly apply the concepts of energy and heat to the experiments performed in this activity.
1. After completing the background reading for this assignment, go to the “Energy Forms and Changes” simulation on the PhET simulations website at: https://phet.colorado.edu/en/simulation/energy-forms-and-changes. Click the play arrow on the simulation graphic to run the web-based simulation or click DOWNLOAD to run the simulation locally on your device.
2. Experiment with the two components of the simulation – Intro and Systems. While experimenting, think about how the concepts of forms of energy, energy transfer, and energy conversion are being illustrated in the simulation.
a. Intro Simulation – In this simulation, explore how heating or cooling iron, brick, water, and olive oil adds or removes energy from the object. Place individually, or stack, the blocks and beakers on the stands. Slide the bar to heat or cool the object(s). Visualize the types, conversion, and transfer of energy in the system by selecting Energy Symbols in the upper right of the simulation screen. Visualize the temperature change of objects by dragging thermometers (upper left of the simulation screen) to the objects.
b. Systems Simulation – In this simulation, you can build your own energy system by choosing an energy source [options (4) in the lower left of the simulation screen], an energy converter [options (2) in the center of the simulation screen], and an energy user [options (4) in the lower right of the simulation screen] and observe how various forms of energy are transferred and change within the system. Visualize the types, conversion, and transfer of energy in the system by selecting Energy Symbols. Vary the amount of energy input to the system by the energy source by using the options provided with each of the energy sources.
3. After spending some time experimenting with the simulations, follow the steps below to conduct the experiments using the Systems Simulation. Before beginning, be prepared to write down your observations.
1. Create THREE different energy system setups to experiment with. Each setup must contain an energy source, an energy converter, and an energy user.
a. Each setup must have a different energy source and a different energy user
b. You must use different energy converters for two of the setups. (Note that there are only two types of energy converters.)
c. Before running each setup, write down a hypothesis, based on your current understanding after reading the background information for the activity, that predicts the types of energy conversions that will take place, and the transfer (flow) of energy in the system.
2. Run each of the setups by providing energy to the system from the source. Experiment with varying the rate of energy provided by the source.
3. For each system setup, tell a story of what is happening in the simulation by writing down, in very specific detail, your observations of the types of energy, transfer (flow) of energy, and conversions of energy taking place in the system as it runs. HINT: While running the simulation, select Energy Symbols to visualize the types of energy, how it is being transferred within the system, and how it is being converted from one form to another.
Address the following in recording your observations:
a. What forms of energy are contained in the energy source and the energy user?
b. What specific energy conversions are taking place within energy source and energy user?
c. What specific energy conversions are taking place within the converter as energy is transferred from the source to the user?
d. How do changes or adjustments made to the energy source affect the types, conversions, or transfer of energy within the system?
Based on your observations for all three system set ups, formulate some general results and conclusions for:
1. how the first law of thermodynamics was obeyed in terms of accounting for all the energy in the system, and
2. how the second law of thermodynamics was obeyed in terms of the direction of energy transfer in the system.
1. Create a document containing a report for your experimentation with the three system setups using these instructions:
a. For each system setup, develop a paragraph that includes:
i. a title that describes the system setup (source-converter-user)
ii. a clear and succinct presentation of your hypothesis.
iii. a clear and succinct presentation of your observations, per the instructions in part 3. of the Experiment Instructions section.
iv. a clear and succinct evaluation of the correctness of your hypothesis based on the information presented in part iii above.
b. Develop a paragraph that includes a clear and succinct presentation of your general results and conclusions, per the instructions in the Experiment Results and Conclusions section above.
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