Forms of Energy: Lesson for Kids

Lesson Transcript
Donald Nicolas
Expert Contributor
Christianlly Cena

Christianlly has taught college Physics, Natural science, Earth science, and facilitated laboratory courses. He has a master's degree in Physics and is currently pursuing his doctorate degree.

Learn about the different forms of energy, the ability to do work. Compare kinetic and potential energy to understand how energy functions. Finally, explore other types of energy people use, such as electrical, sound, and thermal energy. Updated: 12/27/2021

What Is Energy?

Get up! Yes, you. Get up. Now do ten jumping jacks. Take a break. Tired yet? Now run in place for 20 seconds. Take another break. When you do this, you're changing forms of energy. In science, energy is the ability to do work, and work is the transfer of energy from one place or object to another. Now, let's use some energy to learn about some of the different forms of energy!

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  • 0:04 What Is Energy?
  • 0:35 Kinetic and Potential Energy
  • 1:05 Other Forms of Energy
  • 2:46 Renewable Energy
  • 3:09 Lesson Summary
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Kinetic and Potential Energy

Kinetic energy is the energy of motion. This form of energy happens when you are playing a game, riding your bike, or even doing your homework. Whenever you are moving, you are using kinetic energy.

Potential energy is energy that is stored, or not used yet. A battery has potential energy because the energy is just sitting there waiting to be used, such as when you turn on your battery powered toy car. When you're resting, your body has potential energy because you are not moving.

Other Forms of Energy

Let's take a closer look at some other forms of energy:

Light Energy

Light energy is the only form of energy that we can actually see - with the other forms of energy, we only see the results. Light is a type of electromagnetic radiation energy that travels as a wave. The sun provides natural light energy, which can give us a tan! Plants use the sun's light energy and convert it into food. Light is always moving; therefore, it cannot be stored and will only ever be in the form of kinetic energy.

Electrical Energy

Electrical energy is a form of energy that is created as electrons move from one atom to another. We use wires to create electrical circuits, which are pathways formed in a loop, that the electrons can move through. Electricity happens when electrons, with their charges, move around the circuit. It's through this electric current that we have the electricity in our houses that powers our televisions and computers.

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Additional Activities

Forms of Energy: True or False Activity

This activity will help you assess your knowledge of the different forms of energy.


Determine whether the following statements are True or False. To do this, print or copy this page on a blank paper and underline or circle the answer.

True | False 1. Thermal energy is derived from sunlight with the use of a solar panel.

True | False 2. The kinetic energy of an object is the energy that it possesses due to its motion.

True | False 3. The vibrating strings of a guitar produce potential energy.

True | False 4. Plants use the energy from the Sun to perform photosynthesis.

True | False 5. Fast vibrations cause short sound waves, which create low notes.

True | False 6. The energy that comes from the temperature of the heated substance is called thermal energy.

True | False 7. Electrical energy is a form of energy resulting from the flow of protons.

True | False 8. Windmills harness the power of the wind to produce renewable energy.

True | False 9. An electrical circuit is a path in which electrons flow.

True | False 10. Kinetic energy is a form of thermal energy.

Answer Key

  1. False, because the correct statement is: Solar energy is derived from sunlight with the use of a solar panel.
  2. True
  3. False, because the correct statement is: The vibrating strings of a guitar produce sound energy.
  4. True
  5. False, because the correct statement is: Fast vibrations cause short sound waves, which create high notes.
  6. True
  7. False, because the correct statement is: Electrical energy is a form of energy resulting from the flow of electrons.
  8. True
  9. True
  10. False, because the correct statement is: Thermal energy is a form of kinetic energy.

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