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Atoms and Conservation of Energy

How does the Law of Conservation of Energy (the First Law of Thermodynamics) apply to atoms?

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Requirements

This activity requires the Java Runtime Environment version 5 (sometimes referred to as 1.5) or later with Java Webstart. You can download it at java.com.

In this activity, students will explore how the Law of Conservation of Energy (the First Law of Thermodynamics) applies to atoms, as well as the implications of heating or cooling a system. This activity focuses on potential energy and kinetic energy as well as energy conservation. The goal is to apply what is learned to both our human scale world and the world of atoms and molecules.

Students will be able to:

  • Differentiate between kinetic and potential energy
  • Explain how kinetic energy can be converted to potential energy and vice versa
  • Analyze energy graphs and the motion of objects in a system to learn about the Law of Conservation of Energy
  • Apply the First Law of Thermodynamics when heating or cooling a system
  • Differentiate between energy transfer in an open system and energy conversion
Download & Launch

Download Size: 2 KB

WARNING: Your data will not be saved. To save data, run this activity as a registered user. You can register at the project portal. Please view the requirements below before launching this activity.

Subject
Chemistry

Focus Area
Modeling and Simulation

Grade Level
High School

License
LGPL License

AAAS Benchmark Alignments (2008)

4. The Physical Setting

4E. Energy Transformations
  • 4E/M3*. By the end of the 8th grade, students should know that thermal energy is transferred through a material by the collisions of atoms within the material. Over time, the thermal energy tends to spread out through a material and from one material to another if they are in contact. Thermal energy can also be transferred by means of currents in air, water, or other fluids. In addition, some thermal energy in all materials is transformed into light energy and radiated into the environment by electromagnetic waves; that light energy can be transformed back into thermal energy when the electromagnetic waves strike another material. As a result, a material tends to cool down unless some other form of energy is converted to thermal energy in the material.
  • 4E/M4*. By the end of the 8th grade, students should know that energy appears in different forms and can be transformed within a system. Motion energy is associated with the speed of an object. Thermal energy is associated with the temperature of an object. Gravitational energy is associated with the height of an object above a reference point. Elastic energy is associated with the stretching or compressing of an elastic object. Chemical energy is associated with the composition of a substance. Electrical energy is associated with an electric current in a circuit. Light energy is associated with the frequency of electromagnetic waves.
  • 4E/H1*. By the end of the 12th grade, students should know that although the various forms of energy appear very different, each can be measured in a way that makes it possible to keep track of how much of one form is converted into another. Whenever the amount of energy in one place diminishes, the amount in other places or forms increases by the same amount.
  • 4E/H9** (NSES). By the end of the 12th grade, students should know that many forms of energy can be considered to be either kinetic energy, which is the energy of motion, or potential energy, which depends on the separation between mutually attracting or repelling objects.
  • 4E/H10** (SFAA). By the end of the 12th grade, students should know that if no energy is transferred into or out of a system, the total energy of all the different forms in the system will not change, no matter what gradual or violent changes actually occur within the system.
4G. Forces of Nature
  • 4G/H1. By the end of the 12th grade, students should know that gravitational force is an attraction between masses. The strength of the force is proportional to the masses and weakens rapidly with increasing distance between them.
  • 4G/H2a*. By the end of the 12th grade, students should know that electric forces acting within and between atoms are vastly stronger than the gravitational forces acting between the atoms. At larger scales, gravitational forces accumulate to produce a large and noticeable effect, whereas electric forces tend to cancel each other out.

11. Common Themes

11B. Models
  • 11B/M6** (SFAA). By the end of the 8th grade, students should know that a model can sometimes be used to get ideas about how the thing being modeled actually works, but there is no guarantee that these ideas are correct if they are based on the model alone.

Copyright
© Copyright The Concord Consortium

Record Link
<a href="stem-resources/atoms-and-conservation-energy">The Concord Consortium. Atoms and Conservation of Energy. Concord: The Concord Consortium, 2011, May 26.</a>

AIP
Atoms and Conservation of Energy (The Concord Consortium, Concord, 2011, May 26), WWW Document, (http://concord.org/stem-resources/atoms-and-conservation-energy).

AJP
Atoms and Conservation of Energy (The Concord Consortium, Concord, 2011, May 26), WWW Document, (http://concord.org/stem-resources/atoms-and-conservation-energy).

APA
Atoms and Conservation of Energy. (2011, May 26). Retrieved 2014, October 30, from The Concord Consortium: http://concord.org/stem-resources/atoms-and-conservation-energy

Disclaimer: The Concord Consortium offers citation styles as a guide only. We cannot offer interpretations about citations as this is an automated procedure.

Requirements

This activity requires the Java Runtime Environment version 5 (sometimes referred to as 1.5) or later with Java Webstart. You can download it at java.com.

The download for this activity will require 2 KB of disk space.

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Science of Atoms and MoleculesThis resource is a part of the Concord Consortium's Science of Atoms and Molecules project.

Grade Level
High School
Subject
Chemistry
Focus Area
Modeling and Simulation
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