Taking It Outside

How did you learn about different forms of energy? At Orchard, our students use the ropes course on our sprawling, 43-acre campus to explore potential vs. kinetic energy.
Because Orchard is a progressive school, students are actively involved in each lesson. Therefore, when learning about kinetic versus potential energy in fourth grade, our teachers take advantage of our ropes/challenge course. One student at a time is hoisted about 20-25 feet into the air. He/she says, "potential energy" while tethered in place. The student then yells, "kinetic energy," releases the rope and swings freely in the air. It is a fabulous way to demonstrate different forms of energy.

In addition to the science lesson, this exercise reinforces the importance of collaboration and teamwork. It also builds courage and self esteem. This experience, and others like it at Orchard, result in a student who is confident, curious and excited about learning.