How Does Motion Energy Change in a Collision?

How Does Motion Energy Change in a Collision?

How Does Motion Energy Change in a Collision? is part of Smithsonian Science for the Classroom, a brand-new curriculum series by the Smithsonian Science Education Center. It is aligned to a group of grade 4 standards. It has a focus on physical science with a secondary focus on life science and engineering. In this module, students:

  • Collect evidence to show that energy can move from object to object and change into heat, light, and sound
  • Construct an explanation that faster objects have more motion energy
  • Obtain information from text on how animals move fast in order to survive
  • Collect evidence from hands-on activities and text to explain why objects slow down
  • Design and build a model of a bicycle helmet using an egg as a model for the brain
  • Analyze data to predict how far an object will slide in a collision

Below are digital resources that support teaching of this module.

Lesson 1: Move It

Crow and Walnut
Download Powerpoint
This file shows an image of an English walnut, an image of an English walnut tree, and an image of an American crow.

Motion Energy
Download Video
This video shows examples of moving objects.

Lesson 2: Give Me Some Energy

This audio of crickets chirping can be found on Carolina Science Online at the link above. If you have purchased this module, you have an access code that should be activated as soon as possible. If you are having trouble finding your code or logging in, please contact

Lesson 7: Fastest on Earth

This video show a cheetah running after prey. 

Mantis Shrimp
This video shows a mantis shrimp’s powerful punch. Play the section from 1:40 to 2:50.

Squirting Cucumber
This video shows a squirting cucumber squirting its seeds.

Trap-Jaw Spider
Download Video
This video was filmed while waving an eyelash at a trap-jaw spider to study how the trap-jaw spider catches prey.

Animal Folktales
This website has examples of fictional stories that explain how animals got their unique characteristics.

Lesson 8: The Rough with the Smooth

Download Video
This video shows a stone being slid and ice being brushed in a game of curling.

Washer Sliding
Download Video
This video shows how the washer should slide down the ramp.

Car Engine
Download Video
This video is an animation of the moving parts of a car.

Lesson 9: Air and Space

Download Video
This video shows competitive cyclists wearing streamlined helmets and a smooth suits.

NASA Missions
This website has a list of NASA missions organized by target. Select the mission and then select the Overview tab for an overview of the mission.

Lesson 11: Playing Safe

Download Audio
This audio is of a woodpecker pecking.

Lesson 12: Egg Drop Challenge Part 1

Egg Drop Requirements
Download Powerpoint
This file shows the constraints and criteria for designing a model cycle helmet.

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