Lesson Plan: Collisions and Energy Transfer Science • 4th Grade

This lesson plan includes the objectives, prerequisites, and exclusions of the lesson teaching students how to investigate the effects of collisions and explain and predict the energy changes that take place when objects collide.


Students will be able to

  • define collision,
  • explain and predict the energy changes that occur when objects collide,
  • identify elastic and inelastic collisions,
  • use a Newton’s cradle to explain elastic and inelastic collisions,
  • investigate how speed affects collisions,
  • define inertia,
  • describe the effects of inertia in collisions,
  • describe the effects of an object’s mass on its inertia,
  • define momentum,
  • describe the effects of momentum in collisions,
  • describe how safety devices are useful during collisions,
  • explain what is meant by the term conservation of energy.


Students should already be familiar with

  • the definition of energy,
  • different forms of energy, including kinetic energy and potential energy,
  • the definition of motion,
  • the definition of speed,
  • the fact that kinetic energy increases with speed and mass.


Students will not cover

  • the conservation of momentum, which describes the momentum before and after a collision.

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