In our Elementary Energy Complete Series (4 Titles) we find our animated caveman, Zog, pondering basic questions about energy as understood from a scientific viewpoint: where energy comes from, what forms it can take, how it can be changed, and how it is used.
KINETIC AND POTENTIAL ENERGY introduces Zog to energy of movement and stored energy. Working with inclined planes, springs and a bouncing ball he learns about both kinds of energy and how each kind of energy can be changed into the other. Also, he learns how chemical potential energy is used to create heat, mechanical power, light and electricity.
GRAVITY, FORCE and WORK introduces Zog to Newton’s basic laws of motion. By observing objects on earth and in space, Zog learns that nothing can start moving, speed up, slow down, change direction or stop unless a FORCE is applied to it – even if the force is hard to see, like GRAVITY or FRICTION. He learns that for every force there is an equal and opposite force and that is the principle behind jet propulsion. And he learns that, scientifically, WORK occurs only when a force moves an object some distance.
Zog wonders next: WHERE DOES ENERGY COME FROM? As a caveman living long ago he knows that light and heat energy can come from the sun or burning firewood, but now he travels through time to learn that in our world we have many other sources such as OIL, COAL, NATURAL GAS, GEOTHERMAL, NUCLEAR, FALLING WATER, WIND and SOLAR CELLS and how some of these are used in power plants to turn generators to make ELECTRICITY.
Finally, USING ENERGY teaches Zog that people use energy in one of two main ways: by moving heat from one place to another (conduction, convection or radiation) or by transferring energy from one form to another by using an appliance, like a lamp or car. Appliances always waste some energy and Zog learns why energy efficient appliances are the best choices people have today. As only a caveman can, Zog provides plenty of laughs along the way to finding clever and complete answers to elementary energy questions.
Written and animated by David Christianson.
40 minutes • Color