Kinetic and Potential Energy

Potential Energy is the energy of objects that are not yet in use.  It's the energy that is stored in an object. The Kinetic Energy is the energy of movement. So think about it this way: when something is still but has the power (energy) to have movement we say it has "potential energy". If something is in motion it is said to have "kinetic energy".

The photo above is an example of both potential and kinetic energy. Energy is the ability to be active. It comes from heat, electricity, etc. The image shows someone pulling back on a rubber band to shoot it. In the moment before the rubber band is released it has potential energy. The energy is there, even though there is no movement. When the rubber band is released it has kinetic energy. Heat is the kinetic energy that is produced through the movement of the molecules in the rubber band.    

Another example of potential and kinetic energy would be running. Just before the race when the runner is waiting for the gun to be shot they have potential energy. You can think of it as if they have the "potential" to be in movement. After the gun is fired and the runner takes off they have kinetic energy. Kinetic energy comes after potential energy, just like waiting for the gun comes before you run.         

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