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Key Idea: The amount of energy an object has depends on how fast it is moving.

Students should know that:

  1. Any object that is moving has some amount of energy that is related to how fast it is moving. 
  2. The faster an object moves, the more energy it has due to its motion, and the slower an object moves, the less energy it has due to its motion.
  3. The faster an object is moving, the more damage it can do or the bigger the change in shape it can cause to itself and another object if the two objects hit each other.


  1. The terms “motion energy” and “kinetic energy” is not used in Basic level items because energy will be treated as a unified concept at this level and not in its various forms.
  2. Assessment items are limited to scenarios involving only one object or two identical objects because mass is kept constant.
  3. This idea refers to motion with respect to the surface of the earth.  An object is considered to be "not moving" if its position with respect to a point on the surface of the earth is not changing.
  4. Assessment items do not use unit rates or use rate language, such as feet per second or miles per hour, in elementary school because these ideas are not expected until the 6th grade according to the math Common Core State Standards (CCSS 6.RP, pg. 42).
  5. Items may show objects moving in a straight line, vibrating back and forth, or rotating.  In all cases, students are expected to know only that the energy of motion depends on speed.  In items, comparisons are made between objects moving in the same manner (i.e., both rotating) and with the same distribution of mass from the origin.