The word “energy” is used to describe many different things—how we heat and cool our homes, how we fuel cars, and even how we’re feeling on a day. Energy isn’t something that can be seen or felt, but you can see and feel the effects when energy is transferred from one place to another.

Energy is what makes change happen and can be transferred form one object to another. Energy can also be transformed from one form to another.

Power is the rate at which energy is transferred. It is not energy but is often confused with energy. The watt is the most commonly used unit of measure for power. It measures the rate of energy transfer.



Click on a scenario number above to begin the interactive explainer.

A watt equals a joule per second. If a smart phone uses five joules of energy every second, then the power of the phone is five joules per second, or five watts.

The animation above demonstrates the difference between energy and power. Each slide in the animation will transfer energy at different rates for five seconds. If each child represents one unit of energy, which slide has the highest power?


This animation is featured in our Energy e-book series. Click on the thumbnails below to download our free e-books or subscribe to our iTunes U course. You can also visit our e-books page to view our other offerings.

Energy e-book cover 2013_4

Examine the science of energy, from what it is to where it comes from.

Download on iBooks Subscribe on iTunes

Energy e-book cover 2013_4

Explore how humans use energy — from generating electricity to developing energy-efficient technologies.

Download on iBooks Subscribe on iTunes

What Is the Difference Between Power and Energy? 18 December,2015QUEST Staff

  • lala

    weeeee

  • BOOBOO

    dis article help me good. Tank you

  • Lllurker

    Yeah but there would always be one kid who insists an going down backwards and who throws the whole calculation off

Author

QUEST Staff

QUEST, an Emmy Award-winning multimedia science series, has a new focus on the science of sustainability.The half-hour magazine style episodes are produced by a collaboration of six public broadcasters around the country and explore a wide variety of sustainability issues related to food, energy, water, climate and biodiversity. The story segments featured in each show are introduced by on-camera host, environmental journalist Simran Sethi. The series also includes half-hour specials that focus on a single topic.

All 2013-2014 television programs can be viewed online in their entirety or as individual segments by clicking on the titles and images listed below. The programs are also broadcast in each of our six PBS partner regions including North Carolina, Ohio, Nebraska, Northern California and the Pacific Northwest. Check local listings for broadcast dates and times.

Sponsored by

Become a KQED sponsor