Potential energy is the energy that an object possesses due to its position or state. It is the energy that an object has the potential to release or convert into other forms of energy.

There are several types of potential energy, including gravitational potential energy, elastic potential energy, and chemical potential energy.

Gravitational potential energy is the energy that an object possesses due to its position in a gravitational field. It is equal to the object’s mass multiplied by the acceleration due to gravity and the object’s height above a reference point. For example, an object that is high up in a tree has more gravitational potential energy than an object that is on the ground, because it has the potential to fall from a greater height and gain kinetic energy.

Elastic potential energy is the energy that is stored in an object when it is stretched or compressed. For example, a stretched rubber band has elastic potential energy that is released when it is allowed to return to its original shape.

Chemical potential energy is the energy that is stored in the bonds between atoms in a chemical compound. It is released when the bonds are broken and the atoms rearrange to form new compounds. For example, the potential energy stored in a piece of wood is released when it is burned and the chemical bonds in the wood are broken.

In fourth grade science, students may learn about potential energy as part of their study of energy and how it can be transformed from one form to another. They may learn about the different types of potential energy and how they can be measured and calculated. They may also learn about the relationship between potential energy and kinetic energy and how they can be interconverted.

### FAQ

1. What are the different types of potential energy?
2. How is gravitational potential energy calculated?
3. What is elastic potential energy and how is it related to kinetic energy?
4. How is chemical potential energy related to the bonds between atoms in a chemical compound?
5. Can potential energy be converted into kinetic energy, and vice versa? If so, how does this process occur?