Meeting Eight – Teaching energy: thoughts from the SPT11–14 project

Ian Lawrence, (2007) “Teaching Energy: Thoughts from the SPT11–14 Project” Physics Educucation 42 (2007): 402-409. doi: 10.1088/0031-9120/42/4/011 (.PDF link).

Abstract: Describing the world in terms of energy is necessarily quantitative: one must be able to do the sums for the description to gain a purchase. Whilst teaching younger children (say 11–14 years old) the full quantitative description is not available and this has made the introductory teaching of energy a contentious area. By focusing on representations of energy that respect this quantitative essence, without demanding that calculations are actually done, one can develop a manipulable model of the abstract idea of energy to be shared with children that is much more plausible, intelligible and fruitful than one based solely on a verbal description. Here I argue this case, indicating the ways in which such a model may be useful.

With thanks to @gwiff (Griff John) for suggesting the paper and the IoP for making it available for free.

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