Energy Transferred by Working
Energy and Thermal Physics

Making sense of things through numbers

Teaching Guidance for 11-14 Supporting Physics Teaching

Energy calculations tell us what can happen

Wrong Track: Energy makes things happen.

Right Lines: Energy calculations tell us which processes are possible and which are not.

Energy is not a physical quantity

Thinking about the teaching

Energy is not some physical property that makes things happen. Rather, it is an interesting quantity, calculated in many different ways, that tells us whether or not particular processes are possible. The amount of energy available in a particular situation limits what is possible. Actually doing the calculations, finding out how much energy is available, comes later, in episode 04.

In this introductory phase, you might find that it is useful to draw an analogy with having a certain amount of cash. The quantity that you have limits what you can do, but does not compel you to do anything. Most importantly, it tells you what is not possible.

Keep it simple, allowing cash transactions only!

Energy Transferred by Working
appears in the relation dU=dQ+dW
is used in analyses relating to Working Engines Thermionic Emission
is a special case of Work
has the special case Potential Energy Kinetic Energy
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