Many students also associate energy with fuels and with electricity

Energy and Thermal Physics


Resources to Address This

  • Burning fuels gets jobs done (11-14)

    Fuels are chemicals we burn to accomplish tasks, such as petrol, snack bars, or camping gas. They react with oxygen to get things done. This thermal energy can be harnessed for electricity generation.

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  • Energy and generating electricity (11-16)

    Mains electricity is a common topic when discussing energy in daily life. It transfers energy from power stations to our everyday devices. The conversation may extend to renewable resources like wind, sunlight, and waves. Instead of using "energy," it's more accurate to refer to "wind power" and "solar power" as they denote the transfer of energy per second.

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  • Trumper, R. () A Longitudinal Study of Physics Students' Conceptions on Energy in Pre-Service Training for High School Teachers, Journal of Science Education and Technology, 7, (4) 311-318.

    Pre-service teachers can struggle with their understanding of energy, even those who have a prior physics degree. This may be because they lack a coherent model for energy with links to other parts of physics, particularly heating and forces. Alternatively, the teachers may use ideas about different “forms” of energy and conversion between them. This paper concludes that there is an urgent need for more discussion of energy, and concept building, during teacher training. 

    Paper digest

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