Many students think of energy as synonymous with fuel

Energy and Thermal Physics


Resources to Address This

  • From fuels to energy stores (11-14)

    A resource that explores how we can discuss energy stores and the shifting between them 

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  • Helpful language for energy talk (11-16)

    Guidance on how to discuss energy with students, including energy stores and transfers.

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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

  • Trumper, R. () Children's energy concepts: a cross‐age study. International Journal of Science Education, 15 (2) 139-148, Routledge.

    Research shows that teaching about energy concepts is most effective when it takes place early and clearly differentiates common language from scientific language. Students often think that energy 'makes things happen', i.e., that it is the cause of change. Researchers suggest that descriptions and analyses of a wide range of energy transfers are used to help students identify the physical processes that lead to the energy transfer and the corresponding results.

    Paper digest

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