Many students think of energy as synonymous with fuel

Energy and Thermal Physics

Misconception RESEARCH REVIEW

Resources to Address This

  • From fuels to energy stores (11-14)

    Ref - SPT En02 PN03

    You can describe the ability of a fuel, such as petrol, to get a job done by saying that it has an energy store associated with it. As the fuel does its job (maybe propelling a car along the road), energy is shifted from the store. Given the source of the energy (the petrol), we say that this is a chemical store.

    View Resource
  • Helpful language for energy talk (11-16)

    Ref - Practical physics; Energy; Introducing energy; Helpful language for energy talk

    Another kind of energy store is a mixture of fuel and oxygen. In this case bonds between carbon and oxygen atoms can snap shut, releasing energy in a fire or explosion. It is common to talk about just the fuel – for example petrol – as the energy store, but do remember that for this chemical spring to snap shut, there must be oxygen too.

    View Resource

References

  • 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.

    Review sheet

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

    139-148.

    Review sheet

Limit Less Campaign

Support our manifesto for change

The IOP wants to support young people to fulfil their potential by doing physics. Please sign the manifesto today so that we can show our politicians there is widespread support for improving equity and inclusion across the education sector.

Sign today