Some students interpret conservation to mean energy must reappear in its original form

Energy and Thermal Physics


Many students also reason that energy will be lost in physical processes (even those who recognise the principle of conservation of energy).

Resources to Address This

  • Shifting and conserving energy (11-14)

    This resource involves a discussion of lifting an object, with the following prompts:

    1. Can emptying the second store (associated with the ornament in a higher position) do an equivalent job to that done by emptying the first (the chemical store associated with the muscles of your arm)?
    2. If not, what happens to the energy not shifted from the first store to the second?
    3. Is it possible to reduce this shortfall?

    After establishing the energy transfer, it is necessary to introduce the idea of energy dissipation into the surrounding environment. 

    View Resource


  • Neumann, K.; Viering, T.; Boone, W. J. and Fischer, H. E. () Towards a Learning Progression of Energy, Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 50, (2), 162-188.

    Paper digest

  • 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.

    Paper digest

  • Loverude, M. E. () Student Understanding Of Gravitational Potential Energy And The Motion Of Bodies In A Gravitational Field, AIP Conference Proceedings, 77, 790, California State University Fullerton, American Institute of Physics.

    Paper digest

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