Some students see the more obvious ‘heat’ of very hot objects as different from that of objects at lower temperatures

Energy and Thermal Physics

Misconception RESEARCH REVIEW

For example, the Sun or a flame compared with the human body or a cup of tea. 

Resources to Address This

  • Temperature and particles related to energy (11-14)

    Ref - SPT En05 PN02

    This resource explores the difference between temperature and thermal energy --

    • Temperature is termed an intensive quality since it does not depend upon the number of particles (or mass of substance) present.
    • Thermal energy is an extensive quantity since it depends upon the number of particles (or mass of substance) present.
    View Resource
  • Helpful language for energy talk (11-16)

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

    There are a limited number of energy stores - thermal (in a warm object) being one.

    One energy carrier or pathway, is by heating (because of a temperature difference).

    An object thought of as a 'hot' object  simply has a larger store of thermal energy and can  transfer more by the action of heating.

    View Resource

References

  • Harrison, A. G, Grayson, D. J. and Treagus, D. F. () Investigating a grade 11 student's evolving conceptions of heat and temperature. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 36, (1)

    55-87.

    Review sheet

IOP 2022 Awards

Teachers of Physics Awards

Recognising and celebrating outstanding contributions to the field of physics education.

Learn more