Science & Education

, Volume 6, Issue 5, pp 511-527

First online:

The Development of the Concept of Work: A Case where History Can Inform Pedagogy

  • Kevin C De BergAffiliated withAvondale College

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An historical analysis of the work concept with particular emphasis given to the contributions of John Smeaton and Daniel Bernouilli is provided with a view to enlightening or resolving current difficulties experienced in the teaching and learning of the concept of work and its relationship to kinetic and potential energies. An approach which emphasises the work done by both applied and resisting forces and which gives some technological significance to the (force x distance) definition of work is recommended.