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Constructing a Sustainable Foundation for Thinking and Learning About Energy in the Twenty-First Century

Abstract

Addressing the energy challenges of today and tomorrow will require energy experts in fields from municipal government to public health. These experts will need to draw from diverse, sophisticated, and nuanced understandings of energy in society that go far beyond static lists of energy facts. They will need to think and communicate using energy concepts that are rigorous, relevant, and fit known phenomena. Despite pervasive rhetoric (including in the Next Generation Science Standards) that energy is a unifying, crosscutting concept, historically energy instruction has been compartmentalized along disciplinary lines and appeared rigid. Students often associate the energy ideas they learn in school as a regimented program of taxonomy and bookkeeping. They understand their task as being to identify correctly forms and tabulate transfers and transformations. Students also learn a scientific concept of energy that is conserved; yet live in a world in which people are constantly ‘using up’ energy. We believe students can construct flexible, intuitive energy models that will empower them to make sense of phenomena, processes and resources that they care about in the real world by tracking energy transfers and transformations locally through detailed analysis of hypothesized mechanisms for such. We work with teachers to construct such models so that they can support similar energy engagement among their students.

Keywords

  • Energy Theater
  • Gravitational Energy
  • Energy Project
  • Scientific Language
  • Energy Concept

These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    By negotiation we intend a more stringent meaning than simple discussion. When a contract or an accord is negotiated, all signatory parties have the authority to hold up the negotiation until their concerns have been addressed. Therefore, negotiation within a learning community implies that each member is empowered to hold up the process until they feel that their questions or concerns have been addressed, or at least understood.

  2. 2.

    This pair of scenarios has been shown to be particularly challenging for many groups of learners, including physics faculty. In particular, most groups neglect the role of thermal energy conversion during the lifting stage. It is only after recognizing that energy cannot be conserved without thermal energy conversion during the lowering stage that they reconsider the lifting stage.

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Correspondence to Lane Seeley .

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Seeley, L., Vokos, S., Minstrell, J. (2014). Constructing a Sustainable Foundation for Thinking and Learning About Energy in the Twenty-First Century. In: , et al. Teaching and Learning of Energy in K – 12 Education. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-05017-1_19

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