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ERIC Number: EJ1085710
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Jan
Pages: 3
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0031-921X
Energy Blocks--A Physical Model for Teaching Energy Concepts
Hertting, Scott
Physics Teacher, v54 n1 p31-33 Jan 2016
Most physics educators would agree that energy is a very useful, albeit abstract topic. It is therefore important to use various methods to help the student internalize the concept of energy itself and its related ideas. These methods include using representations such as energy bar graphs, energy pie charts, or energy tracking diagrams. Activities and analogies like Energy Theater and Richard Feynman's blocks, as well as the popular money (or wealth) analogy, can also be very effective. The goal of this paper is to describe a physical model of Feynman's blocks that can be employed by instructors to help students learn the following energy-related concepts: (1) the factors affecting each individual mechanical energy storage mode (this refers to what has been traditionally called a form of energy, and while the Modeling Method of instruction is not the focus of this paper, much of the energy related language used is specific to the Modeling Method). For example, how mass or height affects gravitational energy; (2) energy conservation; and (3) the graphical relationships between the energy storage mode and a factor affecting it. For example, the graphical relationship between elastic energy and the change in length of a spring.
American Association of Physics Teachers. One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740. Tel: 301-209-3300; Fax: 301-209-0845; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A