NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ1088175
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Oct
Pages: 25
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0157-244X
Students' Energy Concepts at the Transition between Primary and Secondary School
Opitz, Sebastian T.; Harms, Ute; Neumann, Knut; Kowalzik, Kristin; Frank, Arne
Research in Science Education, v45 n5 p691-715 Oct 2015
Energy is considered both a core idea and a crosscutting concept in science education. A thorough understanding of the energy concept is thought to help students learn about other (related) concepts within and across science subjects, thereby fostering scientific literacy. This study investigates students' progression in understanding the energy concept in biological contexts at the transition from primary to lower secondary school by employing a quantitative, cross-sectional study in grades 3-6 (N?=?540) using complex multiple-choice items. Based on a model developed in a previous study, energy concepts were assessed along four aspects of energy: (1) forms and sources of energy, (2) transfer and transformation, (3) degradation and dissipation, and (4) energy conservation. Two parallel test forms (A and B) indicated energy concept scores to increase significantly by a factor of 2.3 (A)/1.7 (B) from grade 3 to grade 6. Students were observed to progress in their understanding of all four aspects of the concept and scored highest on items for energy forms. The lowest scores and the smallest gain across grades were found for energy conservation. Based on our results, we argue that despite numerous learning opportunities, students lack a more integrated understanding of energy at this stage, underlining the requirement of a more explicit approach to teaching energy to young learners. Likewise, more interdisciplinary links for energy learning between relevant contexts in each science discipline may enable older students to more efficiently use energy as a tool and crosscutting concept with which to analyze complex content.
Springer. 233 Spring Street, New York, NY 10013. Tel: 800-777-4643; Tel: 212-460-1500; Fax: 212-348-4505; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Grade 3; Primary Education; Elementary Education; Early Childhood Education; Grade 4; Intermediate Grades; Grade 5; Middle Schools; Grade 6
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A