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ERIC Number: EJ1145873
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017-May
Pages: 10
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0926-7220
Good Use of a "Bad" Metaphor: Entropy as Disorder
Haglund, Jesper
Science & Education, v26 n3-4 p205-214 May 2017
Entropy is often introduced to students through the use of the disorder metaphor. However, many weaknesses and limitations of this metaphor have been identified, and it has therefore been argued that it is more harmful than useful in teaching. For instance, under the influence of the disorder metaphor, students tend to focus on spatial configuration with regard to entropy but disregard the role of energy, which may lead their intuition astray in problem solving. Albeit so, a review of research of students' ideas about entropy in relation to the disorder metaphor shows that students can use the metaphor in developing a more nuanced, complex view of the concept, by connecting entropy as disorder to other concepts such as microstates and spreading. The disorder metaphor--in combination with other explanatory approaches--can be used as a resource for learning, in giving students an early flavour of what entropy means, so long as we acknowledge its limitations; we can put this "bad" metaphor to good use in teaching.
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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