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ERIC Number: EJ789927
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Apr
Pages: 26
Abstractor: Author
Reference Count: 54
ISSN: ISSN-0022-4308
Students' Use of the Energy Model to Account for Changes in Physical Systems
Papadouris, Nico; Constantinou, Constantinos P.; Kyratsi, Theodora
Journal of Research in Science Teaching, v45 n4 p444-469 Apr 2008
The aim of this study is to explore the ways in which students, aged 11-14 years, account for certain changes in physical systems and the extent to which they draw on an energy model as a common framework for explaining changes observed in diverse systems. Data were combined from two sources: interviews with 20 individuals and an open-ended questionnaire that was administered to 240 students (121 upper elementary school students and 119 middle school students). We observed a wealth of approaches ranging from accounts of energy transfer and transformation to responses identifying specific objects or processes as the cause of changes. The findings also provide evidence that students do not seem to appreciate the transphenomenological and unifying nature of energy. Students' thinking was influenced by various conceptual difficulties that are compounded by traditional science teaching; for instance, students tended to confuse energy with force or electric current. In addition, the comparison between the responses from middle school students and those of elementary school students demonstrates that science teaching and maturation appeared to have a negligible influence on whether students had constructed a coherent energy model, which they could use consistently to account for changes in certain physical systems. (Contains 2 figures, 5 tables and 3 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Education; Middle Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A