NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ935902
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Jul
Pages: 30
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 82
ISSN: ISSN-0036-8326
Transforming Energy Instruction in Middle School to Support Integrated Understanding and Future Learning
Nordine, Jeffrey; Krajcik, Joseph; Fortus, David
Science Education, v95 n4 p670-699 Jul 2011
Energy is a fundamental unifying concept of science, yet common approaches to energy instruction in middle school have shown little success with helping students develop their naive ideas about energy into more sophisticated understandings that are useful for making sense of their experiences. While traditional energy instruction often focuses on simple calculations of energy in idealized systems, we developed a new middle school energy unit that focuses qualitatively on the energy transformations that occur in everyday, nonidealized, systems. In this article, we describe our approach to energy instruction and report the effects this approach had on students' energy conceptions, ability to perform on distal criterion-referenced assessments, and preparation for future energy-related learning. Results indicate that during instruction, students' energy conceptions progress from a set of disconnected ideas toward an integrated understanding that is organized around the principle of transformation, and that these more integrated conceptions both boost students' ability to make sense of everyday phenomena and lay the groundwork for more efficient and meaningful energy-related learning in the future. (Contains 10 tables and 6 figures.)
John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Subscription Department, 111 River Street, Hoboken, NJ 07030-5774. Tel: 800-825-7550; Tel: 201-748-6645; Fax: 201-748-6021; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Middle Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A