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ERIC Number: EJ1060776
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 28
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0950-0693
Enacting Conceptual Metaphor through Blending: Learning Activities Embodying the Substance Metaphor for Energy
Close, Hunter G.; Scherr, Rachel E.
International Journal of Science Education, v37 n5-6 p839-866 2015
We demonstrate that a particular blended learning space is especially productive in developing understanding of energy transfers and transformations. In this blended space, naturally occurring learner interactions like body movement, gesture, and metaphorical speech are blended with a conceptual metaphor of energy as a substance in a class of activities called Energy Theater. We illustrate several mechanisms by which the blended aspect of the learning environment promotes productive intellectual engagement with key conceptual issues in the learning of energy, including distinguishing among energy processes, disambiguating matter and energy, identifying energy transfer, and representing energy as a conserved quantity. Conceptual advancement appears to be promoted especially by the symbolic material and social structure of the Energy Theater environment, in which energy is represented by participants and objects are represented by areas demarcated by loops of rope, and by Energy Theater's embodied action, including body locomotion, gesture, and coordination of speech with symbolic spaces in the Energy Theater arena. Our conclusions are (1) that specific conceptual metaphors can be leveraged to benefit science instruction via the blending of an abstract space of ideas with multiple modes of concrete human action, and (2) that participants' structured improvisation plays an important role in leveraging the blend for their intellectual development.
Routledge. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Science Foundation
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Washington
Grant or Contract Numbers: DRL 0822342