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2010 Summer Meeting

2011 AAPT Summer Meeting
July 30-August 3, 2011
Omaha, Nebraska

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A Teaching Proposal about Energy for Students Aged 11-14
  Location: SS Ballroom DE
  Date: Tuesday, Aug.2
  Time: 2:15 PM -2:45 PM
  Author: Nikos Papadouris
Learning in Science Group, University of Cyprus
  Co-Author(s): Costas P. Constantinou
  Abstract: Teaching about energy is an inherently complex and challenging task, especially in the elementary and middle school. We briefly discuss the epistemological barriers that tend to perplex attempts to introduce energy and we propose an alternative teaching approach, for students aged 11-14, that seeks to provide a means for bypassing or overcoming those obstacles. This approach rests on the premise that the elaboration of energy could be more usefully framed in an epistemologically oriented, rather than a conceptually oriented, context. The emphasis in this approach is placed on (a) helping students appreciate that, in science, we invent theories in order to account for observations and (b) guiding them to elaborate energy as a theoretical framework for interpreting changes in physical systems. In the concluding part, we discuss the potential effectiveness of this teaching approach on the basis of empirical data on students' learning gains, collected through implementation in three sixth-grade classes.
  Footnotes: Sponsored by Paula Heron
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