SEP: Energy and Power

Energy and Power is one of the publication themes of the Gatsby Science Enhancement Programme. For other publication themes, visit the SEP homepage

Understanding the energy concept is central to an understanding of science. It also happens to be a particularly difficult concept to explain. SEP has developed a series of publications that provide clear and consistent ways of talking about the storage, transfer, conservation and dissipation of energy. These include practical activities to gain hands-on experience of phenomena, animations that help to develop explanations of phenomena, and resources that relate energy to real-world applications. Looking at the flow of energy from hot to cold is a good way of introducing students to the idea that energy can be stored and can move from place to place. Hot and Cold: Exploring Temperature Changes Using Thermocolour Film has many examples of such activities.

The Energy Now multimedia package includes a sequence of interactive animations that develop consistent ways of thinking and talking about energy stores and transfers. It begins with thermal stores and energy transfers from hot to cold, before dealing with other kinds of changes.

Although considering energy qualitatively is important, a key idea is that energy is actually a quantitative concept. To give students hands-on experience of measuring energy, SEP developed an innovative energymeter, supported by the booklet Making Energy Real: Using the SEP Energymeter.

The qualitative and quantitative approaches are brought together in the booklet Energy Storage, which looks at different kinds of energy stores and how their behaviour can be explained using the energy concept. It also explores how energy transfers to and from the stores can be measured using the energymeter.

The concept of energy acquires more significance when it is used to solve problems and answer real questions, such as when studying the energy industry. Two SEP publications, Wind Power and Solar Power: Electricity from the Sun, contain practical activities and look at the economics of renewable energy resources.

Resources

Wind Power

This booklet is part of the ‘Innovations in Practical Work’ series published by the Gatsby Science Enhancement Programme (SEP). One of the most important questions facing us all is how we will use the planet’s energy resources over the coming decades. Many people believe that wind power can make a vital contribution....
Publication date:
2000 - 2009

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Energy Storage

This booklet is part of the ‘Innovations in Practical Work’ series published by the Gatsby Science Enhancement Programme (SEP). An important part of understanding energy is getting to know the different ways it can be stored and transferred. Finding ways to do this with greater efficiency is the focus of much research...
Publication date:
2000 - 2009

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Making Energy Real: Using the SEP Energymeter

This booklet is part of the ‘Innovations in Practical Work’ series published by the Gatsby Science Enhancement Programme (SEP). Energy is a universal concept across the sciences, yet it is often difficult for students to understand. Part of the problem is that current approaches often emphasise learning about...
Publication date:
2000 - 2009

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Hot and Cold: Exploring Temperature Changes Using Thermocolour Film

This booklet is part of the ‘Innovations in Practical Work’ series published by the Gatsby Science Enhancement Programme (SEP). Thermocolour film is a fascinating material that changes colour depending on the temperature. It allows a very wide range of phenomena to be explored much more readily than using a...
Publication date:
2000 - 2009

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