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Energy and Change: Introducing a New Approach

Introducing a New Approach outlines a fresh way of explaining changes that was developed by the ‘Teaching about why things change’ project. In this booklet, the authors address the fundamental question 'why do things change?', not simply by labelling phenomena with words to explain them away, but by looking at the essential nature of physical, chemical and biological changes.

The approach
The aim of the project was to provide a coherent framework within which many important scientific concepts could be developed. The key idea is to pay attention to the differences which drive change. For example, air in a balloon tends to leak out because of a pressure difference - it continues to spread out until the pressure difference disappears. Pollution spreads out and mixes with the air in the atmosphere because of a concentration difference. Eventually the concentration difference disappears. Hot coffee cools because of a temperature difference. Energy spreads out into the surroundings, as it goes from hot to cold, until eventually the temperature difference disappears. Thus, differences tend to disappear because matter or energy or both become more spread out.

* Telling the story in pictures
1. Backwards and forwards
2. Spreading and mixing of matter
3. Energy flows and temperature differences
4. Differences can create differences
5. Moving things and springy things
6. Particles - joining and splitting, building and breaking
7. Storing differences in 'chemical springs'
8. Steady states - maintaining a difference
9. Making measurements
* Background science
* Your questions answered
* A catalogue of changes
* Using the materials for INSET
* Further reading

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