Energy and Change

The approach and the materials called Energy and Change were developed during the project 'Teaching about why things change'. The work was done by Jon Ogborn and Richard Boohan from 1992 to 1995 and a grant from the Nuffield Foundation supported the development work. The project set out to devise simple, everyday and coherent ways of talking about thermodynamic ideas which are accessible to school students.

The publications
Energy and Change was published as a set of three booklets outlining a new approach which starts from commonsense ways of explaining why things happen. In developing these materials the authors had three important criteria in mind, namely, that the approach should be:
• intelligible to students
• useful to teachers
• scientifically consistent

The central idea
The central idea is that change is caused by differences, for example, differences in temperature or in concentration. To make these ideas intelligible to students, the project developed a range of abstract pictures. Some of these pictures could appear somewhat daunting at first, but the authors found that students were quickly able to become familiar with them, and were stimulated into a good level of discussion.


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...

Energy and Change: Activities for the Classroom

In Activities for the Classroom, the authors of the ‘Teaching about why things change’ project show how a new approach to the fundamental question 'why do things change?' can be adopted in teaching. They do this with a set of classroom activities which show how the...

Energy and Change: Background Stories for Teachers

In Background Stories for Teachers, the authors of the ‘Teaching about why things change’ project illustrate a new approach to the fundamental question 'why do things change?'. They do so with the help of stories about some scientific topics which show how the topics...

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