Energy changes

'Energy’ is an abstract idea and hard to define. Students often use the word in a variety of everyday contexts and in a way which differs from the scientific use of the word.

A good understanding of the language surrounding the teaching of energy, including energy stores and energy pathways, and students' misconceptions is therefore needed before planning a scheme of work on this topic. For information on some of the ideas students can bring to the classroom, and which can often prove difficult to address, you may find pages 13-14 in the National Strategies publication 'Strengthening Teaching and Learning of Energy' useful.

This is a great topic for practical work and many of the resources in this list provide ideas for hands-on activities. The areas of the 2014 curriculum covered include:

• internal energy stored in materials
• other processes that involve energy transfer: changing motion, dropping an object, completing an electrical circuit, stretching a spring, metabolism of food, burning fuels

Heat transfer and thermal equilibrium are dealt with in a separate list, to view this list click here.

Whilst this list provides a source of information and ideas for experimental work, it is important to note that recommendations can date very quickly. Do NOT follow suggestions which conflict with current advice from CLEAPSS, SSERC or recent safety guides. eLibrary users are responsible for ensuring that any activity, including practical work, which they carry out is consistent with current regulations related to health and safety and that they carry an appropriate risk assessment. Further information is provided in our Health and Safety guidance.