energy ‘degradation’ – pupils should be encouraged to think about where the energy goes
rather than what it becomes.
Chisholm (1992) firmly refutes energy transformations. He suggests first identifying three
♦ release of energy;
♦ transfer of energy;
♦ use of energy. Ibid., p218
This would be followed by energy dissipation as a cue for efficiency.
Schmid (1982) proposes a model that associates energy with material ‘energy carriers’.
Phenomena are attributed to energy flow. Then, for energy to flow, a material substance
has to ‘flow’ to carry the energy. It is suggested here that this model was intended to
demarcate between the abstract energy and real materials. However, it is argued here that
such a model would increase the likelihood of learners developing a misconception that
energy is a substance that resides in the material carrying it.
Jennison and Reiss (1991) make suggestions for the rationalisation of energy teaching,
from the context of difficulties faced by biologists having to teach balanced science:
• energy cannot be turned into other ‘things’;
• working and heating as verbs as processes;
• energy only ‘seen’ in a transfer;
• work is not energy;
• energy is conserved;
• there is no energy crisis, there is a fuel crisis;
• the amount of disorder in the universe always increases – a simple
statement of the second law of thermodynamics.
Derived from ibid., pp174, 175