The AQA GCSE Science specification calls for students to understand and apply the concepts of not only thermal energy stores but also internal energy. What follows is my understanding of the distinction between the two, which I hope will be of use to all science teachers.
My own understanding of this topic has undergone some changes thanks to some fascinating (and ongoing) discussions via EduTwitter.
What I suggest is that we look at the phenomena in question through two lenses:
- a macroscopic lens, where we focus on things we can sense and measure directly in the laboratory
- a microscopic lens, where we focus on using the particle model to explain phase changes such as melting and freezing.
Thermal Energy Through the Macroscopic Lens
The enojis for thermal energy stores (as suggested by the Institute of Physics) look like this (Note: ‘enoji’ = ‘energy’ + ’emoji’; and that the…
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