After a fascinating discussion led by the excellent Alex Weatherall (click here to participate in his Google doc Physics-fest — and follow @A_Weatherall on Twitter for more), I was thinking on possible teaching approaches for energy.
Although I think the IoP‘s (the UK’s Institute of Physics) approach is conceptually sound (see previous post here) and addresses many of the shortcomings in the traditional and time-hallowed “forms of energy” approach, many Physics teachers (myself included) are struggling to find direct and simple ways of communicating the highly nuanced content to students.
For example, to describe a filament bulb:
A (filament) light bulb is a device that takes energy in (input) through an electrical pathway (the current) to the thermal energy store of the filament (the metal is getting hotter) which transfers the energy through the radiation pathways of light (visible and IR). There is an increase in the thermal store of…
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