GTG Energy Annual report – 2016

The energy issue has been repeatedly treated in seminars and conferences Girep by individual authors.

Since the Girep conference in Cyprus 2008 with the Symposium “Towards a vertical curriculum about energy starting from primary school and teacher education” (Chair: Marisa Michelini; Discussant: Paula Heron, including 6 Contributions), different members of the Girep community started to contribute in a coordinate ways to this topic. Promoted by Marisa Michelini, who shares leadership with Paula Heron, the GTG energy starts in 2010. It is one of the outcomes of the “Work-shop Teaching about energy: Which concepts should be taught at which educational level?”, held in Reims 2010, and organized and coordinated by Paula R. L. Heron and Marisa Michelini, with the cooperation of B.S. Eylon, Y. Lehavi, A. Stefanel. That WS involved more than 30 colleagues, that offered important contributions to the wide discussion. Two contributions of Girep members and a position papers was included as contribution of the WS. The WS has provided: A) two introductory presentations (the first including an overview of the approaches to energy in research literature, a brief report on 2008 Energy Workshop held in Girep Conference in Cyprus and a suggestion of problems to be considered for the WS discussion; the second presenting an overview on learning problems on the energy concept); B) a discussion in three big groups of the participants on teaching/learning energy in primary, low secondary and upper secondary school; C) A discussion on the main results of the Workshop emerging from the discussion organized. The report of the work-shop, and the related contributions are included in the selected paper of Reims congress [1] and a synthesis of that in the Istanbul WCPE proceedings [2].

Three important energy GTG initiatives have been organized in the Girep Congress

Jvaskila 2011 and Palermo 2014, and in the 1st WCPE in Istambul 2012.

The workshop “Teaching and learning the energy concept and teacher formation in primary school” hosted in the 2011 Jyväskylä GIREP conference and was organized and led by Federico Corni, Marisa Michelini and Lorenzo Santi. The program provided an introduction on the topic, followed by a synthesis of the Reims Position

Paper; two contributions about teaching and learning the concept of energy in primary school; group discussion about the emerged issues. The report of the work-shop is included in the Istanbul WCPE proceedings [3].

The SYMPOSIUM on “Teaching and Learning the Concept of Energy From Early Childhood School through University held in the Istanbul WCPE in 2012. It was organized by Marisa Michelini & Paula Heron and Lillian C. McDermott was the discussant. The symposim was organized in three parts: Part I: Teaching the Concept of Energy to Preschool and Primary School, including 4 contributions of 7 authors; Part II: Teaching the Concept of Energy to High School and University Students, including 4 contributions of 12 authors; Part III: Teaching Specific Aspects of the Concept of Energy From Social, and Historical Perspectives, including 6 contributions of 8 authors. More than 50 researchers attended each session of the symposium. The report of the symposium and the related contributions are included in the proceedings of the Istanbul WCPE 2012 [4].

The invited work-shop “Assessing student and teacher understanding of energy”, proposed by the GIREP Thematic Group Energy and coordinated by Paula Heron held in Palermo 2014. The workshop was for members of GIREP TG Energy (and any others who are interested) to analyze copies of questionnaires, etc., that they would use to assess student and teacher understanding of any aspect of energy. Workshop participants discussed in small groups the merits of the various questionnaires with the goal of reaching some level of agreement on the types of responses that would indicate that learning had taken place.

For the GIREP 2016-KRAKOW Seminar, the GTG energy proposed the Work Shop on “Bridging between theory and experiments in teaching energy”, leaders Y.Leahavi and A. Stefanel. The proposed abstract was the follow : Energy, unlike other concepts such as time, mass, or force, is commonly introduced in science teaching as a non-measurable, abstract concept which is related to theoretical considerations, formal calculations and mathematical representations. This promotes the development of a conception of energy as a vaguely defined non-unitary entity and renders relating it to observable processes and phenomena of everyday life difficult. Hence, the focus of the workshop will be to "normalize" energy by offering various approaches to teach it, similar to many other scientific concepts, as an empirical grounded concept. The workshop will comprise theoretical discussions as well as suggestions for hands-on and minds-on activities. The contributors are asked to demonstrate how they offer teachers at different school levels an empirical support for the theoretical statements related to energy, such as: A) energy forms/types, B) energy transfer, C) energy transformation, D) energy conservation, E) energy dissipation, as well as for its use as a crosscutting concept in addressing phenomena belonging to different scientific domains.

Due the few contributions received (3 of 6 authors), that WS on energy was merged with others (in particular that on Conceptual Lab and Mathematization).

23 august 2016
Alberto Stefanel

[1] Heron P R L, Michelini M (2014) Teaching about energy. Which concepts should be taught at which educational level?, in Teaching and Learning Physics today: Challenges? Benefits?, W. Kaminski, M. Michelini, (eds.), selected paper books of the International Conference GIREP-ICPE-MPTL 2010, Reims 22-27 August 2010, Udine: Lithostampa, pp. 284-285.
[2] Report of the workshop in GIREP Conference in France – Reims 2010 Teaching
about Energy. Which Concepts should be Taught at Which Educational Level?
Paula R.L. Heron, Marisa Michelini, Yaron Lehavi & Alberto Stefanel, in Tasar F.ed., Proceedings of The World Conference on Physics Education 2012, Pegem Akademiel [ISBN 978-605-364-658-7]pp.
[3] Report of the Workshop in GIREP-EPEC Conference in Finland on Teaching and Learning the Energy Concept and Teacher Formation in Primary School Federico Corni, Marisa Michelini & Lorenzo Santi, in Tasar F.ed., Proceedings of The World Conference on Physics Education 2012, Pegem Akademiel [ISBN 978-605-364-658-7], pp. 531-535.
[4] SYMPOSIUM on Teaching and Learning the Concept of Energy From Early Childhood School through University, Organizers: Marisa Michelini & Paula Heron; Discussant: Lillian C. McDermott, in Tasar F.ed., Proceedings of The WCPE 2012, Pegem Akademiel, pp. 449-515.