Polytechnic University of Valencia Congress, INNODOCT 2018

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A Historical Approach to Teaching Work and Energy in Upper Secondary Education
Jarier Wannous, Peter Horváth

Last modified: 07-05-2019


In the context of three-dimensional learning, it is important for students to discover new concepts through different activities and experiments. The most common approach to teaching work and energy is defining work using intuitive ideas of students and then continuing by deriving potential and kinetic energy from work. In our paper, we have decided to analyze how the concepts of work and energy, as understood in mechanics, developed in history, while concentrating on experiments that lead to their discovery. Using facts learned from our historical analysis, we propose a different approach to introducing the concepts of work and energy based on discovery through experiments. The activities used in our approach are discussed in detail in our paper, where they are arranged to parallel the historical development of the aforementioned concepts. We believe the approach can offer teachers an alternative where students can discover work and energy on their own, and understand their value in physics.


Work; Energy; Historical approach; Three-dimensional learning; mechanics

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