This online workshop: “Fired up about Energy ” is based on ideas presented in Good Thinking! an original animated series developed by the Smithsonian Science Education Center (SSEC) and FableVision Studios as a professional development resource for K-12 science educators.
In this workshop, we’ll analyze a video in which Ms. Reyes is introducing her students to the concept of energy. Energy is a very important concept in science. The NGSS K-12 Science Framework identifies Energy as one of major disciplinary core ideas (DCIs) in physical sciences and it is also identified as one of the crosscutting concepts (CCCs) that can be used to connect all science content areas together. Because energy is such a common idea in many parts of our lives, the term energy is often used in many ways, which creates confusions and misconceptions about energy. However, it is important to remember that fundamentally all energy is the same. Energy can exist in many forms or types and can be transformed or converted from one form to another. Conservation of energy can also be a confusing concept. Students start by learning that energy is always conserved, even when it is converted from one form to another. Then later, they also learn that every time there is an interaction in a physical or biological system, that some energy is lost from the system. Both statements are true, the total energy is always conserved even if some energy in a specific system dissipates into the environment due to heat loss or other interactions. Understanding this concept hinges on understanding and clearly defining what is in the system and what counts as the outside environment. This workshop looks at the scientific concept of energy and at some of the challenges of helping students build a more complete understanding of energy as a property of a system.