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[Channel-talkenergy] Session 1: Science in Focus: Energy

From: Neal Utesch <utescnea@sergeant-bluff.k12.ia.us>
Date: Mon Feb 11 2008 - 21:47:42 EST
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I am looking for someone to talk with about the information in session 1
of the Science in Focus:Energy class. In the first session they talked
about defining energy and how children, adults, and even scientist can
struggle with a clear understanding of what energy is. They all know
that it is a process but are unclear on the components that drive that
energy that they talk about. This session posed a question about the
metaphors used to describe different types of energy and asked which
ones I thought were the easiest to understand. Before they talked about
energy and what is was, they came up with a clear definition and how
energy can be related to work. In the movie, they stated that work
equals force times distance moved. They showed an example of a man
pushing a car to show how that definition can clearly identify when
energy or work is being done and when it is not.

Pushing a car—work
Rock in front of wheel-- to a scientist John is not doing work, because
the car is not moving.

They talked about evidence of energy being around us each day, such as
cars moving, water running, etc... and how force of an object can cause
energy to occur.

1. Changes in nature – force applied to a moving object and work is
2. Cannot hold energy or feel it directly.
3. Energy is what a tank of gas, running dog, and charged battery,
have in common, an ability to do work.

They explained that anytime there is a change in the universe is when
energy occurs. All energy is powered by the sun directly or indirectly.

They defined the different types of energy that we encounter in our
lives and the sources of that energy. Those types of energy are
Mechanical, Heat, sound, light, chemical energy are all types of energy
that we are familiar with and use in our daily lives. The Energy
sources are: wind, water, oil, gas, wood, atoms, electrons, protons,
electricity, etc...

With all that information presented I found the following metaphor the
easiet to comprehend. The metaphor was developed when a a food
specialist attempted to introduce energy and how it is introduced to our
bodies to help us do work to some elementary aged students. They could
Define what an energy source is and how it is used—batteries, gas for a
car, and a balloon with air. They had to identify what the energy user
would use and the source of the energy was.

The students had no trouble talking about mechanical objects and how
they obtained energy, but when it came to humans and animals they had to
have the following pointed out to the:
This was a metaphor for life and showed how the food energy pyramid was
a clear representation of how energy can be transfered, used, and

Hope to hear a response from someone---My name is Neal Utesch.

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Received on Mon Feb 11 16:09:32 2008


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