Contextual dimensions of the energy concept and implications for energy teaching and learning

Xiufeng Liu, Mihwa Park

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

There is much consensus in curriculum documents on the content dimensions of the energy concept in K-12 science teaching and learning. It is typically expected that students should develop knowledge and understanding on energy sources, energy forms, energy transfer, energy degradation, and energy conservation. Recent research has showed that developing knowledge and understanding on energy is confounded with contexts. Context is defined as backgrounds (e.g., personal, historical, social, political) in which energy knowledge and understandings are specified in content standards, taught in the classroom and assessed on standardized and other tests. This chapter extends current research on contexts by examining the cultural, social and political contexts of the energy concept. Based on an analysis of contexts associated with energy, this chapter proposes that teaching and learning about energy go beyond the canonical form of knowledge. Specifically, the social cultural contexts of the energy concept suggest that we need to approach energy from civics, history, economics, sociology, and psychology, in addition to science, math, engineering, and technology. Teaching and learning energy should also promote sustainable energy behaviors and attitude. Energy is not a static, nor an isolated concept; it is strongly rooted in society. Energy interacts with culture and politics; teaching and learning about energy should promote an energy worldview and energy civic literacy.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTeaching and Learning of Energy in K-12 Education
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Pages175-186
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9783319050171
ISBN (Print)9783319050164
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014

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