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Abstract Title: Intuitive ontologies for energy in physics
Abstract: The nature of energy is not typically an explicit topic of physics instruction.  Nonetheless, participants in physics courses that involve energy are constantly saying what kind of thing they think energy is, both verbally and nonverbally.  The premise of an embodied-cognition theoretical perspective is that we understand the kinds of things that may exist in the world (ontology) in terms of sensorimotor experiences such as object permanence and movement.  We offer examples of intuitive ontologies for energy that we have observed in classroom contexts, including energy as a quasi-material substance; as a means of activation; as a fuel; and as an ineffable quantity which is not subject to further analysis.  In the classroom, multiple and overlapping metaphors for energy complement one another in complex representations of physical phenomena.
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster

Contributed Poster

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Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Rachel E. Scherr
Seattle Pacific University
3307 Third Avenue West
Seattle, WA 98119
and Co-Presenter(s)
Hunter G. Close, Texas State University - San Marcos
Sarah B. McKagan, McKagan Enterprises