A Novel Approach to Energy Instruction in Middle and High Schoo

Leading team

Project members


The project’s goal is to develop and test a novel approach to energy instruction that does away with energy forms and energy transformations. It is a systems approach in which energy is a unitary entity that can only be transferred between systems. This approach requires the introduction of fields as “systems” to which energy can be transferred. The approach has been instantiated in a middle school unit and tested in several schools in the US, with great success.

Related articles

  • Nordine, J. C., et al. (2011). Transforming energy instruction in middle school to support integrated understanding and future learning. Science Education 95(4): 670-699.
  • Fortus, D., Sutherland Adams, L., Krajcik, J. & Reiser, B. (2015). Assessing the role of curriculum coherence in student learning about energy. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 52(10), pp. 1408-1425.
  • Fortus, D., Kubsch, M., Bielik, T., Krajcik, J.S., Lehavi, Y., Neumann, K., Nordine, J., Opitz, S., & Touitou, I. (2019). Systems, Transfer, and Fields: Evaluating a new Approach to Energy Instruction. Journal of Research in Science Teaching.
  • Kubsch, M., Nordine, J., Neumann, K., Fortus, D., & Krajcik, J.S. (2019). Probing the Relation between Students’ Integrated Knowledge and Knowledge-in-Use about Energy using Network Analysis. Eurasia Journal of Mathematics, Science and Technology Education, 15(8), em1728.
  • Nordine, J., Fortus, D., Krajcik, J., Lehavi, Y., Neumann, K., & Kubsch, M. (2019). Modelling Energy Transfers between Systems to Support Energy Knowledge in Use. Studies in Science Education 54(2), 177-206.