Energy and Change

Increasing emphasis in science education has been placed on making fundamental and everyday issues, from pollution to global warming, accessible to a wider range of students. Essentially, pupils are expected to make sense of processes of change. Despite being of central importance to science, teachers and textbooks lack a way of explaining change that makes sense for this purpose.

‘Energy and change’ is a set of resources for teachers of secondary school science and their students. The aim is to provide commonsense ways of talking about thermodynamic ideas and explaining why things happen.

The approach is intended to be both intelligible to students and useful to teachers, as well as being scientifically consistent. This means that it should help all students to understand the world, while allowing those who later specialise in science to build on the ideas in a natural way.


“This is innovative material that anyone teaching about energy should read and think about.”
Times Educational Supplement

“Every once in a while there is something I have learned to call a paradigm shift. These booklets are the result of an ASE and Nuffield sponsored project to help such a shift on its way – from those who ponder the philosophy of science to those who pass it on in the classroom.”
Physics Education

Download the resources

Energy and Change: Introducing the Approach
This booklet is for those who want to find out more about the general approach, the abstract pictures used and the scientific ideas behind the approach.
Energy and Change: Activities for the Classroom
This booklet is for those who want to pick out some activities to use in the classroom, and to find out how the ideas can fit into the existing curriculum.
Energy and Change: Background Stories for Teachers
This booklet is for those who want to read about some scientific topics and to see how they can be looked at in a new light.
Energy and Change: Support Materials
This pack is divided into ten themes, each containing about eight student activities with accompanying teachers’ notes.
Support Materials: Introduction
Theme A: Mixing and ‘unmixing’

Theme B: Hot and cold

Theme C: Gases, liquids, solids

Theme D: Life

Theme E: Energy from hot to cold

Theme F: Particles and change

Theme G: Up and down in complexity

Theme H: Fuels and food

Theme I: How much energy?

Theme J: Flows of matter and energy


cover support
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