An example of computer modeling to teach energy conservation concepts
Energy is a concept widely used in all areas of science but its meaning is not completely understood. It is a subtle concept and a straightforward definition is not available. There have been many studies on its meaning and on the different metaphors used to describe it. The present work uses a pragmatic approach to mechanical energy and its conservation by using computer simulations inspired on the work of Chabay and Sherwood. We report the results of modifying the calculus based University Physics sequence at Northeastern Illinois University. The modifications include a revision of the laboratory activities adding computer based activities to the more traditional hands on measurements. A more substantial change was the inclusion of mini-research projects that were part of the National Science Foundation - Improving Undergraduate STEM Education (NSF-IUSE) funded project Peer Enhanced Experiential Research in STEM (PEERS). In this manuscript, we discuss a student project that helps us understand energy, energy exchanges, and energy conservation. We discuss how the chosen student project helps in the understanding on how conserving potentials can lead to apparent non-energy conservation.
American Journal of Physics
Acioli, Paulo, "An example of computer modeling to teach energy conservation concepts" (2019). Physics Faculty Publications. 5.