Introducing the concept of energy through heat and temperature by means of infrared cameras.
Monti F., Daffara C.
We projected a learning path centred on the relation of the concepts of heat and temperature with the concept of energy and proposed it to a class of prospective primary school teachers (PPTs). The intervention extends a previously developed approach based on the use of online sensors so as to highlight the concept of energy through the use of thermal cameras. We investigated through worksheets and interviews how much the proposed path, activities and methodologies can help PPTs in learning and teaching the concepts of heat, temperature and energy as related to the use of online sensors and/or of thermal cameras. We found that the comprehension of heating and cooling as processes leading to a common equilibrium state is better gained using the online sensors, indicating that these processes are better understood in terms of measuring temperature, while the comprehension of heat in terms of energy transfer is more easily grasped through visualization by means of a thermal camera. The reason of this exclusive correspondence can be brought back to the the centrality of the idea of flow and of an abstract entity that is transferred and exchanged to the concept of energy and heat.