A semiotic approach for the teaching of energy: linking mechanical work and heat with the world of objects and events



In this study an effort is made to provide links between the world of physics (theoretical) model about energy transfer with the world of objects and events. Taking into account a holistic approach on energy based on conservation of energy principle and a semiotic approach based on the multimodality of teaching, it was investigated whether a ‘no contact, contact plus change’ pattern can signify in the material world the separation and the interaction between the physical systems and the changes within the systems. An analysis of a teacher’s actions from a physics lesson and a physics textbook concerning mechanical work and heat as mechanisms of energy transfer was made, identifying the no contact, contact + change pattern in speech, written text, bodily acts and inscriptions. It was shown that this semiotic schema has the potential to transfer the physics model about mechanical work and heat to the world of objects and events avoiding ambiguities that create conceptual blending between transformation and transfer of energy. In addition, illustrating the idea of change by movement for mechanical work (position change) and by haptic contact or different colours for heat (temperature change) might be of great importance in teaching activities about transfer of energy. 


Transfer of energy, mechanical work, heat, semiotic actions, inscriptions

DOI: https://doi.org/10.26220/rev.3563

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Re S M ICT E | ISSN: 1792-3999 (electronic), 1791-261X (print) | Laboratory of Didactics of Sciences, Mathematics and ICT, Department of Educational Sciences and Early Childhood Education - University of Patras.

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