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Students view of Energy Interview project by Monica Nawrocki & Megan Bouchard Introduction In this project we interviewed students on their knowledge of ENERGY and the ENERGY CYCLE

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Students view of Energy

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students view of energy

Students view of Energy

Interview project by

Monica Nawrocki &

Megan Bouchard

  • In this project we interviewed students on their knowledge of ENERGY and the ENERGY CYCLE
  • Through various questions (at different levels of difficulty) we were able to determine the students level of knowledge (as compared to Benchmarks) and the misconceptions students had about energy.
  • We interviewed 6 students (4 boys and 2 girls)
  • Two were special education students (not revealed until end of interview)
  • Students were picked randomly by the teacher
methods of the interview
Methods of the interview
  • 2 interviewers to a every pair of students
  • Interviews performed in a quiet cafeteria away from other students
  • Correct answers never given, only probing questions
  • Students were told there was no wrong answers and that the questions were just a survey
  • Interviews lasted about 20 minutes
    • About 20 verbal questions
    • One worksheet that required drawing the energy cycle
  • First part of the interview dealt with energy in terms of food and the body
  • Broad questions gave us broad answers
  • General consensus is that the students believe that people get energy from food.
  • When asked where food (a burger) gets it energy from they were able to say that:
    • It comes from a cow, cow gets energy from grass, and grass gets its energy from the sun.
  • None of the students were familiar with the process of photosynthesis
results continued
Results continued….
  • In general, they all believed that plants need sunlight to survive. If there was no sunlight there would be no plants.
  • However, not all of them made the connection that without plants people would not be able to survive.
  • Students were able to make connections between producers, herbivores, carnivores, omnivores, decomposers and the sun. They were given a worksheet and they were able to make the following connections: (see next slide)

Students were asked to draw arrows to indicate the circular flow of energy from the sun to decomposers







results continued8
Results continued….
  • The second part of the interview focused on electricity and contained more advanced questions
  • Students had more difficulty with this part but still were able to answer some questions
  • They all agreed that light in the classroom was a form of energy called electricity and were able to give other examples of things that use electricity.
  • However, they were not able to identify the source of energy that gives us electricity (which was what we had expected because it is beyond their level of supposed knowledge.)
example of the type of questions asked during interview
Example of the type of questions asked during interview
  • What is energy?
  • What would the world be like without sunlight?
  • Do plants need energy? Do we need energy?
  • Where do plants/people get their energy?
  • Do lights in your classroom use energy? What kind?
  • How do people use electricity?
  • Where do fuels to make energy come from?
what did we learn
What did we learn?
  • Without proper knowledge misconceptions and labels can form easily about students
    • During the interviews we predicted the wrong students as having a learning disability
  • Students show their knowledge in different ways
    • Some did well with the visual drawing, some with speaking, and others with writing
what did we learn11
What did we learn?
  • Every student deserves the same expectations and experience
    • A diverse classroom does not mean one student should get better treatment over the other
    • Even with different learning abilities, each student can learn the same materials if presented in a creative manner.
  • If you have any questions or you would like to know more about our interview project feel free to email us at : or