npsm 새물리 New Physics : Sae Mulli

pISSN 0374-4914 eISSN 2289-0041


Research Paper

New Physics: Sae Mulli 2011; 61: 850-861

Published online September 30, 2011

Copyright © New Physics: Sae Mulli.

Ontological Analysis of the Concepts of Energy and Energy Conservation and Its Educational Implications

Yong Wook CHEONG*, Jinwoong SONG

Department of Physics Education, Seoul National University, Seoul 151-748



Although energy and energy conservation are fundamental concepts in physics, students have serious difficulty in learning these complex concepts. This study systematically analyzed the concept of energy and its conservation to get a comprehensive view of the concepts. For that purpose, we analyzed fundamental dynamical relationships in physics with a focus on the relationship among ontological categories such as system, property, and interaction. Based on the analysis, we discuss the epistemological aspect of energy concepts. Then, we extract six core ideas inherent in energy concepts and elaborate the meaning of each idea. Further, we discuss in detail two aspect of energy conservation: energy transfer and energy transformation. Through the analysis and discussion, we show that consideration of the ontological categories and of the relationships among them is essential for a comprehensive understanding of energy. Finally, based on the results of our study, we discuss the possible educational implications for teaching energy concepts.

Keywords: Energy, Energy conservation, Ontological category, Ontological causal relation, Dynamical relationship