Interdisciplinary Lessons on Energy and Entropy

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This article presents ideas and narratives of an experiment on the concept of energy developed for an honors seminar on energy and a mechanics course. We argue that energy is an idea best taught in an interdisciplinary manner. While most physics courses explore ideas such as mechanical energy and conservation of energy, it is imperative that a more practical view of energy as fuel be addressed since this has particular relevance to our students ’future. We believe energy cannot be discussed without talking about entropy and that a proper introduction to energy can only be made by simultaneously discussing the idea of entropy. In this article, we present one lab activity related to carbon emissions from bicycling, designed to help elucidate this idea through the use of conceptual metaphors and embodied learning. The learning goals of the activity were to encourage students to understand that energy and entropy are intricately related and to have students gain a deeper understanding of the concepts by considering and discussing ways in which they apply to different contexts. We discuss the rationale, implementation, and outcomes of the activity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10-15
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of College Science Teaching
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2022


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