The Energy Project at Seattle Pacific University has developed representations that embody the substance metaphor and support learners in conserving and tracking energy as it flows from object to object and changes form. Such representations enable detailed modeling of energy dynamics in complex physical processes. We assess student learning by means of representations that learners invent to explain energy dynamics in specific real-world scenarios. Refined versions of these learner-generated representations have proven valuable for our own teaching, physics understanding, and research.
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