Harrer, Flood, and Wittmann on productive resources about energy

Benedikt W. Harrer, Virginia J. Flood, and Michael C. Wittmann

Productive resources in students’ ideas about energy: An alternative analysis of Watts’ original interview transcripts
Phys. Rev. ST Phys. Educ. Res. 9, 023101 – Published 10 September 2013

For over 30 years, researchers have investigated students’ ideas about energy with the intent of reforming instructional practice. In this pursuit, Watts contributed an influential study with his 1983 paper “Some alternative views of energy” [Phys. Educ. 18, 213 (1983)]. Watts’ “alternative frameworks” continue to be used for categorizing students’ non-normative ideas about energy. Using a resources framework, we propose an alternate analysis of student responses from Watts’ interviews. In our analysis, we show how students’ activated resources about energy are disciplinarily productive. We suggest that fostering seeds of scientific understandings in students’ ideas about energy may play an important role in their development of scientific literacy.