A Case Study of What Experiences Contribute to The Ideas of Energy Held By Primary School Students in Trinidad and Tobago

  • Rawatee Maharaj Sharma The University of the West Indies
  • Amrit Sharma


This case study explored what experiences contribute to the ideas of energy held by 30 purposively selected primary school students from one primary school in Trinidad and Tobago. The 30 students were selected from across all levels of the primary system. The study used the Interview About Events (IAE) approach to explore students’ ideas about energy and further to reveal what experiences have led to them having these ideas. During the IAE exercise, flashcards of events and items were shown to students to prompt responses from them and to initiate a semi structured interview. Their interview responses were used to gauge what experiences contributed to the ideas they had. The findings showed that students ideas were as a result of many different experiences but that these experiences could be grouped into one of three categories: hearsay experiences, incomplete understandings,
classroom experiences. Most of the students at the lower primary levels held ideas about energy arising from either hearsay experiences or incomplete ideas, while many of the upper primary level students explained their ideas about energy by referring to their classroom experiences. This paper presents the findings of this small-scale exploration.


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How to Cite
SHARMA, Rawatee Maharaj; SHARMA, Amrit. A Case Study of What Experiences Contribute to The Ideas of Energy Held By Primary School Students in Trinidad and Tobago. European Journal of Physics Education, [S.l.], v. 5, n. 4, p. 42-53, feb. 2017. ISSN 1309-7202. Available at: <http://eu-journal.org/index.php/EJPE/article/view/74>. Date accessed: 22 feb. 2024.