A comparison of the treatment of heat and temperature at the middle school level in Germany/Bavaria and Canada/Manitoba

Thumbnail Image
Sawatzky, Victor Frank
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
This thesis compares curricular and textual documents from Germany/Bavaria and Canada/Manitoba with regard to the central topic of heat and temperature. Such a comparison reveals the importance of recognizing the differences in age and societal background when selecting the concepts that are to be studied. The local environment of the children must be considered when chosing the exemplars to illustrate the scientific concepts. The concepts of heat and temperature were considered to be equivalent until the mid 18th century when the development of accurate thermometers made it possible for scientists to differentiate between these two concepts. It is with these two concepts that the discarded "caloric" theory of heat can be used effectively in teaching students the difference between heat and temperature. By using the caloric theory, teachers can, in a sense, replicate the historical development as they teach these concepts. The kinetic molecular theory can then be introduced as a natural progression to present-day scientific understanding. (Abstract shortened by UMI.)