Energy is both a core idea and a crosscutting concept in science education. This study provides insights into the yet widely disregarded aspect of interdisciplinary energy learning. Specifically, we tested whether teaching along science standards with a focus on energy as a core idea and crosscutting concept enables students to progress from discipline-specific sets of energy understanding towards a crosscutting energy concept. For this purpose, the energy understanding in biology, chemistry, and physics contexts was assessed in N = 742 students from grades 6, 8 and 10. Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) was employed to compare latent models of discipline-specific energy understanding with models of cross-disciplinary energy understanding. The results indicate that students’ energy understanding was best represented by the cross-disciplinary model at all grade levels. A central finding of this study is that, from grade 6 onwards, students seem to have few problems with the application of a cross-disciplinary energy understanding. This observation stands in clear opposition to the discussions of prior research, in which incongruent conceptualizations of energy in different disciplines have been described as learning hurdles. As a conclusion, we suggest that the learning expectations connected to a crosscutting energy concept should be re-evaluated.
Titel in ÜbersetzungEnergie: Ein fachübergreifendes Basiskonzept? Die Struktur des Energieverständnisses über die Kontexte Biologie, Chemie und Physik
ZeitschriftResearch in Science Education
Seiten (von - bis)521–541
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 04.2019


  • Crosscutting concept, Disciplinary core idea, Energy, Knowledge integration

ID: 551799