Science & Education

, 17:75 | Cite as

The Concepts of Heat and Temperature: The Problem of Determining the Content for the Construction of an Historical Case Study which is Sensitive to Nature of Science Issues and Teaching–Learning Issues

  • K.C. de Berg


Historical case studies of scientific concepts are a useful medium for showing how scientific ideas originate and how they change over time. They are thus a useful tool for conveying knowledge about the nature of science. This paper focuses on the concepts of heat and temperature and discusses some issues related to choosing the content for a historical case study which incorporates not only nature of science perspectives but understandings related to what we know about the teaching and learning of these concepts. The case study is designed for first-year university chemistry students as an introduction to their study of thermodynamics. The paper includes a general chemistry textbook analysis of the heat and temperature concepts and a discussion of the caloric theory of heat, thermometry, and a brief survey of how the energy concept transformed our understanding of heat and temperature.


Latent Heat Heat Capacity Thermal Energy Absolute Zero Internal Energy 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Arnold M., Millar R. (1996). Learning the Scientific Story: A Case Study in the Teaching and Learning of Elementary Thermodynamics. Science Education 80(3): 249–281CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Atkins P. (2003). Galileo’s Finger. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  3. Black, J.: 1803, Lectures on the Elements of Chemistry – Volume 1, John Robison, Edinburgh, in: J.B. Conant (ed.), 1951, Harvard Case Histories in Experimental Science, Harvard University Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  4. Board of Studies: 2000, The NSW HSC Chemistry Syllabus, Sydney, NSW.Google Scholar
  5. Carlton K. (2000). Teaching about Heat and Temperature. Physics Education 35(2): 101–105CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Chalmers A.F. (1982). What is This Thing Called Science?, 2nd edn. University of Queensland Press, St.LuciaGoogle Scholar
  7. Chang H. (2004), Inventing Temperature. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  8. Chang R. (1994), Chemistry, 5th edn. McGraw-Hill, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  9. Christie M., Christie J.R. (2000). “Laws” and “Theories” in Chemistry Do Not Obey the Rules. In: Bhushan N., Rosenfeld S. (eds) Of Minds and Molecules. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  10. Clausius R. (1857). On the Nature of the Motion Which We Call Heat. Annalen 50: 108–127Google Scholar
  11. Clough, M.: 2005, ‘Learners’ Responses to the Demands of Conceptual Change: Considerations for Effective NOS Instruction’, Paper presented at the 8th IHPST Conference, July, University of Leeds, England.Google Scholar
  12. de Berg K.C. (1992). Mathematics in Science: The Role of the History of Science in Communicating the Significance of Mathematical Formalism in Science. Science & Education 1(1): 77–87CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. de Berg K.C. (1995). Revisiting the Pressure–Volume Law in History–What Can it Teach Us About the Emergence of Mathematical Relationships in Science?. Science & Education 4: 47–64CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. de Berg K.C. (1997). The Development of the Concept of Work: A Case where History Can Inform Pedagogy. Science & Education 6: 511–527CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Duschl R.A. (1994). Research on the History and Philosophy of Science. In: Gabel D. (eds) Handbook of Research on Science Teaching and Learning. Macmillan, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  16. Erickson G., Tiberghien A. (1985). Heat and Temperature. In: Driver R., Guesne E., Tiberghien A. (eds) Children’s Ideas in Science. Open University Press, Milton KeynesGoogle Scholar
  17. Fox R. (1971) The Caloric Theory of Gases-from Lavoisier to Regnault. Clarendon Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  18. Giere R.N. (1988). Explaining Science–A Cognitive Approach. University of Chicago Press, ChicagoGoogle Scholar
  19. Goedhart M.J., Kaper W. (2002). From Chemical Energetics to Chemical Thermodynamics. In: Gilbert J.K., De Jong O., Justi R., Treagust D.F., Van driel J.H. (eds) Chemical Education: Towards Research-based Practice. Kluwer Academic Publishers, DordrechtGoogle Scholar
  20. Halliday D., Resnick R. (1963), Physics for Students of Science and Engineering. john Wiley & Sons, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  21. Herron M.D. (1969). Nature of Science: Panacea or Pandora’s box. Journal of Research in Science Teaching 6: 105–107CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Holton G., Brush S.G. (2001). Physics, the Human Adventure. Rutgers University Press, New BrunswickGoogle Scholar
  23. Hutchinson J.S. (2000). Teaching Introductory Chemistry using Concept Development Case Studies: Interactive and Inductive Learning. University Chemistry Education 4(1): 3–9Google Scholar
  24. Irwin A.R. (2000). Historical Case Studies: Teaching the NOS in Context. Science Education 84(1): 5–26CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Johnston A.H. (1993). The Development of Chemistry Teaching: A Changing Response to Changing Demand. Journal of Chemical Education 70(9): 701–705CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Johnstone A.H. (2000). Chemical Education Research: Where from Here?. University Chemistry Education 4(1): 34–38Google Scholar
  27. Justi R., Gilbert J. (2002). Models and Modelling in Chemical Education. In: Gilbert J.K., De Jong O., Justi R., Treagust D.F., Van driel J.H. (eds) Chemical Education: Towards Research-based Practice. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, pp. 47–68Google Scholar
  28. Kotz J.C., Treichel P. (1999). Chemistry and Chemical Reactivity, 4th edn. Saunders, Fort WorthGoogle Scholar
  29. Lederman N.G., McComas W.F., Matthews M.R. (1998) Editorial. Science and Education 7:507–509CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Masterton W.L., Hurley C.N. (2001). Chemistry-Principles and Reactions, 4th edn. Harcourt, Fort WorthGoogle Scholar
  31. Matthews M.R. (1992). History, Philosophy, and Science Teaching: The present Approchement. Science and Education 1: 11–47CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Matthews M.R. (1994). Science Teaching: The Role of History and Philosophy of Science. Routledge, LondonGoogle Scholar
  33. McComas W.F., Almazroa H., Clough M.P. (1998). The Nature of Science in Science Education: An Introduction. Science and Education 7: 511–532CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Metz, D., Klassen, S., McMillan, B., Clough, M. & Olsen, J.: 2005, ‘Building a Foundation for the Use of Historical Narratives’, Paper presented at the 8th IHPST Conference, July, University of Leeds, England.Google Scholar
  35. Moore J.W., Stanitski C.L., Jurs P.C. (2002). Chemistry–The Molecular Science. Harcourt, Fort WorthGoogle Scholar
  36. Olmstead J., Williams G.M. (1994). Chemistry–The molecular science. Mosby, St. LouisGoogle Scholar
  37. Petrucci, R.H. & Harwood, W.S.: 1993, General Chemistry–Principles and Modern Applications 6th edn, Macmillan, New York.Google Scholar
  38. Roller D. (1957). The Early Developments of the Concepts of Temperature and Heat. In: Conant J.B. (eds) Harvard Case Histories in Experimental Science (Volume 1). Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MaGoogle Scholar
  39. Silberberg M. (2006). Chemistry–The Molecular Nature of Matter and Change, 4th edn. McGraw-Hill, BostonGoogle Scholar
  40. Spencer J.N., Bodner G.M., Rickard L.H. (2003). Chemistry-Structure and Dynamics, 2nd edn. john Wiley & Sons, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  41. Stavy R., Berkovitz B. (1980). Cognitive Conflict as a Basis for Teaching Quantitative Aspects of the Concept of Temperature. Science Education 64(5): 679–692CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Taber K.S. (2000). Finding the Optimum Level of Simplification: The Case of Teaching About Heat and Temperature. Physics Education 35(5): 320–325CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Umland J.B., Bellama J.M. (1999). General Chemistry, 3rd edn. Brooks/Cole, Pacific GroveGoogle Scholar
  44. Van der Star P. (eds) (1983) Fahrenheit’s Letters to Leibniz and Boerhave. Rodopi, AmsterdamGoogle Scholar
  45. Van Driel, J.H.: 1998, ‘Teachers’ Knowledge About the Nature of Models and Modeling in Science’, Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the National Association for Research in Science Education, San Diego, 19–22 April.Google Scholar
  46. Wandersee J.H., Baudoin Griffard P. (2002). The History of Chemistry: Potential and Actual Contributions to Chemical Education. In: Gilbert J.K. et al (eds) Chemical Education: Towards Research-based Practice. Kluwer Academic Publishers, DordrechtGoogle Scholar
  47. Whitten K.W., Davis R.E., Peck M.L. (2000). General Chemistry with Qualitative Analysis, 6th edn. Saunders, PhiladelphiaGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ChemistryAvondale CollegeCooranbongAustralia

Personalised recommendations