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Investigative Science Learning Environment: Turning our students into collaborative participants in the practice of physics

Event Details

Event Dates: 

Wednesday, February 17, 2016 - 4:00pm

Seminar Location: 

  • Duane Physics Room G1B20

Speaker Name(s): 

Eugenia Etkina

Speaker Affiliation(s): 

Rutgers University
Seminar Type/Subject

Scientific Seminar Type: 

  • Physics Department Colloquium

Event Details & Abstract: 

Scientists and especially physicists have their own, unique ways of developing new knowledge, solving new problems, and communicating about what they do. These form a set of cultural norms and practices that we call “physics.” Can students become enculturated into physics in a one year introductory course, or does “doing physics” remain the exclusive purview of professionals who have acquired their skills through years of training? Development of the Next Generation Science Standards, revisions to AP courses, and a new MCAT suggest that these aspects of physics (and other sciences) are as valuable as the final product of scientific labor—concepts and mathematical representations—that traditionally have been the sole focus of science courses. Science practices are the central elements of all these innovations. In my talk I will describe Investigative Science Learning environment - an instructional philosophy that allows us to make these practices a centerpiece of learning physics without losing conceptual and mathematical focus. I will also discuss ways to assess these complex practices.