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ERIC Number: EJ1008263
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Jun
Pages: 9
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 24
ISSN: ISSN-1931-7913
From "F = ma" to Flying Squirrels: Curricular Change in an Introductory Physics Course
O'Shea, Brian; Terry, Laura; Benenson, Walter
CBE - Life Sciences Education, v12 n2 p230-238 Jun 2013
We present outcomes from curricular changes made to an introductory calculus-based physics course whose audience is primarily life sciences majors, the majority of whom plan to pursue postbaccalaureate studies in medical and scientific fields. During the 2011-2012 academic year, we implemented a Physics of the Life Sciences curriculum centered on a draft textbook that takes a novel approach to teaching physics to life sciences majors. In addition, substantial revisions were made to the homework and hands-on components of the course to emphasize the relationship between physics and the life sciences and to help the students learn to apply physical intuition to life sciences-oriented problems. Student learning and attitudinal outcomes were assessed both quantitatively, using standard physics education research instruments, and qualitatively, using student surveys and a series of postsemester interviews. Students experienced high conceptual learning gains, comparable to other active learning-based physics courses. Qualitatively, a substantial fraction of interviewed students reported an increased interest in physics relative to the beginning of the semester. Furthermore, more than half of students self-reported that they could now relate physics topics to their majors and future careers, with interviewed subjects demonstrating a high level of ability to come up with examples of how physics affects living organisms and how it helped them to better understand content presented in courses in their major. (Contains 1 table and 1 figure.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A