ERIC Number: EJ1036965
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 61
Students' Reasoning about "High-Energy Bonds" and ATP: A Vision of Interdisciplinary Education
Dreyfus, Benjamin W.; Sawtelle, Vashti; Turpen, Chandra; Gouvea, Julia; Redish, Edward F.
Physical Review Special Topics - Physics Education Research, v10 n1 p010115-1-010115-15 Jan-Jun 2014
As interdisciplinary courses are developed, instructors and researchers have to grapple with questions of how students should make connections across disciplines. We explore the issue of interdisciplinary reconciliation (IDR): how students reconcile seemingly contradictory ideas from different disciplines. While IDR has elements in common with other frameworks for the reconciliation of ideas across contexts, it differs in that each disciplinary idea is considered canonically correct within its own discipline. The setting for the research is an introductory physics course for biology majors that seeks to build greater interdisciplinary coherence and therefore includes biologically relevant topics such as adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and chemical bond energy. In our case-study data, students grapple with the apparent contradiction between the energy released when the phosphate bond in ATP is broken and the idea that an energy input is required to break a bond. We see students justifying context-dependent modeling choices, showing nuance in articulating how system choices may be related to disciplinary problems of interest. This represents a desired end point of IDR, in which students can build coherent connections between concepts from different disciplines while understanding each concept in its own disciplinary context. Our case study also illustrates elements of the instructional environment that play roles in the process of IDR.
Descriptors: Interdisciplinary Approach, Physics, Biology, Science Instruction, Scientific Concepts, Energy, Chemistry, Case Studies, Cognitive Processes, College Science, Undergraduate Study, Introductory Courses, Statistical Analysis, Qualitative Research, Interviews, Multiple Choice Tests, Essays, Video Technology
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Sponsor: National Science Foundation
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: DGE 0750616|DUE 11-22818