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We are engaged in a number of nationally recognized projects in curriculum development/physics education research.
For more information about our relationship with other education research groups at Oregon State, please visit the websites for the Center for Research in Lifelong STEM Learning and for the ESTEME (Enhancing STEM Education) research cluster.
firstname.lastname@example.org (541) 250-0137 WNGR 401B
The Paradigms in Physics Program at Oregon State University is a restructuring of the traditional upper-division curriculum to be more modern, more flexible, and more inclusive. The focus of our current NSF-grant is to design materials to support faculty teaching more traditional courses who may wish to experiment with one or more pieces of our successful curriculum, be it a single activity or an entire course. Four main strands have been identified:
There is a "vector calculus gap" between the way vector calculus is usually taught by mathematicians and the way it is used by other scientists. This material is essential for physicists and some engineers due to its central role in the description of electricity and magnetism. The goals of this long-term project to understand this gap and to develop curricular materials to help bridge it from both the mathematics and physics sides. For more information, see the Vector Calculus Bridge Project Homepage
Emily van Zee
Emily.vanZee@science.oregonstate.edu (541) 737-1880 WNGR 267
Physics 111, Inquiring into Physical Phenomena, is a course for prospective early childhood, elementary, and middle school teachers in which participants learn how to enhance literacy learning as they engage students in inquiries into physical phenomena. Emphasis is on questioning, predicting, exploring, and discussing what one thinks and why. The course meets in a laboratory for 2.5 hours, twice a week, for ten weeks. A wiki at http://physics.oregonstate.edu/coursewikis/ph111/doku.php provides information about instructional strategies, activities, a day-by-day course summary, and links to papers and presentations. A student summary of the course was, “This class has opened up my eyes to the wonder that science brings... We were given opportunities to work in groups and bounce ideas off of one another constantly, but never given the answer to a problem…We were able to see these everyday phenomena happen before our eyes and then figure out why it was occurring based on what we already knew, what we could test and experiment, and what ideas would develop as we brainstormed...” This project was partially supported by National Science Foundation grant No. 0633752-DUE, Integrating Physics and Literacy Learning in a Physics Course for Elementary and Middle School Teachers, Henri Jansen, PI, Emily van Zee, CoPI, Department of Physics
The Physics Department has embarked on a project to reform the teaching of our lower-division, large-enrollment courses. We are using a team approach involving faculty, instructors, and teaching assistants.
This project currently involves:
An outcome of this focus has been working with a team of faculty from OSU and local community colleges to build a discourse community to share and develop effective activities and to share PCK through the discourse that we have about the course content.