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While many advances in teaching of science content and concepts have been made in the last decades, educators and researchers are increasingly focusing on students’ reasoning skills. Characterization of student sensemaking and development of pedagogies to support it has become a significant trend in Physics Education Research. However, the definition and assessment of sensemaking remains an important challenge.
In this seminar, I will lay out my plan for researching instruction that supports student sensemaking. I describe three threads that link my past research in student sensemaking with OSU’s Paradigms program to expand both the theoretical and applied work in this area. Those threads are: Science identity as a mediator of use of real-world knowledge in physics; The influence of epistemic agency on sensemaking; and Development of students’ epistemic complexity in the paradigms program.