June 14, 2015
June 14, 2015
June 17, 2015
Engineering Physics & Physics
26.353.1 - 26.353.14
Closing the gap between physics and calculus: Teaching innovations in an integrated courseThis study builds into bridging the gap between mathematics and physics by teaching anintegrated first-year college course of calculus and physics using Modeling Instruction andmodels and modeling perspective. This innovation involves redesigning the course content,combining teaching strategies, reshaping the classroom setting, and the use of technology.In this study 37 first-year engineering students were enrolled in the integrated physics andcalculus course. The research questions are: What elements of the physical and mathematicalmodels do students use in solving a complex real problem? How do students’ performancescompare in the final exam of this course to students in non-integrated physics and calculuscourses? To answer the first question, students worked collaboratively on a project that involvedthe analysis of an extreme bungee jump. Students’ performance in this project revealed: a)students’ integration of physical and mathematical models, b) robustness of students’ models andc) different representation used the solution. To answer the second research question, this studycompares students’ performance on the final exam as well as the results of concept inventorytests, for physics and for mathematics.As conclusions we can state that the more robust models the students’ constructed, the morehelpful they are in their problem solving. It was observed that students constructed physicalmodels that lead them to mathematical models that required numerical methods. The solving ofthe numerical methods using technology is part of the natural integration of physics, math andtechnology. Also, based on the final exam grades, students responded as well as students’enrolled in non-integrated courses indicating that the redesigned curriculum satisfies the contentrequirements of the physics and calculus courses. The faculty involved in this project stronglybelieves that the design of well-structured activities and the effective use of technology elicit theconnection between physics and mathematics.
Dominguez, A., & de la Garza Becerra, J. E. (2015, June), Closing the Gap Between Physics and Calculus: Use of Models in an Integrated Course Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.23692
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