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Physical Review Physics Education Research
written by Benjamin D. Geller, Julia Svoboda Gouvea, Benjamin W. Dreyfus, Vashti Sawtelle, and Edward F. Redish
Students in one discipline often receive their scientific training from faculty in other disciplines. As a result of tacit disciplinary differences, especially as implemented in courses at the introductory college level, such students can have difficulty in understanding the nature of the knowledge they are learning in a discipline that they do not identify as their own. We developed a course in introductory physics for life science (IPLS) students that attempts to help them cross disciplinary boundaries. By analyzing student reasoning during recitation sections and interviews, we identified three broad ways in which students in our course meaningfully crossed boundaries: (i) by unpacking biochemical heuristics in terms of underlying physical interactions, (ii) by locating both biochemical and physical concepts within a mathematical bridging expression, and (iii) by coordinating functional and mechanistic explanations for the same biological phenomenon. Drawing on episodes from case-study interviews and in-class problem-solving sessions, we illustrate how each of these types of boundary crossing involves the coordination of students' conceptual and epistemological resources from physics, chemistry, and biology in distinct but complementary ways. Together, these boundary crossing categories form a theoretical framework for classifying student coherence seeking. We explore how the IPLS course helps our life science students fill in the gaps that exist between traditional introductory courses, by finding and exploring questions that might otherwise fall through disciplinary cracks. By identifying these types of explanatory coherence, we hope to suggest ways of inviting life science students to participate in physics and see physics as a tool for making sense of the living world.
Physical Review Physics Education Research: Volume 15, Issue 2, Pages 020142
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Classical Mechanics
- General
Education - Applied Research
- Curriculum Development
- Pedagogy
Education - Basic Research
- Problem Solving
= Heuristics
General Physics
- Physics Education Research
Other Sciences
- Life Sciences
- Lower Undergraduate
- Reference Material
= Report
PER-Central Type Intended Users Ratings
- PER Literature
- Administrators
- Researchers
- Educators
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Free access
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This material is released under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license.
Rights Holder:
American Physical Society
DOI:
10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.15.020142
Keywords:
IPLS, Introductory Physics for Life Sciences, cross-disciplinary courses, multidisciplinary courses
Record Creator:
Metadata instance created June 15, 2020 by Lyle Barbato
Record Updated:
February 1, 2023 by Caroline Hall
Last Update
when Cataloged:
November 12, 2019
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AIP Format
B. Geller, J. Gouvea, B. Dreyfus, V. Sawtelle, and E. Redish, , Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res. 15 (2), 020142 (2019), WWW Document, (https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.15.020142).
AJP/PRST-PER
B. Geller, J. Gouvea, B. Dreyfus, V. Sawtelle, and E. Redish, Bridging the gaps: How students seek disciplinary coherence in introductory physics for life science, Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res. 15 (2), 020142 (2019), <https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.15.020142>.
APA Format
Geller, B., Gouvea, J., Dreyfus, B., Sawtelle, V., & Redish, E. (2019, November 12). Bridging the gaps: How students seek disciplinary coherence in introductory physics for life science. Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res., 15(2), 020142. Retrieved May 27, 2024, from https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.15.020142
Chicago Format
Geller, B, J. Gouvea, B. Dreyfus, V. Sawtelle, and E. Redish. "Bridging the gaps: How students seek disciplinary coherence in introductory physics for life science." Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res. 15, no. 2, (November 12, 2019): 020142, https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.15.020142 (accessed 27 May 2024).
MLA Format
Geller, Benjamin, Julia Svoboda Gouvea, Benjamin Dreyfus, Vashti Sawtelle, and Edward F. Redish. "Bridging the gaps: How students seek disciplinary coherence in introductory physics for life science." Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res. 15.2 (2019): 020142. 27 May 2024 <https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.15.020142>.
BibTeX Export Format
@article{ Author = "Benjamin Geller and Julia Svoboda Gouvea and Benjamin Dreyfus and Vashti Sawtelle and Edward F. Redish", Title = {Bridging the gaps: How students seek disciplinary coherence in introductory physics for life science}, Journal = {Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res.}, Volume = {15}, Number = {2}, Pages = {020142}, Month = {November}, Year = {2019} }
Refer Export Format

%A Benjamin Geller %A Julia Svoboda Gouvea %A Benjamin Dreyfus %A Vashti Sawtelle %A Edward F. Redish %T Bridging the gaps: How students seek disciplinary coherence in introductory physics for life science %J Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res. %V 15 %N 2 %D November 12, 2019 %P 020142 %U https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.15.020142 %O application/pdf

EndNote Export Format

%0 Journal Article %A Geller, Benjamin %A Gouvea, Julia Svoboda %A Dreyfus, Benjamin %A Sawtelle, Vashti %A Redish, Edward F. %D November 12, 2019 %T Bridging the gaps: How students seek disciplinary coherence in introductory physics for life science %J Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res. %V 15 %N 2 %P 020142 %8 November 12, 2019 %U https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.15.020142


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