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Abstract Title: Unpacking the source of student interest in an IPLS course
Abstract: Effectively teaching an Introductory Physics for the Life Sciences (IPLS) course means engaging life science students in a subject for which they may not have considerable preexisting interest. We have found that the inclusion of authentic life science examples supports students whose initial interest in physics is less developed, but that different examples and models vary in their effectiveness at engaging student interest. In this talk we begin to unpack this variability, exploring why some life science examples may be more successful than others at sparking and sustaining student interest. By analyzing data from (1) survey instruments assessing student interest in particular life science examples, and (2) interviews conducted with students before and after instruction, we identify features of our IPLS course that appear to be particularly important for fostering student engagement. We suggest that some of these features might also foster student interest in more traditional introductory physics courses.
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster Presentation

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Benjamin D. Geller
Swarthmore College
500 College Ave.
Swarthmore, PA 19081
Phone: 7174970878
and Co-Presenter(s)
Chandra Turpen, University of Maryland, College Park
K. Ann Renninger, Swarthmore College
Panchompoo Wisittanawat, Swarthmore College
Catherine H. Crouch, Swarthmore College