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Abstract Title: Embracing subjectivity in physics to support student empowerment
Abstract: Descriptions of the Nature of Science are in contrast with the widespread notion that "physics" is objective, unaffected by human influence. To better understand students' thinking about the nature of physics, we taught a lesson from the Underrepresentation Curriculum and collected written responses before and after in-class discussion about the nature of physics. In this manuscript, we share student responses about the presence of subjectivity in physics and relate them to commonly accepted ideas about the Nature of Science. Prior to discussing subjectivity, students tend to describe physics without reference to human influence. Afterwards, many students identify that while physical properties may be objective, human interpretation, biases, and values influence physics as well. Some students also consider our understanding of physics as incomplete. These discussions are a first step towards increasing awareness of structural and individual subjectivity.  We believe this will ultimately support a more equitable, robust scientific community.
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster Presentation
Session Time: Poster Session 2 Room D
Poster Number: 2D-7
Contributed Paper Record: Contributed Paper Information
Contributed Paper Download: Download Contributed Paper

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Andrea Wooley
Western Washington University
and Co-Presenter(s)
Randeep Basara, Seattle University
Abigail Daane, South Seattle College