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Plenary 2: E Swinbank

Plenary 2: E Swinbank

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  • 1. Teaching physics in context Elizabeth Swinbank Centre for Innovation and Research in Science Education University of York UK NZIP 2011
  • 2. 1 Research evidence Summary of research evidence on context-led science teaching 2 Salters Horners Advanced Physics A context-led course developed in the UK Key features of the development Some examples of activities for students 3 Responses to SHAP Views of students and teachers
  • 3. Traditional approach Start with the physics principles Students ask ‘why are we doing this?’ Later they might find out Context-led (STS) Start with a context (story/problem/application) Explore some relevant physics
  • 4.
    • Why use contexts?
    • To increase student interest and motivation
    • To provide a structure for teaching and learning
    • To develop practical and other activities
    • To illustrate possible career opportunities
    • To generate a ‘spiral curriculum’
  • 5.
    • Why use contexts?
    • To increase student interest and motivation
    • To provide a structure for teaching and learning
    • To develop practical and other activities
    • To illustrate possible career opportunities
    • To generate a ‘spiral curriculum’
    • Does it work?
  • 6. The EPPI (Evidence, Policy and Practice Initiative) Reviews (1) What evidence is there from controlled evaluation studies that context-based courses improve understanding of science ideas and the attitudes to science of 11 to 18-year-old pupils, and what are the implications of the evidence for initial teacher training courses? Bennett, J., Lubben, F. and Hogarth, S. (2003) Bringing science to life: a synthesis of the research evidence on the effects of context-based and STS approaches to science teaching. Science Education , 91 (3), 347-370.
  • 7. The EPPI Reviews Systematic map of research studies: • Most work has taken place in the USA, the UK, the Netherlands and Canada. • Pupils in the 11 to16 age range are the target for the majority of the interventions. • There are comparable levels of interest in the effects of such approaches on both understanding of ideas and attitudes to science or science lessons. • A diversity of measures are used to assess effects on understanding and attitudes. • 26 studies have drawn on designs which use control groups.
  • 8. The 2003 In-depth Review In-depth review focused on controlled evaluation studies which reported on both understanding and attitudes. • There is some evidence to support the claim that context-based approaches motivate pupils in their science lessons . • There is evidence to support the claim that such approaches also foster more positive attitudes to science more generally . • There is good evidence to support the claim that context-based approaches do not adversely affect pupils’ understanding of scientific ideas.
  • 9. The EPPI Reviews: two further in-depth reviews (2) What is the evidence from evaluative studies of the effect of context-based or STS courses on the attitude to science and/or the understanding of science ideas of boys and girls in the 11 to 16 age range? What is the evidence from evaluative studies of the effect of context-based or STS courses on the attitude to science and/or the understanding of science ideas of lower-ability pupils in the 11 to 16 age range? Lubben F, Bennett J, Hogarth S, Robinson A (2005) A systematic review of the effects of context-based and Science-Technology-Society (STS) approaches in the teaching of secondary science on boys and girls, and on lower-ability pupils. In: Research Evidence in Education Library . London: EPPI-Centre, Social Science Research Unit, Institute of Education, University of London.
  • 10. The 2005 In-depth Reviews The small number of studies were of variable quality. There is reasonable evidence for the following: • Both boys and girls using a context-based/STS approach held significantly more positive attitudes to science than their male/female peers using a traditional approach. • A context-based/STS approach to teaching science narrowed the gap between boys and girls in their attitude to science. • In cases when boys enjoyed the materials significantly more than girls, this was due to the nature of the practical work • In cases when girls enjoyed materials significantly more than boys, this was because of the non-practical activities .
  • 11. The EPPI Reviews To read the full reports go to http://eppi.ioe.ac.uk/cms/ evidence library reviews search curriculum topics science NB there are many other EPPI reviews of interest!
  • 12. Salters Horners Advanced Physics (SHAP) Context-led physics for students aged 16-19 A two-year programme (4-5 hours/week) leading to university entrance qualification Supported by published materials
  • 13.
    • Salters Horners Advanced Physics
    • Key features
    • Context led
    • Practical and IT activities
    • Scientific, mathematical and key skills
    • Developed by teachers, academics and industrialists
    • Materials for teachers, students and technicians
    • Extension and revision materials
    • On-going support for users
  • 14. Developing the complete SHAP programme took two years and involved: teachers university academics physicists and engineers working in industry publishers examination organisations sponsors
  • 15. We researched a large number of contexts. We selected 11 for further development. Criteria for selecting contexts interest variety physics content at right level focus on 1-2 main areas of physics activities for students authentic data available
  • 16. Principles for developing complete programme Progression in physics Progression in maths Variety and choice Activities for students Reliability Wider context
  • 17. Progression in physics 1-3 main physics areas in each chapter Smooth progression Links between chapters Be selective. Do not try to cover all the physics relating to the context.
  • 18. Progression in maths Include notes on basic maths Develop more advanced maths where needed Variety and choice Offer a range of activities Encourage teachers and students to select
  • 19. Activities for students Use contexts are starting points Test activities to make sure they work Use authentic data Include simple activities
  • 20.
      • Content taught through eleven contexts
    • Sport
    • Food industry
    • Spare part surgery
    • Music
    • Space technology
    • Archaeology
    • Rail transport
    • Telecommunications
    • Particle physics
    • Building design
    • Astronomy
  • 21. Good Enough to Eat What part does physics play in making biscuits and sweets? How is food manufacture monitored and controlled?
  • 22. Eat some sweets Describe them: hard, brittle, smooth, chewy ... We need words with precise meaning. We need properties we can measure. Stretch some sweets Plot graphs of load and extension
  • 23. Apply standard materials testing techniques to sweets and biscuits
  • 24. Higher, Faster, Stronger How can athletes and coaches monitor and improve technique? How does sports equipment and clothing affect performance? How can sporting activities be made both exciting and safe?
  • 25. Sports: sprinting, tennis, weightlifting, high-jump, climbing, bungee jumping, skiing equations and graphs of motion vectors projectiles Newton’s laws kinetic and potential energy use of ICT, datalogging
  • 26.  
  • 27. Bungee challenge Set up a model bungee jump using a piece of elastic. By calculating elastic energy from a force-extension graph, you can work out the height from which an object of given mass can ‘jump’ with a given piece of elastic, so that it will just miss the floor.
  • 28. The Bungee Challenge The model bungee jumper has mass 9.1g The elastic cord is 0.50 m long You have a graph showing energy and extension What is the best height for the launch platform?
  • 29. Bungee challenge Self evaluation I/we predicted the correct height and achieved a drop that was both safe and exciting. I/we predicted too high. The jumper complained that s/he had not been scared enough. I/we would not be hired as bungee operators.
  • 30. Model ski jump to introduce projectile motion
  • 31. Technology in Space What is the best way to provide electrical power for instruments on a space craft? How do extremes of temperature affect electrical components? How can position and speed be measured remotely?
  • 32. Power supply dc circuits current, emf, power, resistance internal resistance maximum power transfer Solar cells photoelectric effect radiation flux efficiency
  • 33. How do archaeologists decide where to dig? How can specimens be examined and analysed? Digging up the Past An example of a context-led chapter using archaeology
  • 34. We researched several areas before deciding what to include Dating Thermoluminescence Carbon-14 Tree rings Artefact analysis X-rays Mass spectrometry Microscopy Spectroscopy Site surveying Geomagnetic survey Resistive survey Ground-based radar
  • 35. This is what we chose to include Resolving power and wavelength Electron waves Microscopes in archaeology Builds on the Space Technology and Music chapters Electromagnetic spectrum X-ray absorption and penetration X-ray diffraction X-rays in archaeology Builds on the Space Technology chapter DC electric circuits Resistivity Modelling electrical properties Potential divider Resistive survey of an archaeological site Comments Physics Context
  • 36. Site surveying dc circuits resistivity X-ray analysis of artefacts electromagnetic spectrum diffraction and superposition
  • 37. Microscopic analysis resolution electron diffraction Archaeologists at work detecting fakes and hoaxes digging sensitive sites
  • 38. Exploring the site A survey reveals areas of high and low resistivity that may indicate buried structures
  • 39. SHAP students review earlier work on dc circuits measure resistance and resistivity compare resistivity of various materials display data on a log scale use a simple theoretical model to explain resistivity make and use potential divider circuits discuss ethical issues about digging sensitive sites
  • 40. Analysing an artefact X-radiographs can reveal hidden features
  • 41. X-ray diffraction help can identify chemical composition
  • 42. SHAP students review earlier work on electromagnetic radiation learn about properties of X-rays review earlier work on waves use ripple tanks and lasers to explore diffraction and interference learn about X-ray power photography use X-ray data to deduce information about an artefact
  • 43. Taking a closer look Microscopes can provide useful information about very small artefacts such as clothing fibres For some objects, such as pollen grains, electron microscopes are needed
  • 44. SHAP students measure the resolving power of their own eyes learn how diffraction limits resolving power review earlier work on wave-particle duality (photons, waves) explore electron diffraction
  • 45. The Medium is the Message How is information sent, received and displayed?
  • 46. Telecommunication and display Uniform electric field Capacitors: energy Charged particles in magnetic field LED and LCD displays Power demands – environmental issues Fibre optics: exponential attenuation
  • 47. Analogue and digital signals Sampling an analogue signal What must be the lowest sampling frequency? What happens if the sampling frequency is too low?
  • 48. Model optical fibre system infrared emitting diode infrared detector jelly ‘fibre’ Plot a graph of signal strength against length of fibre. Use the results to explore exponential change
  • 49.  
  • 50. SHAP students say “ The compact disc player, that is obviously something we use quite a lot as teenagers. You just take it out and just assume it plays. It was interesting to learn about how.” “ I do a lot of bungee jumping myself ... So when you actually do the physics of it and it is presented in a less than formal manner when the teaching starts off, then it can be quite entertaining. It was just interesting to calculate.” “ I liked the Secrets of Resistance, because the topic would mean nothing without being able to apply it to something. It made sense with this application.”
  • 51. Destinations of SHAP students Engineering 20% Physics 12 % Computer science 10% Maths 10%
  • 52. SHAP teachers say “ In all of our contacts with outside companies ... there has been a tremendous response in terms of wanting to help students understand physics and engineering in the real world, and to encourage students into careers in these areas.” “ Everything they have learnt so far has fallen into place and they can now explain new material for themselves.” “ This is physics in the real world, the world my students live in. It is physics which is so obviously useful and interesting.”
  • 53. SHAP publications AS (1 st year) AS Student Book ISBN 978 1 4058 9602 3 AS Teacher and Technician Resource Pack ISBN 978 1 4058 9603 0 A2 (2 nd year) A2 Student Book ISBN 978 1 4082 0586 0 A2 Teacher and Technician Resource Pack ISBN 978 1 4082 0587 7 Go to www.amazon.com and search by ISBN or call +44 800 579579