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Understanding How Students Use Physical Ideas in Introductory Biology Courses Documents

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Understanding How Students Use Physical Ideas in Introductory Biology Courses 

written by Jessica Watkins, Kristi Hall, Edward F. Redish, and Todd J. Cooke

The University of Maryland (UMD) Biology Education and Physics Education Research Groups are investigating students' views on the role of physics in introductory biology courses. This paper presents data from an introductory course that addresses the fundamental principles of organismal biology and that incorporates several topics directly related to physics, including thermodynamics, diffusion, and fluid flow. We examine how the instructors use mathematics and physics in this introductory biology course and look at two students' responses to this use. Our preliminary observations are intended to start a discussion about the epistemological issues resulting from the integration of the science disciplines and to motivate the need for further research.

Published August 24, 2010
Last Modified November 10, 2010

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