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From Physics to Biology: Helping Students Attain All-Terrain Knowledge Documents

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From Physics to Biology: Helping Students Attain All-Terrain Knowledge 

written by Maria Ruibal-Villasenor, Eugenia Etkina, Anna Karelina, David Rosengrant, Rebecca Jordan, and Alan Van Heuvelen

This paper is the third in a series of three describing a controlled study "Transfer of scientific abilities". The study was conducted in a large-enrollment introductory physics course taught via Investigative Science Learning Environment. Its goal was to find whether designing their own experiments in labs affects students' approaches to experimental problem solving in new areas of physics and in biology and their learning of physics concepts. The part of the project presented in this paper involves students in the experimental and control groups solving a biology-related problem that required designing an experiment and evaluating the findings. We found that students who were in the sections where they had to design their own experiments during the semester were able to transfer the abilities they acquired in physics laboratories to solve a novel biology problem. The project was supported by NSF grant DRL 0241078.

Published November 12, 2007
Last Modified December 1, 2010

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