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Abstract Title: Research on students' coherence-seeking across disciplinary boundaries
Abstract: We analyze coherence-seeking in on-going student activity from a video-recorded discussion section.  Here, students engage in a task designed to build connections between physics and biology.  We present evidence of students 1) spontaneously bringing in unanticipated outside knowledge into their reasoning in this physics course and 2) seeking connections between the course material and other things they know.  Throughout this process, we examine both implicit and explicit indexing of the disciplines throughout the reasoning episode to show that often these connections span disciplinary boundaries.  Independent of whether reconciliation is achieved, we see coherence-seeking as essential to scientific practice and as such we claim that coherence-seeking should be a focus of our assessment efforts.
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster Presentation

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Chandra Turpen
Dept. of Physics [1] & Dept. of Chemical and Life Sciences [3], University of Maryland, College Park
1312 Physics Building,
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742
Phone: 303-817-0250
and Co-Presenter(s)
Benjamin W.  Dreyfus [1], Benjamin Geller [1], Vashti Sawtelle [1],Tiffany-Rose Sikorski [2], Julia Svoboda [3,4], Edward F. Redish [1]

[1] Department of Physics, University of Maryland, College Park
[2] Department of Teaching and Learning, Policy and Leadership, University of Maryland, College Park
[3] Department of Chemical and Life Sciences, University of Maryland, College Park
[4] School of Education, University of California, Davis

* Supported by the NSF DGE#0750616, NSF-TUES DUE#11-22818, and the HHMI NEXUS grants.