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Abstract Title: Reading of scientific texts as means of exposing students to authentic disciplinary practices
Abstract: How to bridge the dynamics of scientific discoveries with teaching in an introductory physics classroom is a long standing challenge. In chemistry and biology the incorporation of scientific articles in the high school curriculum is a subject of recent inquiry and interest, whose goal is to expose students to authentic scientific processes and facilitate their enculturation into the discipline. However, such scientific texts are hardly ever included as part of introductory physics courses. This session presents examples of how physics instruction can integrate readings of scientific texts at the introductory level. The readings discussed here encompass contemporary research papers adapted to the introductory level, historical lab-notebooks and popular scientific articles of famous scientists, and computational codes. The session and the related discussion aim to scrutinize the instructional affordances of various types of scientific texts, the adaptation and instructional use of each kind, and the learning that takes place.
Abstract Type: Talk Symposium

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Shulamit Kapon
School of Education, Tel Aviv University
Co-Author(s)
and Co-Presenter(s)
Edit Yerushalmi
Department of Science Teaching, Weizmann Institute of Science

Symposium Specific Information

Discussant: Ruth Chabay 1
1 Department of Physics, North Carolina State University
Moderator: Shulamit Kapon 1 and  Edit Yerushlami 2
1 School of Education Tel Aviv University
2 Department of Science Teaching, Weizmann Institute of Science
Presentation 1 Title: Constructing conceptual meaning from a popular scientific article – The case of E=mc2
Presentation 1 Authors: Shulamit Kapon 1
1 School of Education, Tel Aviv University
Presentation 1 Abstract: Although Israeli  high school physics students solve problems using the expression E=mc2, the origin of this expression and its  deep conceptual meaning are hardly ever discussed due to students' limited prior knowledge. In 1946, a year after the atomic bombs were first dropped, Albert Einstein published a popular scientific article explaining the equivalence between mass and energy to the general public and the implications of this principle for our daily lives. This paper describes the utilization of Einstein's article in a high school physics lesson. It discusses the instructional affordances of exemplary popular scientific texts through an analysis of students' learning, in comparison to previous studies on the instruction and learning of the equivalence of mass and energy, and in relation to features of exemplary popular scientific writing reflected in Einstein's article. The research is supported by a Marie Curie International Outgoing Fellowship within the 7th European Community Framework Program.
Presentation 2 Title: Using scientists' notebooks to foster authentic scientific practices
Presentation 2 Authors: Leslie J. Atkins 1,2 and Irene Y. Salter 1
1 Department of Science Education, California State University, Chico
2 Department of Physics, California State University, Chico
Presentation 2 Abstract: Scientific Inquiry is an introductory undergraduate course for preservice elementary teachers that aims to engage students in authentic scientific practices where these practices are not viewed as a mere course requirement, but are understood as essential practices for constructing knowledge in the discipline. Many of these practices (e.g., representational practices, control-of-variables) evolve over the course of the semester as we work to answer complex questions. However, we hoped to have students- from the start of the term- keep detailed scientific notebooks. In this presentation, we describe an activity designed to foster practices related to the use of scientific notebooks, detail how we use images from scientists' notebooks, discuss the rubrics students create for their own notebooks, and share outcomes, including images of students' notebooks and students' reactions to the activity.  Funding provided by NSF #0837058.
Presentation 3 Title: Reading computational code to inform predictions of time-varying computational models
Presentation 3 Authors: Shawn Weatherford 1 and Ruth Chabay 2
1 Department of Mathematics and Sciences, Saint Leo University
2 Department of Physics, North Carolina State University
Presentation 3 Abstract: Computational code is a different type of scientific text, where code defining physics quantities and principles is commingled with functions defined by the programming language. In a recent study, physics students were asked to read through computational code and draw a prediction of the visual output produced by short example programs written in VPython. These example programs strategically omit key lines of code representing fundamental physics principles. Student drawings and discussions reveal how students worked together to interpret the lines of code that constrain the motions of 3D objects in the visual output. Student predictions blend together information from the computational code with knowledge about the motion of real-world physical systems. We will present the example program code, some select student data, and the modifications to the instructional task that incorporate these findings.
Presentation 4 Title: Students' comprehension of a research article adapted for an interdisciplinary high school program
Presentation 4 Authors: Elon Langbeheim 1,2, Sam Safran 2, and Edit Yerushalmi 1
1 Department of Science Teaching, Weizmann Institute of Science
2 Department of Materials and Interfaces, Weizmann Institute of Science
Presentation 4 Abstract: We present a study of the introduction of Adapted Primary Literature (APL) as part of a high school course on soft matter. APL is a text genre that allows students to comprehend a scientific article, while maintaining the core features of the communication among scientists, thus representing an authentic scientific discourse.  We describe the adaptation of a research paper by Nobel Laureate Paul Flory on phase equilibrium in polymer-solvent systems. The adaptation followed two design strategies: a) Making the interplay between the theory and experimental evidence explicit. b) Re-structuring the text to map the theory onto the students' prior knowledge. Specifically, we map the modeling of polymer-solvent system onto a model for binary mixtures of small molecules that was already studied in class. We then present findings regarding the students' comprehension of the APL and its purpose and discuss their ability to extract features of theoretical modeling embedded in it.