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Abstract Title: Students' Interdisciplinary Reasoning about "High-Energy Bonds" and ATP
Abstract: Students' sometimes contradictory ideas about ATP (adenosine triphosphate) and the nature of chemical bonds have been studied in the biology and chemistry education literatures, but these topics are rarely part of the introductory physics curriculum.  We present qualitative data from an introductory physics course for undergraduate biology majors that seeks to build greater interdisciplinary coherence and therefore includes these topics.  In these data, students grapple with the apparent contradiction between the energy released when the phosphate bond in ATP is broken and the idea that an energy input is required to break a bond.  We see that students' perceptions of how each scientific discipline bounds the system of interest can influence how they justify their reasoning about a topic that crosses disciplines.  This has consequences for a vision of interdisciplinary education that respects disciplinary perspectives while bringing them into interaction in ways that demonstrate consistency amongst the perspectives.
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster Presentation

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Benjamin W. Dreyfus
University of Maryland, College Park
Department of Physics
082 Regents Drive
College Park, MD 20742
Phone: 917-821-2405
Co-Author(s)
and Co-Presenter(s)
Benjamin D. Geller
Vashti Sawtelle
Julia Svoboda
Chandra Turpen
Edward F. Redish

Contributed Poster

Contributed Poster: Download the Contributed Poster