IPLS Conference Poster Abstracts

Poster Abstract Author Index:

Beverly · Bhattacharya · Cahn · Chabay · Christensen · Cohen · Dobbins · Duffy · Fischer · Flood · Geller · Gregg · Hamilton-Drager · Heiney · Kulbago · McCall · Mochrie · Moore · Nelson · Orleski · Powell · Redish · Reeves · Sabella · Sieglaff · Smith · Stevenson · Tansil · Tebbens · Vesenka · Widenhorn · Woolard · Wurm · Young

Evolution of an IPLS Course

Nancy Beverly, Mercy College

The IPLS course at Mercy College has been evolving since 1996.  Putting all the physics topics into a biological context was the first stage, closely followed by work on relevant integrated lab activities and incorporating PER strategies.  Even though these aspects continue to be refined, there always appear to be other areas of the course that can be improved in both student learning and relevance, beyond biological content.  New kinds of homework activities have been created, and project–based learning expanded to foster student-centered learning, inquiry, and transfer.  Competency-based assessment is the next effort on the horizon.  It has been a never-ending journey of rethinking about what it is that these students really need from this course.

College Physics in Studio and Standard Classroom Environment

Aniket Bhattacharya, University of Central Florida

I share experiences  in teaching College Physics I at the University of Central Florida in a standard classroom environment with 100 – 300 students as well as in a studio environment with 100 students.  I discuss some feedback from the students, my perceptions of the pros and the cons, and how the experiences from the studio setup can be implemented  more efficiently in a standard pedagogy environment with limited resources

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Biologic: A digital analog to the genetic toggle switch and repressilator for the undergraduate physics lab.

S. B. Cahn, Yale University, Department of Physics
Co-authors: S. G. J. Mochrie, R. G. Ramos, S. H. Irons; Yale University, Department of Physics

We describe two synthetic gene circuits, the genetic toggle switch and repressilator and how they can be used to simulate bistability and oscillations in biological systems. Our goal was to introduce and explore the concepts of feedback, both in electronic and gene circuits, and to alert students to quantitative approaches to systems biology. Both the genetic toggle switch and the repressilator have been realized in E. coli as well as other organisms. We have designed two circuits that make use of the Quad 7404 Hex inverter simple logic gate, arranged in feedback to model these processes. Capacitors and resistors of the appropriate values are introduced to provide delay, simulating the finite time required for biochemical reactions to take place. LEDs are used to visually display the current state of each switch. A breadboard with working circuits will be on display.

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Randomness and Structure

Ruth Chabay, North Carolina State University
Co-authors: Nava Schulmann, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel Edit Yerushalmi, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

The concepts of entropy and equilibrium are central to the understanding of the spontaneous formation of structure in soft matter systems such as membranes. We are developing a suite of computational modeling tools with a strong visual component to support the development of these concepts by students in an introductory-level course on soft matter. In the context of the lattice gas model, which is commonly used in the analytical treatment of such systems, students can explore the consequences of random motion, observe the dynamics of the approach to equilibrium, monitor bulk properties of the system, and observe that interparticle interactions are required for the spontaneous formation of mesoscale structures. These tools can be extended to allow students to do significant computational modeling projects by the end of the course. They provide, as well, a stimulus for discussion about the nature of scientific models.

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Suspend the Disbelief and Explore the Possibilities with Open Educational Resources (OER)

Erik Christensen, South Florida State College

By using open educational resources (OER) you can improve both student access and success.  There has been a recent transformation in the quality of OER materials and now most are professionally edited and peer-reviewed.  College Physics by Openstax College is a prime example.  This two-semester, introductory algebra-based physics textbook is grounded in real-world examples (many are life science-related), superb illustrations, integrated PhET simulations, and numerous example problems.  The textbook is available for free in a variety of formats: web view, ePub, and PDF, iBook ($4.99), or print ($49.73).  When coupled with Kaplan's free Learningpod online homework system they provide a substantial learning advantage for your students.  My student's average FCI Hake-g score jumped 30% this year as a direct result of integrating both of these resources in my course.  Suspend your disbelief about OER and come explore the possibilities these amazing free resources offer.   Your students will thank you!

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Introductory Physics for the Life Sciences at East Stroudsburg University

Robert Cohen, East Stroudsburg University

At ESU, we examined three objectives of an IPLS course: (A) one where students are shown the physics equations that can be used in relevant situations, (B) One where students are shown how mathematical techniques (like vectors, scaling, equations and graphing) can be applied to their discipline and (C) One where students are shown how to use a small set of principles to analyze a wide variety of problems.  The poster illustrate this, the potential conflict, and our reasons for deciding to focus almost exclusively on C.

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Phantastic in Physics Problem Solving (PPPS) in Introductory Physics for Life Science Students using Video Lectures

Tabbetha Dobbins, Rowan University, Department of Physics & Astronomy

Phantastic in Physics Problem Solving (PPPS) video lectures are being developed for the Introductory Physics course covering topics in Waves, Optics, and Electricity and Magnetism. This is an Algebra-based physics taken primarily by Biology majors. However, the problem solving videos can be used in any physics course with similar topics. Physics education researchers have noted the need for "...physics to help prepare students for the new, more quantitative life sciences".1 During PPPS videos, I solve problems in 8-20 minutes videos. Each video features one problem. Students can log in and watch these videos via the Internet. PPPS videos engage the students to tackle difficult problems from start to finish (without giving up). This approach is useful because most introductory physics courses contain students from diverse science and mathematics backgrounds. The innovation in using the video format for problem solving is that students can individually adapt the speed at which the instructor demonstrates physics problems, a tool not offered in the standard classroom lecture format. Students surveyed about this approach to problem solving found it useful for "...being able to pause and re-work the examples". This indicates that they are using the videos in an interactive.

1. Dawn C. Meredith, Edward F. Redish, "Reinventing physics for life-sciences majors", Physics Today 66, pp38-43 (2013).

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Studio Learning and the Gender Gap in Introductory Physics for Life Sciences

Andrew Duffy, Boston University Physics
Co-authors: Bennett Goldberg (Boston University) Pankaj Mehta (Boston University)

2013-14 is the first year of a large-scale studio implementation in the IPLS course at Boston University. We have three large studio sections, and two lecture sections, will all students doing the same assessments. We report on differences we have observed between learning outcomes in the studio groups and the lecture groups, as well as the gender gaps we have observed in both the studio and lecture groups.

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Examining student responses to questions about center of gravity

Susan M. Fischer, DePaul University
Co-authors: D.J. Lyons, C. Kontra, J. Sattizahn, S.L. Beilock

Our group is developing lab exercises that involve students balancing objects, and systems of objects, on their outstretched hands.  The sensorimotor experience obtained by feeling and directly interacting with these systems may aid in understanding the concept of center of gravity.   Along with this development, we gave students in our IPLS course an online quiz that asked a series of questions about center of gravity and torque for a balanced baseball bat (an extended object), and two crates on a balanced see-saw (a system of discrete objects).  This quiz is based on published results by Ortiz, et. al, who gave a similar set of questions to students in calculus-based courses.  The results for the IPLS course are different in some interesting ways, leading to questions about how students interpret figures, and the potential usefulness of stressing operational definitions.

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The Calculus-Based General Physics Sequence at Muhlenberg College

Jane Flood, Muhlenberg College

Muhlenberg College offers a two-semester calculus-based General Physics sequence that serves pre-health professions and pre-engineering students in addition to the biology, physical science and physics majors. The course meets three hours of lecture, three hours of laboratory and one hour of recitation each week.  The poster will describe the course history, structure and audience as well as discuss challenges associated with serving this varied audience.

"Like dissolves like": Unpacking student reasoning about thermodynamic heuristics

Benjamin Geller, University of Maryland, College Park
Co-authors: Benjamin W. Dreyfus, Julia S. Gouvea, Vashti Sawtelle, Chandra Turpen, and Edward F. Redish University of Maryland, College Park

In our Introductory Physics for Life Scientists (IPLS) course at the University of Maryland, we are building interdisciplinary bridges that help students better understand thermodynamics. One aspect of this endeavor involves having students grapple with the physical processes underlying heuristic rules that they bring to our course from their biology and chemistry classes. In particular, we have implemented a series of activities and problems intended to unpack the hydrophobicity of oil, a key step in understanding the formation of cell membranes. The spontaneous separation of oil and water is predicted by the common rule of thumb, "like dissolves like," but understanding where this comes from requires careful consideration of energetic and entropic effects. The rule must also be reconciled with the seemingly contradictory physical principle that opposite electric charges attract. This paper describes how holding up a heuristic that students have encountered in their biology and chemistry courses alongside physical principles can prompt students to look for interdisciplinary reconciliation among concepts that they previously did not even see as related. We view this as an important step toward a less fragmented experience for science students.

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Improving Performance through Motivation: Teaching Biology Pre-Med Students Physics

Elena Gregg, DR, Oral Roberts University

Several major factors which affect student's learning are assessed (curricula, different teaching approaches, assessment methods, engagement, and motivation).  
Direct connection between motivation, attitudes, self-confidence and achievement was established. It was demonstrated that improvement of motivation and self-confidence among students (particularly females, minorities and low achievers) is essential.  
Effectiveness of different instructional methods and motivational approaches was analyzed and evaluated in algebra based Physics course for Biology pre-med undergraduate students.

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Teaching Physics for the Life Sciences in a Modified Workshop Format

Catrina Hamilton-Drager, Dickinson College

We have recently moved from teaching Physics for the Life Sciences in a traditional Workshop Physics format to a Modified Workshop style at Dickinson College.  This move, while pedagogically "backwards," was made because of the need to accommodate more students.  This poster summarizes our classroom setup, the structure of the class meeting, and the methods used to teach the material.  I will focus in particular on our fall semester offering, which focuses on kinematics, Newton's Laws, energy, momentum, and thermodynamics.

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Physics for the Life Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania: Status and Prospects

Paul Heiney, University of Pennsylvania

We present the current status of IPLS courses at Penn, a short description of a flipped-classroom experiment performed in the summer of 2013, and outline the directions that our department is currently moving.

Flipping an IPLS Course

Lucy Kulbago, John Carroll University

This poster will share the initial structure for a flipped IPLS course, benefits of a flipped classroom, and student evaluation comments after the first semester.

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Physics, Pharmacy, and the Future

Richard P. McCall, St. Louis College of Pharmacy

Teaching at a college of pharmacy, I learned early on that it was important to point out the relevance of physics to students.  I spent time looking for applications specifically in a pharmacy setting, as well as applications to other courses in the curriculum, including anatomy and physiology.  Now in my 18th year of teaching an IPLS course at STLCOP, the College is looking to expand our physics offerings as we begin two new B.S. degree programs this fall.  We are also planning a new physics laboratory, with new experiments and equipment.  As a new department chair, I am looking for two new physics faculty to develop these courses, labs, and experiments, as well as to develop more advanced elective courses appropriate for life sciences students.

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University Physics for the Life Sciences: Calculus-based introductory physics re-imagined

Simon Mochrie, Department of Physics, Department of Applied Physics, Yale University

A calculus-based introductory-physics-for-the-life-science (IPLS) sequence, that has been taught for the last four years, will be described.  This course re-imagines the IPLS syllabus and focuses on a number of biologically and medically relevant topics that are meaningful to its intended audience.  Specifically, (1)  I will share the goals of the course, sketch the syllabus and the rationale for the syllabus; (2) I will describe the course demographics and the context of this course; (3) I will share student feedback about the course; (4) I will elaborate on the syllabus and briefly present selected topics, emphasizing how mathematical/computational aspects are managed, many of which, in a traditional physics sequence, would be delayed until after mathematical re-requisites. (5) Finally, I will share our plans for the future, as we move from a lecture style to a more flipped/TEAL classroom, and describe some of the challenges of designing and teaching this class.

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Research on a Laboratory Curriculum for NEXUS/Physics

Kimberly A. Moore, University of Maryland, College Park (UMd PERG)
Co-authors: John Giannini, University of Maryland, College Park, Biophysics Program Wolfgang Losert, University of Maryland, College Park, Biophysics Program

In 2012-2013, the UMd PERG and Biophysics Program implemented a new laboratory curriculum for its introductory physics for biologists course in a pair of small test classes (and in large-enrollment classes for 2013-2014).  These labs address physical issues at biological scales using microscopy, image and video analysis, electrophoresis, and spectroscopy in an open, non-protocol-driven environment.  We have collected a wealth of data (surveys, video analysis, etc.) that enables us to get a sense of the students' responses to this new approach, with a focus on: 1) the ways in which students see these labs as engaging the biology/chemistry concepts; and, 2) the student reaction and adaptation to the combination of "open-ended" labs with complex, technical equipment.  In this poster, we will give a brief overview of what we have learned.  (This work is part of the UMd PERG NEXUS/Physics and is supported by funding from HHMI and the NSF.)

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Biophysics in the Undergraduate Curriculum

Pete Nelson, Benedictine University

Recently there have been multiple calls for curricular reforms to develop new pathways to the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines. In response, I propose a conceptual framework for quantitative scientific modeling skills that are useful across all the STEM disciplines. The approach actively engages students in a process of directed scientific discovery using Monte Carlo simulations and finite difference methods using the "Marble Game" as a model system. In a "Student Assessment of their Learning Gains" (SALG) survey, students identified this approach as producing "great gains" in their understanding of real world problems and scientific research. Students build a conceptual framework that applies directly to random molecular-level processes in biology such as diffusion and interfacial transport. It is also isomorphic with a reversible first-order chemical reaction providing conceptual preparation for chemical kinetics. The computational and mathematical framework can also be applied to investigate the predictions of quantitative physics models ranging from Newtonian mechanics through RLC circuits. To test this approach, students were asked to derive a novel theory of osmosis. The test results confirm that they were able to successfully apply the conceptual framework to a new situation under final exam conditions. The marble game thus provides a pathway to the STEM disciplines that includes quantitative biology concepts in the undergraduate curriculum - from the very first class. DUE-0836833 http://circle4.com/biophysics

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Introductory Physics for the Life Sciences Courses

Michael Orleski, Misericordia University

The Physics Department at Misericordia University consists of three full-time faculty members and several adjuncts. The department offers courses taken by the majority of health sciences students and all life science students. Pre-Doctor of Physical Therapy (Pre-DPT) majors enroll in two semesters of algebra-based introductory physics. Occupational Therapy majors take the first semester of the sequence using an integrated lecture & lab format. Medical Imaging majors take the second semester of the sequence taught in a traditional format with separate lecture and lab. Speech-language Pathology majors take a one semester physical science course taught in an integrated lecture & lab format. Biology, Chemistry, Biochemistry, Mathematics, Computer Science, and some Medical Science students take two semesters of calculus-based introductory physics.

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Current State of Physics for Life Science Majors at UNK

William Lee Powell Jr., University of Nebraska at Kearney

I will present an overview of the current state of physics for life science majors at the University of Nebraska at Kearney.  We have made no major changes to the class itself yet.  We are rather at the assessment stage and are attempting to identify the best path forward.  The state of the health science program in general will be described, as will how physics fits into that picture.  I will also describe remediation methods that are being utilized.  Our current class structure is very traditional, other than the inclusion of peer instruction time.  There is also a testing focus that targets both traditional open-ended problems, as well as answering multiple choice questions mixed with explaining their reasoning on conceptual problems.I present an overview of the current state of physics life science majors at UNK.  We have made no substantive changes to the class itself yet.  We are rather at the assessment stage to identify the best path forward.

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NEXUS/Physics: Rethinking physics for biology and premed students

Edward Redish, University of Maryland
Co-authors: Chris Bauer3, Karen Carleton1, Todd, Cooke1, Melanie Cooper4, Catherin Crouch5, Benjamin W. Dreyfus1, Benjamin D. Geller1, Julia Gouvea1,2, John Gianini1, Mike Klymkowsky6, Wolfgang Losert1, Kim Moore1, Joelle Presson1, Vashti Sawtelle1, Katrina Thompson1, Chandra Turpen1, Royce Zia7 1 University of Maryland, College Park 2 University of California, Davis 3 University of New Hampshire 4 Michigan State University 5 Swarthmore University 6 University of Colorado 7 Virginia Tech

In response to increasing calls for the reform of the curriculum for life science majors and pre-medical students an interdisciplinary team has repurposed introductory physics for life scientists. The curriculum interacts strongly and supportively with introductory biology and chemistry courses taken by life sciences students, with the goal of helping students build general, multi-discipline scientific competencies. Our two-semester NEXUS/Physics course sequence is positioned as a second year course so students will have had some exposure to basic concepts in biology and chemistry. NEXUS/Physics stresses interdisciplinary examples and the content differs from traditional introductory physics to facilitate this. It extends the discussion of energy to include interatomic potentials and chemical reactions, the discussion of thermodynamics to include enthalpy and Gibbs free energy, and includes a serious discussion of random vs. coherent motion including diffusion. The development of instructional materials has been coordinated with careful education research.

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Moving to Equilibrium: Teaching Entropy in the IPLS Class

Mark Reeves, George Washington University

Entropy changes underlie the physics that dominates biological interactions. Indeed, introductory biology courses often begin with the qualities of water important to living systems. However, one idea that is not explicitly addressed in most introductory physics or biology textbooks is dominant contribution of the entropy in driving important biological processes towards equilibrium. From diffusion to the functioning of nerve cells, entropic effects often act to counterbalance deterministic forces such as electrostatic attraction and in so doing, allow for effective molecular signaling. A small group of biology, biophysics and computer science faculty have worked together for the past five years to develop curricular modules (based on SCALEUP pedagogy) that enable students to create models of stochastic and deterministic processes. Our students are first-year engineering and science students in the calculus-based physics course and are not expected to know biology beyond the high-school level. In our class, they learn to reduce biological processes and structures to tractable models that include deterministic processes and simple probabilistic inference. The students test these models in biologically relevant simulations and laboratory experiments. The students are challenged to bridge the gap between statistical parameterization of their data (mean and standard deviation) and simple model-building by inference. This allows the students to quantitatively describe realistic cellular processes such as diffusion, ionic transport, and ligand-receptor binding. Moreover, the students confront "random'' forces and traditional forces in problems, simulations, and laboratory exploration throughout the year-long course. This talk will present a number of these student exercises, with a focus on the hands-on experiments, and will give examples of the tangible material our students work with throughout the two-semester sequence on introductory physics with a bio focus.

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The 2014 Gordon Research Conference: The Complex Intersection of Biology and Physics

Mel S. Sabella, Chicago State University
Co-authors: Matt Lang, Vanderbilt University

The field of biological physics and the physics education of biology and medically oriented students have experienced tremendous growth in recent years. New findings, applications, and technologies in biological and medical physics are having far reaching consequences that affect and influence the science community, the education of future scientists and health-care workers, and the general population.  As a result leaders in Physics Education Research have begun to focus their attention on the specific needs of students in the biological sciences, the different ways physicists and biologists view the nature of science and the interactions of scientists in these disciplines.  The 2014 Gordon Research Conference on the Complex Intersection of Biology and Physics brings the community of researchers and educators together and will allow the community interested in biological physics and physics education to continue the conversation on these exciting topics.  The 2014 GRC will be held at Mt. Holyoke College from June 8-13.

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Introductory Physics Studio Learning Environment at NWU

Dean R. Sieglaff, Nebraska Wesleyan University

Our introductory physics courses are taught in two twenty-four seat learning studios.  Each has twelve lab tables and twelve computers.  The daily lesson incorporates a set of in-class activities such as experiments, computer simulations, and in-class written exercises.  Classroom responders are used to survey the class at the beginning of the hour, and test them at the end.  Students record observations, reflect upon principles, and carry out written exercises using daily handouts.  Many computer applications are used for simulations and calculations.  The mode of instruction may be called "guided discovery," in which we require students to engage in learning experiences that in turn motivate questions and discussion.

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Designing a new IPLS Course: Goals, Objectives and Challenges

David P. Smith, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Co-authors: Alice D. Churukian, Duane L. Deardorff, Laurie E. McNeil, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

At the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, we have embarked on a mission to redesign our introductory physics course for life science majors.  Taking recommendations from recently published national reports and the research of others, our team has set out to develop a course that better suits the needs of the student population.  Early development has included significant discourse with faculty from the biology department, with emphasis placed on identifying critical cross-disciplinary skills and authentic biological contexts.  We will discuss the goals and objectives of this new course and the challenges faced during the initial stages of development.

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Can understanding different scientific cultures and practices in Biology and Physics lead to better teaching of Introductory Physics to biologists?

Robert D. Stevenson, Biology Department, University of Massachusetts, Boston
Co-authors: Jonathan Celli

The foundations of biology depend on physics: life obeys physical laws and the instruments of biology are often derived from research in physics. In addition, physics "thinking" has yielded Nobel-level insights into biology. However, the complexity of biological systems are poorly understood, often making the machinery of physics difficult to apply.  The disciplines remain largely siloed.  To better understand the perceptions of biologists about physics, we conducted on anonymous, on-line survey of the biology faculty and graduate students at UMass Boston (n= 14, n =17 respectively). The survey asked about the importance of other scientific disciplines (Atmospheric Sciences, Bioinformatics, Chemistry, Computer Science, Geology, GIS, Mathematics, Oceanography, Physics, Statistics) in their research programs. The survey showed that biologists value bioinformatics and statistics more than the other eight disciplines. Furthermore, in all four questions biologists ranked Chemistry as more important than Physics. Biologists also believe they use Mathematics more than Physics. There was some evidence that biologists value Physics but they use it infrequently. We suggest that greater communication between biologists and physicists and efforts to point out the importance of the other discipline when teaching introductory courses might be important first steps to breaking down the discipline silos.

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Teaching Nuclear Science in an Introductory Physics for the Life Sciences (IPLS) Course

John E Tansil, Southeast Missouri State University

Nuclear science topics, traditionally relegated to the end of the textbook, are sometimes treated as "excess baggage" in an IPLS course.  If teaching time grows short as the end of semester approaches, it is nuclear science that is dropped from the curriculum.  We think this is a shortsighted approach and that textbook organization should take a backseat to the importance of nuclear science in an IPLS course.  There are several reasons for teaching nuclear science: (1) increasing use of nuclear medicine (both diagnostic techniques and treatment), (2) renewed interest in nuclear power plants due to global warming concerns with burning of fossil fuels, and (3) concerns over terrorist's use of radioactive "dirty" bombs or small fission weapons. We have found that a Nuclear Data Table (aka Table of Isotopes) is very useful for presenting nuclear science topics and that two lab experiments on radioactive decay will suffice.

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Physics Summary Sheets for IPLS Students

Sarah F Tebbens, Wright State University

Introductory physics classes can feel overwhelming to students as there is a constant flow of new information each week.  Summary sheets have been developed for sections on Electricity and Optics.  In both of these sections, attention to detail is needed, and students are often confused when beginning to learn to solve problems.  For electricity, four summary sheets are provided, one for resistors in series, one for resistors in parallel, one for capacitors in series and one for capacitors in parallel.  Breaking down the knowledge into these four sheets has been an aid in helping students begin to solve problems involving simple circuit problems involving resistors and capacitors.  In practice, students may need knowledge from one or all of these sheets to solve a more complicated circuit problem.  Similarly, students often get confused when learning to solve optics problems.  This is understandable as the same equation is used to solve both spherical mirror and lens problems, but with different sign conventions.  Two summary sheets are provided, one showing the equations and conventions for spherical mirrors and a separate sheet for lenses.  These summary sheets are a simple compilation of information, but have proved helpful to students in IPLS classes at Wright State University.

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A Kinesthetic Circulatory System Model for Teaching Fluid Dynamics

James Vesenka, University of New England
Co-authors: Elizabeth Whitmore, undergraduate, UNE Department of Biology Katherine Misaiko, undergraduate, UNE Department of Biology Bradley Moser, Lecturer, UNE Department of Chemistry and Physics David Grimm, Lecturer, UNE Department of Biology

Previous research has shown that life science students at the University of New England have difficulty applying what they have learned in the physics classroom to concepts of anatomy and physiology, primarily fluid dynamics as they pertain to the circulatory system. To help integrate multiple disciplines into our introductory Physics course, we are developing a kinesthetic circulatory system model. Using this model, this study aimed to improve the students understanding of the equation of continuity, Bernoulli's and Poiseuille's principles, hydrostatic pressure, and compliance (elasticity of tubing) as they apply to the cardiovascular system. The impact of this model on improved student understanding of these concepts will be assessed through a combination of pre- and post- test conceptual assessments and open-ended questions.  Preliminary studies indicate students had a better perspective for pressure differences due to local (Bernoulli) and global (Poiseuille) conditions.

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Physics in Medicine: Active learning tools for pre-health physics developed in collaboration with STEM scientists and medical experts

Ralf Widenhorn, Portland State University
Co-authors: Karen Marrongelle, Portland State University Grace Van Ness, Portland State University Charles Thomas, Oregon Health and Science University Wolfram Laub, Oregon Health and Science University

We present an undergraduate medical physics course at Portland State University, motivated by both student interest and the desire of the university's Physics Department to provide an interdisciplinary intermediate-level physics course. The course is part of a broader initiative to emphasize the link between physics and the life sciences. The materials for this course are modular and can be used as a whole curriculum in a specialized medical physics course or in part as supplement in introductory general physics. The course was developed through the community engagement of physicians, clinical researchers, and basic science researchers. Class meetings are a combination of traditional lectures, guest lectures, hands-on exercises, web-based activities, class discussions, and student poster presentations. The course inspired students to engage in research projects in medical physics that enhance their understanding of science and education as well as benefit the learning of future students.

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Assessing the Benefits and Challenges of Implementing an IPLS Course at Randolph-Macon College

Deonna Woolard, Randolph-Macon College

Prior to 2003, the Physics Department offered one section of General Physics and Physics for Scientists each semester.  Staffing issues forced the Department to redesign the intro courses resulting in the creation of PHYS 151-152 Introductory Physics which serves Physics, Engineering Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Pre-Med, Environmental Studies, and general education students simultaneously.  Presently, the Department offer two sections (24 students per section) of PHYS 151-152 each semester.  Over the past few years the College has seen a growth in enrollment, an increased number of students seeking pre-med and pre-health careers, and the addition of an Engineering Physics major.  Demand for PHYS 151-152 has increased to the point where three sections should be offered.  Because the new Engineering Physics major will add another faculty member to the Physics Department, it is time to assess our intro physics course and how it meets, or does not meet, the needs of our students.

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Flipping an Introductory Physics course - a first experience

Alexander Wurm, Western New Enland University

This poster will provide a detailed description of the use of the flipped classroom instructional model in an Introductory Physics course for Life Science majors at Western New England University in the Fall semester 2013. Challenges encountered with regards to student behavior and attitudes will be discussed, as well as some thoughts about future improvements.

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Teaching Fluids to IPLS Students via a Multiple-Scale Model and Mechanisms

Daniel Young, University of New Hampshire
Co-authors: Dawn Meredith: University of New Hampshire

For introductory life science students, fluid dynamics is a topic that is important, relevant to biology, and yet difficult to understand conceptually. Our study focuses on probing understanding of pressure differentials, vacuums, and Bernoulli's equation which underpin ideas of  fluid flow. Data was collected from written assessments and laboratory exercises in addition to teaching interviews, and was analyzed using the frameworks of resource theory and mechanistic reasoning to look for productive student ideas such as a microscopic viewpoint and gradient driven flow.  We investigated whether a multiple-scale view of matter is useful for students when constructing models of pressure and fluid flow and will present both our model and a qualitative analysis of student work.

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