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Abstract Title: Traditional physics vs IPLS: Comparing student experiences
Abstract: At Swarthmore College, we recently introduced a first-semester Introductory Physics for the Life Sciences (IPLS) course that draws on authentic biological examples relating to kinematics, Newtonian mechanics, and thermodynamics. Because the course is offered only every other year, we are uniquely situated to compare the experiences of those students who take the IPLS course to a similar set of students who take a traditional first-semester introductory physics course that covers the same topics but does not foreground biological connections. In this talk we draw on conceptual and attitudinal survey data, as well as a series of case-study interviews, to describe the conceptual, epistemological, and affective differences that we observe between the two student populations. We identify the features of the IPLS experience that were most salient to students, and suggest how particular course structures may have been especially important in supporting students' ability to do well in the IPLS environment.
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster Presentation

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Max Franklin
Swarthmore College
500 College Ave.
Swarthmore, PA 19081
Phone: 7174970878
and Co-Presenter(s)
Haley Gerardi, Swarthmore College
Chandra Turpen, University of Maryland, College Park
Benjamin Geller, Swarthmore College
Catherine Crouch, Swarthmore College