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Physical Review Physics Education Research
written by Paul Alstein, Kim Krijtenburg-Lewerissa, and Wouter R. van Joolingen
This review presents an overview and analysis of the body of research on special relativity theory (SRT) education at the secondary and lower undergraduate level. There is currently a growing international interest in implementing SRT in pre-university education as an introduction to modern physics. For this reason, insights into learning opportunities and challenges in SRT education are needed. The field of research in SRT education is still at an early stage, especially at the level of secondary education, and there is a shortage of empirical evaluation of learning outcomes. In order to guide future research directions, there is a need for an overview and synthesis of the results reported so far. We have selected 40 articles and categorized them according to reported learning difficulties, teaching approaches, and research tools. Analysis shows that students at all educational levels experience learning difficulties with the use of frames of reference, the postulates of SRT, and relativistic effects. In the reported teaching sequences, instructional materials, and learning activities, these difficulties are approached from different angles. Some teaching approaches focus on thought experiments to express conceptual features of SRT, while others use virtual environments to provide realistic visualization of relativistic effects. From the reported teaching approaches, three learning objectives can be identified: to foster conceptual understanding, to foster understanding of the history and philosophy of science, and to gain motivation and confidence toward SRT and physics in general. In order to quantitatively compare learning outcomes of different teaching strategies, a more thorough evaluation of assessment tools is required.
Physical Review Physics Education Research: Volume 17, Issue 2, Pages 023101
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Education Foundations
- Cognition
= Cognition Development
- Research Design & Methodology
= Literature
- Sample Population
= Age
- Student Characteristics
= Ability
Education Practices
- Pedagogy
= Instructional Issues
General Physics
- Physics Education Research
Relativity
- Special Relativity
- High School
- Lower Undergraduate
- Reference Material
= Research study
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Access Rights:
Free access
License:
This material is released under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license.
Rights Holder:
American Physical Society
DOI:
10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.17.023101
Keywords:
Einstein theory, epistemology, high school physics, modern physics, noninertial frames, pre-college, reference frames
Record Creator:
Metadata instance created November 10, 2021 by Lyle Barbato
Record Updated:
January 25, 2022 by Lyle Barbato
Last Update
when Cataloged:
July 12, 2021
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AIP Format
P. Alstein, K. Krijtenburg-Lewerissa, and W. van Joolingen, , Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res. 17 (2), 023101 (2021), WWW Document, (https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.17.023101).
AJP/PRST-PER
P. Alstein, K. Krijtenburg-Lewerissa, and W. van Joolingen, Teaching and learning special relativity theory in secondary and lower undergraduate education: A literature review, Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res. 17 (2), 023101 (2021), <https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.17.023101>.
APA Format
Alstein, P., Krijtenburg-Lewerissa, K., & van Joolingen, W. (2021, July 12). Teaching and learning special relativity theory in secondary and lower undergraduate education: A literature review. Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res., 17(2), 023101. Retrieved May 29, 2024, from https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.17.023101
Chicago Format
Alstein, P, K. Krijtenburg-Lewerissa, and W. van Joolingen. "Teaching and learning special relativity theory in secondary and lower undergraduate education: A literature review." Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res. 17, no. 2, (July 12, 2021): 023101, https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.17.023101 (accessed 29 May 2024).
MLA Format
Alstein, Paul, Kim Krijtenburg-Lewerissa, and Wouter R. van Joolingen. "Teaching and learning special relativity theory in secondary and lower undergraduate education: A literature review." Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res. 17.2 (2021): 023101. 29 May 2024 <https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.17.023101>.
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@article{ Author = "Paul Alstein and Kim Krijtenburg-Lewerissa and Wouter R. van Joolingen", Title = {Teaching and learning special relativity theory in secondary and lower undergraduate education: A literature review}, Journal = {Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res.}, Volume = {17}, Number = {2}, Pages = {023101}, Month = {July}, Year = {2021} }
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%A Paul Alstein %A Kim Krijtenburg-Lewerissa %A Wouter R. van Joolingen %T Teaching and learning special relativity theory in secondary and lower undergraduate education: A literature review %J Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res. %V 17 %N 2 %D July 12, 2021 %P 023101 %U https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.17.023101 %O application/pdf

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%0 Journal Article %A Alstein, Paul %A Krijtenburg-Lewerissa, Kim %A van Joolingen, Wouter R. %D July 12, 2021 %T Teaching and learning special relativity theory in secondary and lower undergraduate education: A literature review %J Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res. %V 17 %N 2 %P 023101 %8 July 12, 2021 %U https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.17.023101


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