NEXUS – new ways of teaching physics University of Maryland’s Biology Education Research Group + Physics Education Research Group Teaching is like tapping Sir Ken Robinson What some students hear Sometimes teaching is humming What the best students hear But what the teacher hears: Teaching students • Biology Physics Why How What What Physics – Two pronged approach • Pedagogy reform – Joe Redish and PERG • Curriculum reform – HHMI project NEXUS Joe Redish, Todd Cooke Kaci Thompson, Joelle Presson, Gili Marbach-Ad Wolfgang Losert, Karen Carleton PD: Chandra Turpen, Julia Svoboda, Vashti Sawtelle Grad: Ben Dreyfus, Ben Geller, Kristi Hall Biologists: Marco Colombini, Richard Payne Project NEXUS • National EXperiment in Undergraduate Science Education • Response to Scientific Foundations for Future Physicians report (2009) • Four university “collaboration” reimagining premed education based on competencies Purdue University: Chemistry UMCP: Physics UMBC: Math Univ Miami: Medical case studies Timeline Dec 2009 June 2010 UMd submit proposal Develop collaborative proposal Old labs Fall 2011 March 2011 Spring 2012 Joe Redish teaches 20 students NEXUS kickoff meeting Summer 2011 Develop 1st semester materials New labs Fall 2012 Spring 2013 Joe Redish + Wolfgang Losert each teach 20 students Fall 2013 Spring 2014 Phys 131 / 132 goes LIVE replacing 121/122 Meta-goal • To create a course that both physicists and biologists will see as authentic to their discipline AND • that students will see as giving them insight into biology that is important to them in their vision of their future selves as scientists. 1/11/11 NEXUS Workshop 9 Think about teaching physics… • “Physics should be as simple as possible – but no simpler.” (Einstein) • “The physics we are learning in this class is simple – but seeing that it is simple can be exceedingly difficult.” (Redish) Redish 2011 NEXUS Workshop 10 Why this is hard Physics Biology Reasons from a few core principles with simplest possible examples Quantify the world and model with math Thinks with equations No link to chemistry Approach from overarching macroscopic principles Principles true for all time Biological organisms are complex Intro bio is qualitative Think descriptively Relies on chemistry Makes micro to macro connections Historical = evolutionary Negotiating the curriculum It has to apply to real organisms Energy is key It has to build from first principles Forces are a must Content decisions Expand or include Reduce or eliminate • Atomic and molecular models of matter • Energy, including chemical energy • Fluids, including fluids in motion and solutions • Diffusion and gradient driven flows • More emphasis on dissipative forces (viscosity) • Electrostatics in fluids • Kinetic theory, implications of random motion, statistical picture of thermodynamics • Projectile motion • Universal gravitation • Inclined planes, mechanical advantage • Linear momentum • Rotational motion • Torque, statics, and angular momentum Key topics – Semester 1 Homework ..... Class topics Lab/recitation Key topics – semester 2 Homework ..... Class topics Lab/recitation Flip the class: Students read several wiki pages night before and answer questions During class Students work clicker problems Lots of debate with their classmates Discuss: How do we know? New labs – Wolfgang Losert et al Lab example – Brownian motion of particles Vary size, temperature, solution viscosity Quantitative Exploratory Phys 131 If you suppress a lot of traditional mechanics and stress energy instead, what happens? Phys 121 N Gain forces Gain energy A NEXUS test class 20 0.41 0.71 B Reformed traditional (E / with tut.) 189 0.46 0.50 C Traditional (with tut.) 201 Redish 2011 Conventional 0.26 0.22 NEXUS Workshop 21 Learning about learning • Fascinating subject • Leads to better teaching Evidence / research based • Leads to publications • Leads to community Thanks to the NEXUS team!!