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Writing Narratives to Document and Interpret Thinking Like Physicists Emily H. van Zee Corinne Manogue What does it mean to 2 think like physicists? • Be confident and competent in using mathematics to describe physical phenomena • Feel comfortable with ill-defined and multi-step problems • Be able to communicate own ideas and to collaborate with peers Collect Data National Science Foundation • DUE-1323800 Oregon State University College of Science Department of Physics Select Episode of Interest 4 1 Why Write Narratives? To provide examples for instructors interested in enhancing their ability to help students learn how to talk and think in effective ways. Transcribe Class Video and Interview • On-going video of class sessions 3 • Copies of instructor and student writings and drawings • Interviews with instructor and students The Writing Process • Obtain IRB approval for study • Collect data • Select episode of interest • Transcribe video • Interview participant(s) • Summarize physics involved • Describe what is happening • Interpret dialogue and actions • Reflect on students’ thinking • Reflect on ways instructor elicited that thinking References 1 E. H. van Zee & C. A. Manogue, “Documenting and interpreting ways to engage students in thinking like a physicist, PERC, 1289, 61– 64 (2010); E. H. van Zee et al. , “Purpose, preparation, and power of narratives, ” (2013). physics. oregonstate. edu/portfolioswiki/publications: start 2 C. A. Manogue et al. , “Upper-division activities that foster thinking like a physicist, ” PERC 1289, 37 -40 (2010). Summarize the Physics A clear plastic surface represented the way that a function of two variables, such as temperature, was changing with position (x, y). 5 When asked to find a derivative, students needed to ask: At what point? In which direction? What is the meaning of the steepest slope at that point? Reflect on Students’ Thinking Select interview quotes that highlight instructor’s understanding of and respect for student thinking: 3 C. A. Manogue & K. Krane, “Paradigms in Physics: Restructuring the upper level, ” Phys. Today 56, 53 -58 (2003). 4 E. H. van Zee & C. A. Manogue, “Exploring the Gradient, ” (2015). physics. oregonstate. edu/portfolioswiki/whitepapers: narr atives: start 5 NSF DUE 1246094, Raising Calculus to the Surface, A. Wangberg, (PI), Winona State University, MN CI: Part of it is respecting students’ partial answers and knowing how to run with them. I think another aspect is knowing how far to push a student with a partial answer to say more, to articulate more, and when and how to invite the rest of the class back into the conversation. Describe What is Happening Interpret Dialogue and Actions The instructor is facilitating a conversation about the meaning of the gradient of a function of two variables after students used a tool called an inclinometer to measure different slopes in different directions on a clear plastic surface that represented the function. As the instructor picked up a topo map, she elaborated on the student’s suggestion: C: So you’ve got an “x” and a “y” defined by the grid on your topo map … so you could take the derivative in the x direction, you could take the derivative in the y direction… Reflect on Instructor’s Ways of Eliciting That Thinking Select interview quotes that highlight instructor’s actions and intent: CI: I’m dancing. They are telling me things about the derivative and I’m acting them out by taking steps in the classroom and I am also gesturing with the surfaces. . . So this starts with, “What would be a good choice in which direction to step? Implications Watching the video and reading the narrative can help instructors talk about and consider specific instances in which students succeed in thinking like physicists.