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Effects of Integrated Science Courses on the Physical Sciences Presented at the Chesapeake Section of the American Association of Physics Teachers held.

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Presentation on theme: "Effects of Integrated Science Courses on the Physical Sciences Presented at the Chesapeake Section of the American Association of Physics Teachers held."— Presentation transcript:

1 Effects of Integrated Science Courses on the Physical Sciences Presented at the Chesapeake Section of the American Association of Physics Teachers held at Lynchburg College 11-13 March 2005 by Harold Geller George Mason University

2 What Im Talking About zHonors Program at GMU zGeneral Education Requirements zIntegrated Sciences zPhysics in Integrated Sciences zThe Good zThe Bad zThe Ugly zFuture Hopes

3 Science in General Education at George Mason zProgram for Alternative General Education (PAGE) yIncorporation into Honors Program in General Education xfirst 2 years xconcentrate on interdisciplinary subjects The Honors Program in General Education provides highly qualified students with an integrated foundation for their future studies. It consists of a challenging interdisciplinary curriculum that satisfies general education requirements for graduation and prepares students for their majors.

4 Standard Approach to Gen Ed Requirements zStudents choose from among natural science classes with lab yPresented in order of popularity xBiology xAstronomy xGeology xChemistry xPhysics yApparently the less math, the more popular

5 Integrated Science Approach zIntroduce a course that presents a coherent and clear picture of all science disciplines - an interdisciplinary approach - which helps students confirm and calibrate the big picture with the real world. yInterdisciplinary science is an attempt to broaden and humanize science education by reducing and breaking down the barriers that enclose tradiational science disciplines as distinct subjects. x[Source: Tillery, Enger and Ross (2001) p. xiii]

6 Why Integrated Sciences? zAs early as 1996 the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences recognized problems with science literacy in the U.S. yThey recommended that the problem may be addressed by introducing integrated science courses for non-science majors xi.e. integrated science courses versus single discipline science courses

7 Topics in Teaching Physics within Integrated Science zUnits of length, mass and time, and metric Prefixes zDensity and its units zThe Scientific Method zSpeed, velocity, acceleration zForces zFalling objects, Newtons Laws of Motion and Gravity zWork, Potential Energy and Kinetic Energy zConservation of Energy, Types/Sources of Energy zKinetic Molecular Theory, Temperature and Heat zPhases of matter and Thermodynamics zForces, Vibrations and Wave Motion zSound, Waves, Reflection, Refraction, Resonance zElectricity and Magnetism

8 A Quick View zFollowing are samples from Powerpoint presentations that I use incorporating material that the publisher (McGraw-Hill) provided with the textbook (Integrated Science by Tillery, Enger and Ross)

9 Question for Thought zA spring clamp exerts a force on a stack of papers it is holding together. Is the spring clamp doing work on the papers? Explain. zIf the spring clamp does not cause the paper to move, it is not acting through a distance and no work is done.

10 Question for Thought zA lamp bulb is rated 100 Watts. Why is a time factor not included in the rating? zBecause a time factor is in the rating. A watt is a unit of power, and power is work per unit time. A 100 W light bulb uses energy at a rate of 100 J per s.

11 Question for Thought zDoes the person standing motionless in the aisle of a moving bus have kinetic energy? zRelative to the bus, the person has no kinetic energy because the person is at rest relative to the bus. Relative to the ground, however, the person does have kinetic energy because the person is moving with the same speed as the bus.

12 Question for Thought zCompare the energy needed to raise a mass 10 meters on Earth to the energy needed to raise the same mass 10 meters on the Moon. Explain the difference, if any. zThe energy required is less on the moon because the weight of the object (the downward force due to gravity) depends upon the force of gravity, which is less on the moon than on the earth. Less energy is needed to do the work of raising the mass on the moon, and the elevated object on the moon has less potential energy as a consequence of the work done.

13 Question for Thought zWhat happens to the kinetic energy of a falling book when the book hits the floor? zThe energy is converted to heat and sound.

14 Question for Thought zWhy are petroleum, natural gas, and coal called fossil fuels? zFossil fuels contain energy from plants or animals that lived millions of years ago. These plants and animals are known from the fossils they left behind, and the energy in the fuels represents energy stored from these ancient organisms.

15 Sample Question zA) What is the kinetic energy of a 30.0 gram bullet that is traveling at 200.0 meters per second? zB) What velocity would you have to give a 60.0 gram bullet to give it the same kinetic energy?

16 Sample Question


18 zA) How much work is done in raising a 50.0 kilogram crate a distance of 1.5 meters above a storeroom floor? zB) What is the change of potential energy as a result of this move? zC) How much kinetic energy will the crate have as it falls and hits the floor?

19 Sample Question


21 zA) What distance will a 10 horsepower motor lift a 2000 pound elevator in 30.0 seconds? zB) What would be the average velocity of the elevator during the lift?

22 Sample Question

23 Upside zExposure yAll students must learn some physics xMechanics xHeat xWaves xSound xElectricity xMagnetism

24 Downside zLength of time spent on physics yLimited lab time for physics xUse of computer simulated laboratory experiments yLimited lecture time for physics x4-weeks in 1-semester version; 8 weeks in 2-semester version zDepth that can be achieved yLittle difference from high school physics? yLimited knowledge that most integrated science teachers have in physics

25 More News from GMU The Good and Bad (hows by you?) zNew research building; started construction in 2004 yIncludes observatory (maybe planetarium?) and labs for remote sensing and visual technologies zGeology as a department is gone ysplit into environmental sciences and geography zBiology as a department is gone ysplit into environmental sciences and molecular and microbiology zDisappointment with teachers teaching science zThere may yet be future physicists

26 Educators View of Science? zA doctoral dissertation (in education) view of science yThese theories prove that classical science is oppressive, a dead machine. yEinsteins work seems outdated yScientific results are not predictable and concrete. zHow does this get through? zWhat can be done?

27 Another Loss zPrevious students of mine yStarted to teach in Fairfax County and Prince William County, Virginia high schools yTaught Earth Science and Physics yDiscipline problems with students yLittle teaching - mostly discipline and administrative yQuit after one or two years of teaching in high schools yToo many stories like this across country

28 Advertisement: The GMU Future Research Building with Observatory/Planetarium(?) and Center for Earth Observing and Space Research (opening Spring 2006?)

29 Whither Physics in General Education? zWill integrated sciences help or hurt? yIs exposure of students to physics wider? yIs less depth a problem? yAre instructors less experienced in physics? xPerhaps use more than one instructor? yDo individual science courses suffer (student population wise)? yIs less really more, or is less really less? yIs discipline specific science approach to gen ed best? xIs critical thinking and scientific reasoning more important than learning discipline specific facts?

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