Physics Education for Students: An Interdisciplinary Approach

Expansive Framing Produces More Vivid Introductory Physics Labs

Author(s): Danny J. Doucette* and Chandralekha Singh

Pp: 1-12 (12)

Doi: 10.2174/9789814998512121010003

* (Excluding Mailing and Handling)

Abstract

Expansive framing, which positions students as participants in larger conversations that span time, place, people and disciplines, can be a valuable approach for designing curricula and learning experiences, to help students learn physics through an interdisciplinary approach. This chapter reports on the efforts to use expansive framing as a guiding principle while transforming and revitalizing an introductory physics laboratory class. This chapter, describes student experiences with two central elements of the lab course that are strongly influenced by the concept of expansive framing and related to interdisciplinary learning. First, we sought to incorporate and emphasize experiences related to the students’ real-world and professional experiences, such as connections between biology and physics, that will be interesting for the health-science majors who take the lab. Second, we sought to promote discussions between students and their graduate student instructors about the epistemology of experimental physics, which we refer to as the nature of science, which is an important interdisciplinary goal for the lab class. We explore the need, design, and implementation of these two elements of the lab course by analyzing student interviews and coursework. Consequently, we propose that using expansive framing for the design of student learning should be considered a best practice for implementing introductory college physics laboratory courses when seeking to adopt an interdisciplinary approach to student learning.


Keywords: Expansive framing, Nature of science, Physics education.

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