Talk Recasting derivations as an activity in mathematical modeling: Designing a gradual transition to computational and interdisciplinary modeling

Event date: 09 September 2022, 14:00 – 16:00

Educational policies across the globe are advocating the introduction of computational modeling (CM) and interdisciplinary practices in the curricula. The most common approaches adopted to facilitate this are based on teaching VPython programming or agent-based modeling. One of the drawbacks of such an approach is that CM is not presented as an extension of existing media, content, and teaching practices. This is a problem, particularly for (but not limited to) resource-limited contexts where many students cannot afford laptops, tablets and smart phones. Also such an approach has limitations in marshaling the existing experiential repertoire of teachers. To address this we designed and developed a teacher professional development (TPD) program starting from physics derivations. The program was implemented as a series of two day workshops for higher secondary and undergraduate physics teachers. It involves recasting the pedagogy of derivations in physics as an activity in mathematical modeling and creating a smooth transition towards computational modeling and interdisciplinary thinking. Our approach draws insights from case studies of scientific discoveries present in the cognitive science and philosophy of science literature. Such studies clearly illustrate that the derivations we find in today's textbooks are the results of extended modeling activities undertaken by scientists at various points in history. The workshop employs interactive software developed by our team, which can be used by teachers as well as students. Since conceptualizing scientific activity such as modeling lies at the core of our approach, we think that our model has the potential to be adapted and extended to other sciences like chemistry and biology.

Dr. Mashood KK is currently a faculty member at Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education (HBCSE), Mumbai. HBCSE is the national centre for science education in India under the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research. He received his M Sc in physics followed by a Ph D in physics education research. Following that, he was a research associate with the Physics Education Research Lab, Michigan State University and STEM Transformation Institute, Florida International University, USA. His areas of research interest include students' alternative conceptions in physics, conceptual change and modeling in science education. Mashood has published in journals such as, American Journal of Physics, European Journal of Physics, Physical Review Physics Education Research, among others.

Event location: Austrian Educational Competence Centre Chemistry (AECCC)
Porzellangasse 4, 1090 Vienna

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