Research Mentor(s)

Todd Haskell, Emily Borda

Description

Transfer, the ability to apply a learned concept to a new context, is an assumed outcome of most undergraduate curricula. This is particularly true in the case of energy as a concept applied across science disciplines. Chemistry courses, for example, expect students to understand and apply energy-related arguments when learning about atomic structure and bonding, presumably relying on energy-related ideas learned first in physics. However, students are often introduced to energy ideas with discipline-specific vocabulary and problem-solving tasks, obscuring the fact that energy ideas translate across the disciplines. Consequently, students may develop compartmentalized, surface-level understandings. We are investigating student transfer of energy-related ideas within a coherent science course series for preservice teachers. In this series, similar modeling tools and vocabulary are purposefully used across courses to help students see energy as a unifying framework. We have set out to identify and understand what transfer “looks like” in this idealized context, focusing particularly on energy. To do this, we created a measure to assess understanding of energy concepts in a physics context, where students were directly taught about energy ideas, and another measure where students applied energy concepts in a chemistry context, where they would have to apply their knowledge in a new discipline. Initial data suggest that this is an effective way to measure transfer. On-going data collection is focused on and determining what factors promote or inhibit transfer ability across science disciplines.

Document Type

Event

Start Date

16-5-2018 12:00 PM

End Date

16-5-2018 3:00 PM

Location

Psychology

Keywords

Far transfer, CPT, TrT

Rights

Copying of this document in whole or in part is allowable only for scholarly purposes. It is understood, however, that any copying or publication of this document for commercial purposes, or for financial gain, shall not be allowed without the author’s written permission.

Language

English

Format

application/pdf

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May 16th, 12:00 PM May 16th, 3:00 PM

Understanding what Influences Transfer Between Scientific Disciplines

Psychology

Transfer, the ability to apply a learned concept to a new context, is an assumed outcome of most undergraduate curricula. This is particularly true in the case of energy as a concept applied across science disciplines. Chemistry courses, for example, expect students to understand and apply energy-related arguments when learning about atomic structure and bonding, presumably relying on energy-related ideas learned first in physics. However, students are often introduced to energy ideas with discipline-specific vocabulary and problem-solving tasks, obscuring the fact that energy ideas translate across the disciplines. Consequently, students may develop compartmentalized, surface-level understandings. We are investigating student transfer of energy-related ideas within a coherent science course series for preservice teachers. In this series, similar modeling tools and vocabulary are purposefully used across courses to help students see energy as a unifying framework. We have set out to identify and understand what transfer “looks like” in this idealized context, focusing particularly on energy. To do this, we created a measure to assess understanding of energy concepts in a physics context, where students were directly taught about energy ideas, and another measure where students applied energy concepts in a chemistry context, where they would have to apply their knowledge in a new discipline. Initial data suggest that this is an effective way to measure transfer. On-going data collection is focused on and determining what factors promote or inhibit transfer ability across science disciplines.

 

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