Lecture 2/3 in the EPIC Lecture Series: Rethinking Physics Teaching – Niels Bohr Institute - University of Copenhagen

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Lecture 2/3 in the EPIC Lecture Series: Rethinking Physics Teaching

(EPIC: Educational Physics In Copenhagen)


Physics is taught in an amazingly similar manner worldwide. Why is that so? We can speculate on many reasons for this homogeneity, but is it reasonable to believe that we have found THE optimal way to teach physics? In reality, our traditions are so strongly established that one rarely asks why it should be exactly the way it is or if it is possible to do things differently.

In this lecture series, three clear exceptions to this rule will present alternative approaches and argue for breaking with tradition in physics teaching. The Niels Bohr Institute and the Department of Science Education gladly invite everyone interested in physics education to participate in this event. After each of the talks, participants will have the opportunity for fruitful individual discussions. Refreshments will be provided.

Feel free to get in touch with the organizers - Ricardo Karam ricardo.karam@ind.ku.dk and Ian Bearden bearden@nbi.ku.dk - if you need further information.

Lecture 2 – October 21, 2015 15.15 Aud. D, NBI (Blegdamsvej 17)

Momentum Flow as an Alternative Perspective on Elementary Mechanics

Andrea A. diSessa - University of California, Berkeley, USA

Through a set of sample problems and solutions, the case is made that the notion of force as momentum flow can serve as the basis for vastly expanding the importance of Newton's Third Law, “action and reaction,” as experienced by students in elementary mechanics courses. Why it is that some aspects of this perspective seem unusual or strange—even if it is formally identical in assumptions and results—is explained in terms of (a) their different intuitive foundations and also (b) in terms of tradition in the culture of physics.

Read also about lecture 1 and lecture 3.