Project: Making the invisible visible: The role of representations in teaching and learning university physics and chemistry
In this project, we are interested in how undergraduate physicists and chemists come to understand "invisible" phenomena through the specialized representations used in their disciplines.
Project manager John Airey, Stockholm University, Sweden Project members at Linnaeus University Emelie Patron, Susanne Wikman Participating organizations Linnaeus University and Stockholm University, Sweden Financier The Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet) Timetable 1 Jan 2023–1 Jan 2027 Subject - Science Education (Department of Chemistry and Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences) - Pedagogy (Department of Education and Teachers' Practice, Faculty of Social Sciences)
More about the project
As disciplines, physics and chemistry attempt to explain aspects of the world around us based on observation and experiment. The knowledge bases of these disciplines have been built up over many years and have come to utilize a wide range of disciplinary-specific resources, such as graphs, diagrams, symbols, mathematics, experimental apparatus, and simulations.
This process of knowledge building is made much easier when the phenomenon of interest can be directly observed and manipulated, e.g., releasing a rubber ball from different heights. However, many of the important break-throughs in physics and chemistry deal with phenomena that we cannot directly observe e.g., radio waves, x-rays, radioactivity, and atoms.
In this project, we are interested in how undergraduate physicists and chemists come to understand such invisible phenomena through the specialized representations used in their disciplines. To address this important research theme, we focus on two specific content areas: electromagnetic fields and chemical bonding.