by Lauren Harris
Supervisor: Dr. Eleanor Sayre
This website is to describe the research I did the summer of 2013 at Kansas State University with Dr. Eleanor Sayre in the Physics Education Research group (K-SUPER)
With respect to teaching in physics there is a lot of concern about how students become physicists. This is important because if we understand how this process works we may be able to make it better or make it happen faster. So what I spent my summer doing was looking for instances of BESM Talk, which stands for Brief, Embedded, Spontaneous, Metacognitive talk. What this means is that students are thinking about what they are thinking and making statements about those thoughts that are random and short in a larger conversation. We believe that these instances of BESM show that students are ‘thinking like a physicist’ (TLP). By analyzing video data from various settings, homework help sessions (HHS), Advanced Lab, as well as oral exams from Mechanics, Electricity and Magnetism and a Conceptual Physics course, we can show that these statements not only exist, but are prevalent amongst physics students. We believe there is a strong tie between the amount of BESM they use and their appropriation of physics, or the way that they identify with physics. This initial work with BESM has been to develop a theoretical framework for this idea.
For more information about the project, look at the Project Overview, which provides an abstract for the paper I have been working on that will be submitted to Metacognition and Learning as well as my final presentation for the REU program and the future of the project.