2015 Kansas State University REU: IMPRESS Research Project

By Noah-Kee Marks, njm66@pitt.edu

Advisor:  Dr. Eleanor C. Sayre

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††† NSF†††††††† Kansas State University REU Program  †† ††  University of Pittsburgh







This page summarizes my experience at the Kansas State Physics Departmentís REU program in the summer of 2015. Included in the page are my thoughts on the REU experience in general, an overview of my work, links to other information, my final presentation, and a poster I made for the Physics Education Research Conference (PERC) during the week of the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) meeting in College Park, Maryland.



Note to Potential REU Students:


I hadnít done an REU before this summer, so I canít compare it to other programs, but I can say that I genuinely enjoyed it. Working with Dr. Sayre has been really great. Iíve learned a lot through my project, the reading group we had every week, and discussions with her and other members of the KSUPER (Kansas State University Physics Education Research) group. Additionally, Dr. Corwin and Dr. Flanders were both extremely kind and helpful when it came to running the program.


As far the experience outside of the research stuff, Iíve made some good friends with other students in the program! Kansas is pretty okay too; itís kind of hot, but you just push through that. I went to a Royals game in Kansas City and a Cardinals (boooo) game in St. Louis.


I definitely recommend applying! Feel free to email me if you want to know anything about the program.



Project Overview:



My project is part of a collaborative effort among the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), DePaul University, and Kansas State University called IMPRESS. IMPRESS stands for Integrating Metacognitive Practices and Research to Ensure Student Success. RIT holds the IMPRESS workshop in the summer. Itís for first generation and deaf/hard of hearing students about to begin classes at RIT. The goal of the two week workshop is to improve studentsí metacognitive skills and to develop a community of learners, both of which improve the chances of the studentsí success in STEM majors.


The project I worked on involved examining video data of a group of four students conducing open-ended experiments on climate change during IMPRES. My goal was to examine the videos and better understand the dynamics of the group, along with how they thought about the nature of science itself. This involved summarizing all of the videos available, making extremely detailed narratives of a few of the videos, and then making claims based on those narratives. I utilized a theoretical framework developed by Dr. Sayre, Dr. Paul Irving, and Lauren Harris to focus my analysis.










Final Presentation and Poster:


Click here to view my final presentation, and here for my poster.


About Me:  


At the time of the REU, I am a rising junior at the University of Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Iím double majoring Physics and the History & Philosophy of Science (HPS). Itís probably pretty clear what physics is to anyone reading this, but HPS may not be as well-known. HPS, as the name suggests, is the study of the history of science and the accompanying philosophy that goes with it. The histories of physics and the other sciences are not as clean as textbooks may suggest, but that just makes them all the more interesting! Furthermore, the philosophy side asks questions like: What are the limits of science? Is there one true theory of physics? Could we even know we have such a theory? To what extent does the social character of science influence its results? These are all questions HPS people seek to understand.


Iím not really set on what Iím doing after graduating yet. Iím pretty sure Iím going to be involved in education in some way.


Aside from academic things, Iím pretty big into sports, I like books, I enjoy running and climbing, and I watch way too many movies.



Useful Links:

American Institute of Physics

Physics Education Research Central




This program is funded by the National Science Foundation through grant number PHYS-1461251.  Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.