About The Humanized Physics Project
We are a group of college physics faculty who have a long-standing interest in the algebra-based introductory physics course. There were several issues that we felt needed to be addressed, and still need to be addressed, concerning this course taught at most colleges and universities in the U.S..
These issues led us to develop several versions of the algebra-based course which used the human body and human-oriented topics as a context for learning physics and used consistently formal problem-solving and mathematical modeling strategies. The curriculum materials developed were used in both traditional lecture/lab format and in the studio or Workshop Physics format.
The course materials developed for this project were based upon the conviction that students learn best and are led to more mature reasoning patterns if a strategy of guided discovery is followed in the classroom and students are working in cooperative groups. The fundamental concepts underpinning these materials were first expressed in the physics education community by Robert Karplus, University of California Berkeley, in the 1970s.
Two features of Karplus’s work merit special mention:
• Physics Teaching and the Development of Reasoning.
Karplus worked with colleagues in the American Association of Physics Teachers to develop a workshop to help physics teachers understand the basic ideas of the development of reasoning, primarily based on the work of Jean Piaget. The results of this work were published in 1975 and is available as a pdf download from the University of Nebraska Digital Commons website: http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/karplusworkshop/
• The Karplus Learning Cycle.
As a way to translate his understanding of the development of reasoning by students, Karplus developed a Learning Cycle structure for classroom instruction. The Learning Cycle is well described in a variety of Karplus articles, especially Chapter 4, The Learning Cycle in A Love of Discovery Science Education – The Second Career of Robert Karplus edited by Robert G. Fuller, ©2002, Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers, New York.
A teachers guide to the Learning Cycle is available at http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/adaptessays/11/ .
The Karplus materials have been revised and published in 2009 by Fuller, Campbell, Dykstra and Stevens. For further informatioin go to IAP.
The final project evaluation report can be found here: Report .
This Web site is maintained by the Department
of Physics, Doane College. Questions may be addressed to