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Vennot L. Thinking in Physics: The Pleasure of Reasoning and Understanding

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Vennot L. Thinking in Physics: The Pleasure of Reasoning and Understanding
Springer, 2014. — 161 p. — ISBN-10: 9401786658
Read this book if you care about students really understanding physics and getting genuine intellectual satisfaction from doing so. Read it too if you fear that this goal is out of reach – you may be surprised! Laurence Viennot here shows ways to deal with the awkward fact that common sense thinking is often not the same as scientific thinking. She analyses examples of frequent and widespread errors and confusions, which provide a real eye-opener for the teacher. More than that, she shows ways to avoid and overcome them. The book argues against over-emphasis on fun applications, demonstrating that students also enjoy and value clear thinking.
The book has three parts:
making sense of special scientific ways of reasoning (words, images, functions)
making connections between very different topics, each illuminating the other
simplifying, looking for consistency and avoiding incoherent over-simplification
The book is enhanced with supplementary online materials that will allow readers to further expand their teaching or research interests and think about them more deeply.
It offers a magnificent supply of insight and ideas, all of which can be put to use no matter what physics programme you teach. The examples provided in this book shed light on the processes of teaching and popularization of physics, from the high school to the early undergraduate level
About the Author
Laurence Viennot is emeritus professor at the Université Denis Diderot (Paris 7) and contributed to the creation of the LDPES (Laboratoire de Didactique de la Physique dans l'Enseignement Supérieur) laboratory, now part of the Laboratoire André Revuz. She has for a long time been responsible for the Master's course in science teaching, but devotes herself equally to training physics instructors. Her books and publications are recognised worldwide as sources of reference (Teaching Physics, Enquête sur le concept de causalité, etc.)
Contents
Learning to think: words, images and functions
Essential tools for comprehension
Some surprising invariances
Analysis of functional dependence: a powerful tool
Putting things into practice
Physics: linking factors
Links between phenomena in terms of type of functional dependence
The relationship between different approaches to the same phenomenon
Simplicity: Ruin or triumph of coherence?
Optimising simple experiments
Popularising physics: what place for reasoning?
Conclusion
Appendices
What this book owes to physics education research
The weight of air and molecular impacts: how do they relate?
Causal linear reasoning
When physics should conform to beliefs: pierced bottles
Reactions of trainee journalists and scientific writers confronted with inconsistency
Facilitating elements of communication: Year 11 students ranking the risks of misunderstanding
Bibliography
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