Learning introductory physics with computational modelling and interactive environments

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


For the modern physics research community there is no doubt that the development of physics knowledge and cognition involves modelling processes that balance different elements of theory, experimentation and scientific computation. However, the majority of the current introductory physics curricula and learning environments for science, technology, engineering and mathematics education do not always reflect this range of epistemological characteristics. Changing this situation requires introductory physics curricula and learning environments structured around pedagogical methodologies inspired in the modelling cycles of physics research, to help students create and explore balanced learning paths that go through the different cognitive stages associated with the modelling processes involved in the development of physics knowledge and cognition. In this paper we present an approach to this problem that is based on the development of interactive engagement learning activities built around exploratory and expressive computational modelling experiments implemented in the Modellus environment. We illustrate with activities implemented in the general physics and biophysics courses of the biomedical and informatics engineering majors at FCT/UNL. We report on student receptivity to our modelling approach and discuss its effect on the learning process.

Original languageUnknown
Title of host publicationProceedings of the GIREP-EPEC 2011 Conference - Physics Alive
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2012
Duration: 1 Jan 2011 → …


Period1/01/11 → …

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