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Welcome to Physics Education Research Laboratory

Our interests include

  • student understanding of specific physics concepts
  • the use and understanding of mathematics in physics learning
  • curriculum development and dissemination
  • professional development of K-12 teachers and university instructors
  • models and mechanisms of human reasoning and learning

Recent activities

  • research and curriculum development
    • analog electronics and electric circuits in upper-division laboratory courses
    • teaching and learning at the physics-mathematics interface
    • upper-division thermodynamics and statistical mechanics
    • metacognition in learning physics
    • student reasoning patterns
    • comparisons of student understanding in physics and engineering
    • the interplay between specialized content knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge, especially knowledge of student ideas, in physics
  • theory and theoretical framework development
    • extending the resources framework, a knowledge-in-pieces approach to describing student reasoning
    • applying models for knowledge transfer and learning to empirical data, especially for the application and use of mathematics in physics
    • applying conceptual blending to physics
    • applying symbolic forms to student understanding of vector calculus
  • teacher professional development
    • working with middle school physical science teachers to improve the teaching and learning of energy, force and motion and other topics
    • developing and assessing courses on teaching and learning in physics for future secondary science teachers, university teaching assistants, and university faculty

Past activities

  • research and curriculum development
  • theory and theoretical framework development
    • studying embodied cognition in physical and mathematical reasoning

Conference Organization

PERL affiliations

Physics Education Research Laboratory
Department of Physics and Astronomy, 5709 Bennett Hall
Phone: 207.581.1033; 207.581.1030; 207.581.1237
E-mail: mackenzie.stetzer@maine.edu; thompsonj@maine.edu; mwittmann@maine.edu
The University of Maine
Orono, Maine 04469
207.581.1865