Faculty Profile

Amy Robertson

Amy Robertson

Research Associate Professor of Physics

Email: robertsona2@spu.edu
Phone: 206-286-7347
Office: Otto Miller Hall 134


Education: BS, Baylor University, 2006; MS, University of Washington, 2008; PhD, University of Washington, 2011. At SPU since 2011.

Amy Robertson coordinated the Learning Assistant program for the introductory algebra- and calculus-based physics courses from 2011 to 2016. Prior to coming to SPU, Dr. Robertson was a graduate student with the Physics Education Group at the University of Washington and a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow.

Her research interests center around instructional approaches that seek to understand and build on students’ intuitive ideas in science. She uses her research to support these approaches by identifying, describing, and illustrating how students’ ideas can be the starting points for developing sophisticated scientific understandings and practices; by studying the development of teaching practices that attend to students’ intuitive ideas and then identifying what supported that development; and by understanding the relationship between this kind of instruction and other constructs in the literature. She is the co-editor of a book that synthesizes research on this approach to instruction titled Responsive Teaching in Science and Mathematics.

Dr. Robertson is PI of the federally funded grant, “Collaborative Research: University Student Conceptual Resources for Understanding Physics.” This project seeks to identify student resources for understanding forces and mechanical waves in the context of introductory physics instruction and to develop and test curricular materials that build on student resources. She is co-PI of two additional grants, one that studies elementary teacher learning about energy, and one that identifies best-practices for creating inclusive physics learning environments.


Selected publications

  • Robertson, Amy D., Scherr, Rachel E., and Hammer, David. Responsive Teaching in Science and Mathematics. Routledge, 2016.
  • R. E. Scherr and A. D. Robertson, “The productivity of ‘collisions generate heat’ for reconciling an energy model with mechanistic reasoning: A case study,” Physical Review Special Topics – Physics Education Research 11 (1), 010111-1 – 010111-16 (2015).
  • H. C. Sabo, L. M. Goodhew, and A. D. Robertson, “University Student Conceptual Resources for Understanding Energy,” Physical Review Physics Educ
  • A. D. Robertson, L. Atkins, D. Levin, and J. Richards, “What is Responsive Teaching,” in Responsive Teaching in Science and Mathematics, edited by A. D. Robertson, R. E. Scherr, and D. Hammer, Routledge: New York, NY, pp. 1–35 (2016).
  • J. Richards and A. D. Robertson, “A Review of the Research on Responsive Teaching in Science and Mathematics,” in Responsive Teaching in Science and Mathematicsedited by A. D. Robertson, R. E. Scherr, and D. Hammer, Routledge: New York, NY, pp. 36–55 (2016).
  • A. D. Robertson, “Valuing student ideas morally, instrumentally, and intellectually,” in 2015 Physics Education Research Conference Proceedings, edited by A. D. Churukian, D. L. Jones, and L. Ding (AIP, College Park, MD, 2016), pp. 275–278.

To view Dr. Robertson’s CV (PDF) for more information.

Why I Do Research at SPU

Amy Robertson, Research Assistant Professor of Physics

“I believe that knowledge is often the key to awareness, empowerment, and transformation, and that people’s stories in educational contexts deserve to be told. My research centers around telling stories of students’ wonderful ideas, and the teachers who strive to notice and build on them, as a way of inviting others into the good news of what people are capable of doing together.”

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