New research by SPU, UW professors on teaching physics

Physics can be hard to teach and sometimes(?) a bit abstract. But what if students were taught about energy projects like hydroelectric plants, as well as salmon relocation, tribal restoration, and the local resistance to building a dam?

New research by professors at Seattle Pacific and the University of Washington Bothell evaluated public and private educators who are incorporating case studies on power plants to teach students about the scientific, ethical, ecological, and cultural impacts of energy decisions.

"Through this project, we've supported physics teachers and students to recognize that physics doesn't have to be about just abstract ideas,” says Kara Gray, SPU associate professor of physics. “Instead, physics can also give us the tools to understand and address the issues facing our communities and world."

The results showed that “removing abstraction from physics education — and reconnecting power plants to the rest of the planet — prepares students to engage in community decision making and understand energy in its many social and cultural contexts.”

Their research was featured in SciTech Daily: New Research: Energy Production Is Powered by More Than Just Physics.

Posted: Friday, February 2, 2024