Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Teaching and learning of complex interdisciplinary topics in physics

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
5.01.00  Social sciences  Educational studies   

Code Science Field
S271  Social sciences  Special didactics 
liquid crystals, density, methodics and didactics of physics
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (9)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  13416  PhD Jurij Bajc  Geology  Researcher  2008 - 2011  232 
2.  01963  PhD Barbara Bajd  Biology  Researcher  2008 - 2011  963 
3.  05974  PhD Mojca Čepič  Educational studies  Head  2008 - 2011  821 
4.  18741  PhD Iztok Devetak  Educational studies  Researcher  2009 - 2011  651 
5.  04810  PhD Saša Aleksej Glažar  Educational studies  Researcher  2008 - 2011  1,249 
6.  12551  PhD Ana Gostinčar Blagotinšek  Physics  Researcher  2008 - 2011  370 
7.  12552  PhD Dušan Krnel  Educational studies  Researcher  2008 - 2009  1,010 
8.  29708  PhD Jerneja Pavlin  Educational studies  Researcher  2008 - 2011  364 
9.  19639  MSc Marjanca Šteblaj  Educational studies  Researcher  2008  25 
Organisations (1)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0588  University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Education  Ljubljana  1627082  30,484 
Teaching of topics, which are also topics of current research, is demanding and requires well informed teacher, the explanations appropriate for the students' or children' cognitive level as well as their preknowledge that is prepared in advance and accompanied with an appropriate set of demonstrations and simple laboratory experiments. An introduction of actual research topics into the classroom might lead to the increase of motivation for learning physics, natural sciences in general or even to the decision of pursuing the career in natural sciences or technology later. The project focuses on two topics: liquid crystals as the current research field and an interdisciplinary topic in chemistry and physics, and the concept of density as topic, problematic for teaching but which also offers a number of interdisciplinary studies in biology and physics of life in water. The intention of the project is to prepare a simple and optimized procedure for the synthesis of liquid crystals in school and the set of experiments accompanied by instructions for use and didactics of teaching at different levels for liquid crystals. The effect of teaching will also be tested as a comparison between the existing preknowledge and the gain of the knowledge about liquid crystals. The teaching of density will start from the specially developed cognitive conflict and will continue using the set of developed experiments for the inquiry based learning. The developed materials will be presented to teachers at seminars and workshop and will be tested in schools. The results will be presented in national and international meetings and published in national and international journals. One of the main results will be a handbook containing theoretical background important for teachers as well as the methodical and didactical instructions for the teaching and experiments of both topics. As our belief is that current relevant topics presented in the appropriate way as well as also old topics presented in a different and more interesting way can rise the motivation of students fro science which we will estimate the possible effects.
Significance for science
According to our best knowledge, this project is the first project in physics education, which developed the new teaching approach for the physics topic rigorously (according to theoretical pedagogical principles, which require also a thorough evaluation of the consequences). The project was especially original in development of new, context relevant topic, which is also an active academic research problem - the introduction of liquid crystals into education. In the project we used the method, which is theoretically considered as a basic method when new approaches are introduced, but for the concept of density for younger students and even more, for liquid crystals for students at the higher secondary school level, was in physics education never implemented in Slovenia. Results of the research, especially the pilot teaching module on liquid crystals using hands-on materials available to teachers is a novelty on the international level. Reports about results were received with deep interest expressed by researchers in the field of liquid crystals as well as by the researchers in the special didactics of physics.
Significance for the country
Development of new teaching approaches adapted to special physics topics (the concept of density in our case) improves students' understanding of natural laws and consequently better achievements of curricular goals. Introduction of new topics that are important for technological development could be even more influential. The largest part of the young generation receives the information about several technological advances and their operation. Knowledge about principles of operation for various modern gadgets and also awareness of interesting research topics may influence citizens' decisions and critical judgments when receiving information. Introduction of new contemporary topics having also a contextual value may influence the career decisions stimulating more high school students to pursue science and technological studies, the area where the qualified people are in demand.
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