Sources of student interest and engagement in Introductory Physics for Life Science (IPLS)
Ben Geller, Swarthmore College, firstname.lastname@example.org
Effectively teaching an Introductory Physics for Life Science (IPLS) course means engaging life science students in a subject matter for which they may not have considerable preexisting interest. We have found that the inclusion of particular life science contexts can support students whose initial interest in physics is less developed, but that student engagement depends on the particular contexts employed and the manner in which students are asked to interact with the material. In this talk we begin to unpack this variability, identifying factors that are important for understanding why students find some life science contexts more engaging than others. By analyzing data from (1) survey instruments assessing student interest in particular life science examples, and (2) interviews conducted with students before and after instruction, we identify curricular and pedagogical features of our IPLS course that appear to be particularly important for fostering student engagement.