id: 06460747
dt: j
an: 2015d.00482
au: Redish, Edward F.; Kuo, Eric
ti: Language of physics, language of math: disciplinary culture and dynamic
epistemology.
so: Sci. Educ. (Dordrecht) 24, No. 5-6, 561-590 (2015).
py: 2015
pu: Springer Netherlands, Dordrecht
la: EN
cc: E40 M50
ut: mathematical language; physical language; mathematics and physics; modeling
ci:
li: doi:10.1007/s11191-015-9749-7
ab: Summary: Mathematics is a critical part of much scientific research.
Physics in particular weaves math extensively into its instruction
beginning in high school. Despite much research on the learning of both
physics and math, the problem of how to effectively include math in
physics in a way that reaches most students remains unsolved. In this
paper, we suggest that a fundamental issue has received insufficient
exploration: the fact that in science, we donâ€™t just use math, we
make meaning with it in a different way than mathematicians do. In this
reflective essay, we explore math as a language and consider the
language of math in physics through the lens of cognitive linguistics.
We begin by offering a number of examples that show how the use of math
in physics differs from the use of math as typically found in math
classes. We then explore basic concepts in cognitive semantics to show
how humans make meaning with language in general. The critical elements
are the roles of embodied cognition and interpretation in context.
Then, we show how a theoretical framework commonly used in physics
education research, resources, is coherent with and extends the ideas
of cognitive semantics by connecting embodiment to phenomenological
primitives and contextual interpretation to the dynamics of
meaning-making with conceptual resources, epistemological resources,
and affect. We present these ideas with illustrative case studies of
students working on physics problems with math and demonstrate the
dynamical nature of student reasoning with math in physics. We conclude
with some thoughts about the implications for instruction.
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