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More than “Cool Science”: Science Fiction and Fact in the Classroom
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1.
1. Freedman and Little, “Physics 13: Teaching modern physics through science fiction,” Am. J. Phys. 48, 548551 (July 1980).
http://dx.doi.org/10.1119/1.12060
2.
2. Dubeck et al., “Science fiction aids science teaching,” Phys. Teach. 28, 316 (May 1990). See also Ref. 7.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1119/1.2343039
3.
3.M. Dark, “Using science fiction movies in introductory physics,”Phys. Teach. 43, 463 (Oct. 2005).
http://dx.doi.org/10.1119/1.2060648
4.
4.D. Smith, “Reaching non-science students through science fiction,”Phys. Teach. 47, 302305 (May 2009).
http://dx.doi.org/10.1119/1.3116843
6.
6.Athena Andreadis, “The double helix: Why science needs science fiction,” Thought and Action (Summer 2003), http://www.nea.org/assets/img/PubThoughtAndAction/TAA_03_02.pdf.
7.
7.As quoted in “Science fiction to the rescue of teaching? ” Phys. World (Feb. 1998), http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/1998/feb/15/science-fiction-to-the-rescue-of-teaching.
9.
9.“Did Science Fiction Influence You?” Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society (July 2010), http://www.sigmaxi.org/member/newsletters/scifiprompt2010.pdf.
10.
10.“Diamonds in the Sky,” http://www.mikebrotherton.com/diamonds/.
14.
14.“Raising the Bar: Employers' Views on College Learning in the Wake of the Economic Downturn,” a survey conducted on behalf of the American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U), 2009, http://www.aacu.org/leap/documents/2009_EmployerSurvey.pdf.
http://aip.metastore.ingenta.com/content/aapt/journal/tpt/52/2/10.1119/1.4862117
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/content/aapt/journal/tpt/52/2/10.1119/1.4862117
2014-02-01
2014-10-26

Abstract

The unfortunate negative attitude toward physics among many students, including science majors, warrants creative approaches to teaching required physics courses. One such approach is to integrate science fiction into the curriculum, either in the form of movies or the written word. Historically this has been done since at least the 1970s, and by now many universities and colleges have courses that incorporate science fiction stories or film. The intent appears to be to a) increase student interest in physics, b) increase the imaginative grasp of the student, and c) enable a clearer understanding of physics concepts. Reports on these experiments, from Freedman and Little's classic 1980 paper 1 to more recent work like that of Dubeck et al., 2 Dark, 3 and Smith, 4 indicate that such innovative approaches do work. I was curious as to whether a combination of science fiction and science fact (in the form of a science news article) might enhance the benefits of including science fiction. Below I describe how I used a science fiction story along with a science article on a related theme to pique the interest of students in a new and exciting area of research that was nevertheless connected to the course material.

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Scitation: More than “Cool Science”: Science Fiction and Fact in the Classroom
http://aip.metastore.ingenta.com/content/aapt/journal/tpt/52/2/10.1119/1.4862117
10.1119/1.4862117
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