ORONO — A University of Maine effort to understand why students tend to struggle through physics classes, and what can be done about it, recently received a $337,214 grant from the National Science Foundation.
All told, the research, which is being done as a three-part study in collaboration with UMaine’s department of physics and astronomy, Arizona State Polytechnic University and California State University-Fullerton, has received just under $500,000 in funding.
The goal of the study is to eventually come up with a physics curriculum that can be disseminated nationally and possibly internationally.
In the first phase of the study, researchers will evaluate students before and after instruction to determine what students know when they enter the class and what they’ve gained when they leave.
The second phase will focus on developing a curriculum, and the third will attempt to determine how well the curriculum worked.
There are four faculty members working on the study, said University of Maine associate professor John Thompson of the department of physics and astronomy.