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3. The teaching and learning Einsteinian physics in international contexts
Thursday 24th August Symposia Session III, 09:00 - 11:00
This symposium brings together research conducted in Germany, Korea, Norway and Australia on the teaching and learning of Einsteinian physics.  Despite Einstein’s theories of general and special relativity now being known and celebrated by the science community for more than one hundred years, related concepts are still usually only taught to students in the final years of high school or more often in university, to gifted students or those taking advanced science classes. As a consequence, nineteenth century concepts about gravity, space and time are still taught in schools as if these were the way that today’s scientists also perceive reality and denying the majority of students our most advanced ways of understanding. In countries where Einsteinian physics is taught in the school curriculum, such as Korea, there is often a problem with teachers who lack the confidence and pedagogical expertise to engage their students and support their learning of Einsteinian physics. The four papers presented in this symposium address these problems both from the teacher and the student perspective by presenting 1. The development and evaluation of a general relativity course for pre-service physics teachers in Germany; 2. The development and evaluation of a general relativity class for in-service physics teachers in Korea; 3. An examination of embodied conceptions of gravity and spacetime in upper secondary physics students in Norway; and 4. An examination of middle schools students’ learning about gravity at a science centre in Australia. The symposium is designed for colleagues interested in the teaching and learning of complex scientific concepts at the university, secondary and middle school levels. A goal of the symposium is to better understand common themes that cut across these levels of education.   

Chairperson: Grady J. Venville, University of Western Australia, Australia
Discussant: David F. Treagust, Curtin University, Australia

Withdrawn paper
S3.3.1.2: Development of a general relativity class for physics teachers: A framework of relativity as a big picture
Hongbin Kim*, Gyoungho Lee
Seoul National University, Republic of Korea

S3.3.1.1 A model-based general relativity course for physics teachers
Ute Kraus, Corvin Zahn, Thomas Reiber*, Stephan Preis
Hildesheim University, Germany
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S3.3.1.3 Gravity, imagination and embodied conceptions of spacetime
Magdalena Kersting*, Rolf Steier
University of Oslo, Norway
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S3.3.1.4 Learning about gravity in middle school: Einsteinian or Newtonian explanations?
Marina Pitts, Grady Venville*, David Blair
University of Western Australia, Australia
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