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Metamodelling Messages Conveyed in Five Statistical Mechanical Textbooks from 1936 to 2001

[journal article]

Niss, Martin

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Abstract Modelling is a significant aspect of doing physics and it is important how this activity is taught. This paper focuses on the explicit or implicit messages about modelling conveyed to the student in the treatments of phase transitions in statistical mechanics textbooks at beginning graduate level. Five textbooks from the 1930s to the present are analysed with respect to their messages about the following issues: What is a good model? What is the purpose of modelling? What does it mean to understand a natural phenomenon? It is argued that these texts give the student quite different perceptions of these issues and thus what of it means to do physics.
Classification Curriculum, Teaching, Didactics
Document language English
Publication Year 2009
Page/Pages p. 697-719
Journal International Journal of Science Education, 31 (2009) 5
Status Postprint; peer reviewed
Licence PEER Licence Agreement (applicable only to documents from PEER project)