Understanding the role of immediate embodied experience in students’ dynamic conceptualizations of motion
Victor Lee

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship

Award Year



Utah State University

Primary Discipline

Science Education
While there has been much debate about the precise nature of students’ intuitions about science, there is general agreement that body-based experiences are foundational and that they play an important role in shaping these intuitions over time. However, precisely how body-based experiences shape conceptual understanding is still largely unknown. The goal of this project is to examine and better characterize how intuitive physics knowledge associated with motion interacts with immediate body-based experiences associated with familiar physical activities. Stated differently, this study asks whether students’ ideas about motion change when they are physically involved in producing and enacting that motion rather than thinking through something akin to a prepared textbook question about that motion. If there are indeed immediate changes in student thinking, then a second and related goal is to understand the nature of these changes in terms of how the underlying conceptual systembehaves.Too do this, videorecorded interview and physical activity protocols involving various objects in motion will be collected with several high school physics students. These protocols will involve students reasoning through a variety of motion scenarios before, during, and after they physically enact the described scenarios themselves. The videorecordings will also be supplemented with a variety of physiological and motion data, as obtained from wearable and portable sensor devices. These will serve as additional records of what actions were being taken by their bodies and some indication of what their bodies were experiencing during the enactment of the prescribed motions. Together, these data will be jointly analyzed for patterns and co-occurrences of bodily experience and changes in intuitive physics reasoning. Findings from this work will be informative to both educational research communities concerned with science education and those concerned with embodied cognition.
About Victor Lee
Victor R. Lee is an Associate Professor in the Department of Instructional Technology and Learning Sciences at Utah State University. He obtained his Ph. D. in Learning Sciences from Northwestern University. His research focuses on student thinking in STEM content, the use and design of external representations, and emerging technologies to support learning in science and mathematics. Most recently, his work has involved designing and studying ways for wearable sensor technologies to be used in support of personally relevant, data-intensive learning activities. This has involved introducing such sensors and associated curriculum into classrooms and studying how adults use such technologies on their own in informal contexts. Previously, Lee served as chair of the American Educational Research Association’s special interest group for Advanced Technologies for Learning. His work has been previously recognized with an NSF CAREER award and with the Jan Hawkins Early Career Award. His most recent book, Learning Technologies and the Body, was published in early 2015 by Routledge.

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