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Science and Mathematics

Investigative Science Learning Environment (ISLE): helping students learn physics by practicing it and be empowered 

April 22, 2021 at 3:30pm5:00pm EDT

Virtual (See event details)

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The Department of Physics in the College of Arts and Sciences is honored to welcome Dr. Eugenia Etkina to present their weekly colloquia. Dr. Etnika is a Distinguished Professor of Science Education in the Graduate School of Education at Rutgers University.


The Investigative Science Learning Environment (ISLE) approach is an intentional approach to learning and teaching physics that has two major goals: to systematically engage students in the activities that mirror scientific practice while they are constructing and applying new knowledge and to help them grow as learners and be empowered during that process. The former means that everything that happens in the classroom and at home related to students learning of physics mirrors the activities in which practicing scientists engage. The latter means that the decisions that the instructor makes while planning, enacting, and assessing the instruction support student intellectual and emotional growth. In my talk I will discuss how the ISLE approach addresses these goals in practice and share the research findings collected in the studies of ISLE students and ISLE teachers.

Short Biography:

Eugenia Etkina is a Distinguished Professor of Science Education at the Graduate School of Education at Rutgers, the State University Of New Jersey. She holds a PhD in physics education from Moscow State Pedagogical University and has over 35 years of experience teaching physics from middle school to university levels. She is a recipient of the 2014 Millikan Medal, awarded to educators who have made significant contributions to teaching physics by the American Association of Physics Teachers.

In 1988 she created a system in which students learn physics using processes that mirror scientific practice. The approach was enriched by her collaboration with A. Van Heuvelen in 2000 which led to the development of the Investigative Science Learning Environment (ISLE) approach, a unique approach that engages students in learning physics by practicing it from the first day of class.

Professor Etkina designed and leads one of the largest university-based physics teacher preparation programs in the United States (the foundation of the program is the ISLE approach) which graduated over 150 physics teachers over the last 18 years.


Q&A follow-up Friday, April 23, 11 a.m. – noon.

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This event was first published on April 19, 2021 and last updated on April 20, 2021.

Event Details