Fis-mat integrated physics and mathematics: A proposal for a curricular sequence
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© American Society for Engineering Education, 2016.This proposal is a project in an early stage. The curricular sequence consists of designing and implementing three integrated courses of Physics and Mathematics corresponding to the first three university courses for those disciplines. The first integrated course, Fis-Mat 1 (short for Physics and Mathematics in Spanish), combines the first course of Physics and the first course of Calculus for engineering students, and it has been taught once a year since 2012. The goal for the curricular project is to complete a sequence of three Fis-Mat courses corresponding to the first three courses of Physics and the three Calculus courses for engineering students. So far, we have gained experience in a) implementing Modeling Instruction as well as teaching from a Models and Modeling perspective, b) taking advantage of the classroom settings, c) tailoring the activities to enhance active learning, d) using the technology and the laboratory equipment in an efficient and meaningful way, and e) designing activities that provide formative and summative assessment to all (students, teachers, and researchers). The main goal of the Fis-Mat curricular sequence is to teach what is needed when it is needed through active learning. The secondary goals are to: a) improve students' abilities to make connections between physics and mathematics in a meaningful way, b) provide students with educational tools to help them overcome the conceptual difficulties that have been reported when the two courses are taken separately, c) foster a deeper understanding of the physical and mathematical concepts applied in engineering practices, and d) develop successful learners by helping students become knowledgeable, self-determined, strategic, and empathetic thinkers who know how to work collaboratively. Having successfully implemented Fis-Mat 1, we propose expanding Fis-Mat from one course to three courses. That will require a reorganization of content for the three calculus courses and the physics courses, to truly integrate both disciplines in terms of models.