A
primary goal of physics is to create mathematical models that allow both
predictions and explanations of physical phenomena. We weave mathematics
extensively into our instruction beginning in high school, and the level and
complexity of the math we draw on grows as our students progress through a
physics curriculum. Despite much research on the learning in both physics and
math, the problem of how to successfully teach most of our students to use math
in physics effectively remains unsolved. A fundamental issue is that in
physics, we don't just *use* math, we think about the physical world with
it. As a result, we make meaning with mathematical symbology in a different way
than mathematicians do. In this talk I analyze how developing the competency of
mathematical modeling is more than just "learning to do math" but
requires learning to blend physical meaning into mathematical representations
and learning to use that physical meaning in solving problems. Examples are
drawn from across the curriculum.

Reference:

Language of physics, language
of math: Disciplinary culture and dynamic epistemology, E. F. Redish
and E. Kuo, *Science &
Education*, **24**:5-6 (2015-03-14)
561-590. doi:10.1007/s11191-015-9749-7

Watch a video of the colloquium.