Embodied Pedagogy for Physics Concepts

  Roni Zohar[1]  ,   Bat-Sheva Eylon [2]  ,   Dor Abrahamson [3]  
[1] Department of Neuroscience, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel
[2] Department of Science Teaching, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel
[3] Graduate School of Education, University of California, Berkeley, California, USA

Whereas STEM education researchers are increasingly turning their attention to the role of the body and movement in content learning, much remains to determine to apply theory to practice. Twenty-four 10th-grade female physics/dance students participated in the implementation of an experimental embodied pedagogy design for angular velocity and balance oriented on an individual, pair, and collective movement activities. Qualitative analyses focused on material artifacts and multimodal behaviors observed in videotaped sessions, which included lessons, semi-structured clinical interviews, and peer-tutoring of younger participant students. Results support the plausibility of grounding scientific concepts in experiences of sensorimotor problem-solving: students’ spontaneous and idiosyncratic multimodal expressions carried through to their individual interviews, tutoring, and summative projects. The summative projects further manifested creativity and deep understandings of the concepts as well as students’ personal abilities, interests, emotional affect, and ethical dispositions. We interpreted the data as suggesting the formative role of embodied, presymbolic experiences in grounding prospective learning of formal science content.