ADAPTING THE TEACHING OF PHYSICS FOR ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES TO THE EDUCATIONAL FRAMEWORK OF THE XXI CENTURY
This work is based on the results of the innovation educational project “Adaptation of the core Environmental Studies class “Fundaments of Physics” to the educational framework of the 21st century”, funded by the University of Granada. The main objective of this project is to generate specific didactic material for this first-year subject for the degree in Environmental Sciences. We hoped to improve the academic results in this subject, with its very high failure rate, and to facilitate its autonomous study. Although excellent textbooks exist for Introductory Physics, these books offer a high level for the students of Environmental Sciences in Spain, and rarely present examples and applications of Physics related with the environment. Therefore, we developed material, connected specifically to environment studies, for teaching Physics to students with low aptitude and preparation.
At the same time, adapting both degrees to the EEES and credit to the ECTS implies the need to develop specific material and activities to promote autonomous and individual study. Therefore, all of the material generated in this project was implemented within the context of a web page.
For each lesson, we prepared didactic material, that was used for both lectures and individualized student work, including objectives and motivation for its study, detailed presentations of content and outlines, commented bibliography, web pages with complementary multimedia content, and problems and exercises (some of them resolved) related specifically to environmental problems. As examples of this last aspect, we can mention the atmosphere weight estimation using the mean sea level pressure value and the pressure definition, the use Reynolds number to estimate the threshold velocity for turbulence in the atmosphere, or the use of the adiabatic process equation to calculate the adiabatic cooling rate in the atmosphere.
As main results of this project, we have noted an increase in the number of students passing the course.