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Vashti Sawtelle's BLiSS course highlighted

An MSU Today article published December 5th, 2017 features Vashti Sawtelle's Briggs Life Science Studio (BLiSS) physics course.

[photo of Asst. Prof. Vashti Sawtelle]

Dr. Sawtelle is an assistant professor jointly in the Department of Physics & Astronomy and Lyman Briggs College. Her specialty is physics education, and she is co-director of the MSU Physics Education Research Laboratory. Her research has revolved around making science (and in particular, physics) learning environments more useful to students with a wide range of educational backgrounds.

The article highlights the BLiSS course's innovative "studio physics" design, intended to make physics lessons more meaningful for life science students who do not see the relevance of physics to their own majors.

For example, Dr. Sawtelle is quoted in the article as saying

“A large part of the course is actually taking content from areas of the life sciences such as biophysics or biology and relating it to the students. I ask them not to just do the standard box on a ramp problem, but also ask them to think about why DNA can be modeled like a spring and how that scenario relates to physics. This is a different approach and one that isn’t being done anywhere else.”

The full article, “How a physics class is changing student attitudes for the better,” written by Sarina Gleason, is available on the MSU Today web site here.