eclips: explanatory video clips for physics students (since 2021)

Many physics students report that they struggle in their first semesters. Frequently, they struggle to acquire core ideas that are fundamental for physical thinking and for solving physical problems (e.g., the superposition principle). The aim of the eclips-project is to develop a collection of explanatory video clips for first-year lectures in physics. In each video, a physical core idea will be explained in a self-contained and illustrative way. eclips is a collaborative project involving members of the physics department and the physics education workgroup of the Universität Hamburg. The project is located in action area 1 of the ProfaLe-project.

Project lead: Markus S. Feser (physics education), Florian Grüner (accelerator physics), Dietmar Höttecke (physics education)



Students’ conceptions about the viscousity of liquids (since 2020)

Several everyday situations reveal the viscous behavior of liquids (e.g. like honey in our picture). Therefore, it is plausible to assume that students develop conceptions for explaining such phenomena. However, according to our best knowledge, there is a lack of empirical studies on students’ conceptions about the viscous behavior of liquids.

In this project, we address this research gap. In a first study, the conceptions of secondary school students from Hamburg regarding the viscous behavior of liquids were explored. Currently, in cooperation with the physics education department of the University College of Teacher Education Styria (Austria), a learning program for undergraduate physics teachers is being developed and evaluated. The program aims at fostering per-service teachers’ competencies to diagnose students’ conceptions by using data from our exploratory study (e.g. transcripts) as training material.

Project lead: Markus S. Feser



LEngS-Study (since 2020)

The LEngS-study (Längsschnittliche Evaluation des natur- und gesellschaftswissenschaftlichen Sachunterrichtsstudiums der Universität Hamburg) aims to provide information on how to further improve the new academic training program for teachers of Primary Science and Social Studies at the Universität Hamburg. To achieve this goal, student teachers starting their studies in the 2020/21 winter term are questioned longitudinally during their first four academic terms using likert-scaled questionnaires. The main questions underlying this evaluation are the following:

1. Student teachers’ perspectives on the program:

1a. To what extent do student teachers perceive the Primary Science and Social Studies program as challenging/time consuming/relevant/aligned multi-perspectively?

1b. To what extent do student teachers feel that they fit in and identify with their training program for teachers of Primary Science and Social Studies?

1c. What organizational barriers do the student teachers face during their studies?

2. Facets of students’ affective-motivational characteristics of competence and competence beliefs:

2a. To what extent do facets of students’ affective-motivational characteristics of competence develop during their studies?

2b. To what extent do students’ beliefs about facets of their own cognetive competencies change during their studies?

3. What are the motives of student teachers for choosing to study Primary Science and Social Studies at the Universität Hamburg?

Project lead: Markus S. Feser



Pre-service Teachers’ Sense of Belonging to Science (since 2019)

Various studies have indicated that the educational success of students also depends on their so called sense of belonging. This is the extent to which a person feels to belong to a particular social environment. Previous studies, however, have predominantly examined the sense of belonging of students in a domain-unspecific way. Moreover, there is a lack of studies addressing student teachers in the domain of natural sciences. Therefore, this project is asking the question how to assess the sense of belonging to science of pre-service teachers. Furthermore, the relationship between sense of belonging and educational success will be explored.

Project lead: Markus S. Feser



Physics Teachers’ Assessment Criteria (2015-2019)

Assessing students’ texts is an important part of the daily work of physics teachers. We suppose that physics teachers confound their assessments about professional and verbal skills, but we do not know for sure. Furthermore, no reliable empirical evidence exists about which resources physics teachers use in everyday practice to assess written student performances. These are our research questions in this project. In a preliminary study 128 pupils in Hamburg were asked to write a short explanation of an acoustic phenomenon. Those texts were then classified into two sets of categories to characterise their professional and verbal quality. This procedure allowed us to identify four contrasting student texts, which are used in think-aloud tasks for physics teachers.

Project lead: Markus S. Feser