Science & Education

, Volume 12, Issue 8, pp 761–772

Can an Analysis of the Contrast Between pre-Galilean and Newtonian Theoretical Frameworks Help Students Develop a Scientific Mindset


  • Calvin S. Kalman
    • Department of PhysicsConcordia University
  • Mark W. Aulls
    • Department of Educational and Counseling PsychologyMcGill University

DOI: 10.1023/B:SCED.0000004554.35266.7a

Cite this article as:
Kalman, C.S. & Aulls, M.W. Science & Education (2003) 12: 761. doi:10.1023/B:SCED.0000004554.35266.7a


This study examines a course in which students use two writing activitiesand collaborative group activities to examine the conceptual structure ofthe calculus-based introductory Physics course. Students are presented withtwo alternative frameworks; pre-Galilean Physics and Newtonian Physics. Theidea of the course design is that students would at first view the frameworksalmost in a theatrical sense as a view of a drama involving a conflict of actors;Aristotle, Galileo, Newton and others occurring a long time ago. As participantspassing through a series of interventions, the students become aware that theframeworks relate concepts from different parts of the course and learn to evaluatethe two alternative frameworks. They develop a scientific mindset changing theiroutlook on the course material from the viewpoint that it consists of a tool kit ofassorted practices, classified according to problem type, to the viewpoint that itcomprises a connected structure of concepts.

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© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003