Faculteit der Natuurwetenschappen, Wiskunde en Informatica

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Kirsten Stadermann

kirsten_stadermann_dudocbètaQuantum Physics in Upper Secondary schools: Why? What? How? The relation between learning quantum concepts and student's beliefs  about science and physical reality.

Quantum physics (QP) was recently incorporated in the pre-university secondary school curriculum in the Netherlands. However, literature reports that teaching QP in secondary schools (or to non-physics majors) is challenging: Students have limited mathematical background, QP phenomena do not align with students’ classical physical knowledge, and teachers might not be familiar with the subject.

In a literature research on didactical problems and recent developments of teaching QP and NOS is mapped first. We also compare and analyses QP in written curricula of 13 different countries. Research shows that addressing different interpretations of QP – which is directly connected to NOS – can help students to understand QP. Discussing different interpretations and formulating their own ideas seems to help students building mental models. New developments in teaching QP also suggests that introducing QP with two-level-systems adds advantages: students develop fewer misconceptions and directly see the ‘new’ concepts of QP.

The goal of this research is to develop new teaching methods for QP in secondary schools. Several methods will be used for this: expert interviews on and protests of teaching modules; Design based development of lessons (including teacher training) and testing the developed teaching strategies in different schools. The result of this research will not only be a feasible teaching module of QP but it will also give new insides into the need of explicitly teaching NOS in physics lessons.


H.K.E. Stadermann, M.J. Goedhart (2017). Comparison and analysis of quantum physics in secondary school curricula of 13 different countries. Presentation at GIREP 2017, 3-7 July, Dublin, Ireland.