18-02-2021  Thursday

01 February to 31 May, 2021

Conversation and Interaction Analysis in Science,Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Education Research

Every Monday (14:00-16:00), Thursday (11:00-13:00)

Venue: Online Meeting/Video Conferencing

Coordinator: Prof. Ayush Gupta

Graduate Course (Elective)

Instructor: Prof. Ayush Gupta


Thursday Seminar on "Supporting students in using mathematics in physics/engineering problem-solving"

Date: 18 February, 2021
Time: 15:30 - 16:30

Venue: Online Meeting/Video Conferencing

Coordinator: Dr. Mashood K. K.


Prof. Ayush Gupta

Zoom link:


Meeting ID:

940 5808 5713




As educators, we often struggle with how to support students in using mathematics during solving problems in physics and engineering. Proficiency in using mathematics in problem-solving can end up making a real difference in which students appear “smart” in the classroom and who gets better marks in homework and exams; course grades as well as perceptions of "smartness" can influence students’ future career opportunities. In this talk, I will try to address this issue. I will share some stories, based on my research, to illustrate that: Struggles with using mathematics in physics/engineering problem-solving is not always because of lacking mathematics skills or knowledge. Our educational setup might be inadvertently reinforcing the message that mathematics is a ‘plug-n-chug’ tool rather than something with which to make sense of the physical world. For some students, during problem-solving, this creates a barrier between their everyday knowledge about physical phenomena and how they use mathematics. Further, students’ emotions and disciplinary identity might also be tied into whether and how they engage with making sense with mathematics in a particular moment. These stories have implications for the design of research on “novice” problem-solving in physics/engineering, our instructional practices, and the design of lessons and assessments. I will also present some curriculum design principles and share examples of curriculum designed to support students in making sense with mathematics in physics/engineering.

Bio Sketch (in his own words): My name is Ayush Gupta and my gender pronouns are they/them/theirs and he/him/his. I am Associate Professor at the Homi Bhabha Center for Science Education, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India(HBCSE-TIFR).Before this, I was Associate Research Professor in Physics at the University of Maryland, College Park, USA. I did my Bachelors in Technology(Hons.)from Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, India and Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from University of Maryland, College Park, MD, USA. While my dissertation research was on computational and analytical modeling of laser-matter interactions, I shifted to education research for post-doctoral work and continued on that trajectory afterwards. I work in physics education research and engineering education research. My initial foray into doing this was through an exploration of how students learning physics categorize concepts such as current and forces, and how canonically incorrect ideas can also be productive for reasoning and science inquiry. I enjoy exploring how students' emotions and identity are part of the story of how they make sense of and engage with mathematics during problem solving(inphysics & engineering course contexts). Lately, I have been interested in the role of ideologies and power in learning, especially in how engineering students think about technology and society; and how we can design more opportunities for macro-ethical reasoning within STEM learning environments. Much of my research involves making sense of video-records of students' interactions.