“Eureka!“ “That's funny. “: Problematization and value in two classroom epiphanies

Gabriel S. Ehrlich, Mats A. Selen

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


Recent work in epistemic affect contends that students' affect during inquiry is entangled with their cognition. Epistemic affect affords a lens through which to uncover the etiology of epiphanies, in which a cognitive leap co-occurs with an expression of positive affect. Using video data from a minimally structured physics laboratory classroom, we examine how student problematization (cognition about problems as problems) couples to their excitement. Analysis reveals two connections. First, problematization can set the stage for a future excited realization (an “Archimedean epiphany“). Second, a problem can itself be an excited realization (an “Asimovian epiphany“). We posit that, in both cases, students' attribution of value mediates the connection between cognition and affect: when students frame a certain kind of idea as valuable and then have an idea of that kind, they feel good about it. We conclude by discussing implications for design and facilitation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPhysics Education Research Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - 2018
EventPhysics Education Research Conference, PERC 2018 - Washington, United States
Duration: Aug 1 2016Aug 2 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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