Authentic Context in STEM Education: Physics

Sensors in the Smartphone

Our smartphone recognizes whether we hold it horizontally or vertically and changes the screen orientation when we change position! But how does the smartphone actually recognize how we hold it?







AC in this Example

Characteristics of AC

How to use AC in STEM Ed

Smartphones are powerful small computers that have become an indispensable part of our everyday lives. While the operation is intuitive and poses no challenges to our youth, the technical background seems incredibly complex. Nevertheless, the functionality of individual elements, such as the built-in acceleration sensors or the lidar sensors installed in newer devices, can be addressed in the classroom.


Authentic Contexts are characterized as follows:

  • Authentic contexts are curricular topics integrated in tasks about real world problems that are meaningful to students.
  • These tasks should gain the student’s attention, increase their interests and willingness to learn.
  • Generic tasks should be used, i.e., tasks which product might be an outcome in the real world (of work) or, at least, are similar in such a way that it illustrates how real world (of work) problems are solved.
  • Several different competences should be needed to solve the task..
  • The benefit of collaboration between students should be clear.
  • The relevance of STEM-skills to solve the task should be evident

Optionally, these tasks include…

  • ... employment of digital resources.
  • … descriptions of STEM - job profiles connected to this task.
  • ... project based learning!

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