Physics Union Mathematics National Science Foundation

Physics Union Mathematics

PUM is a physics/physical science curriculum that strongly links middle and high school physics curricula and builds on the intrinsic mathematical reasoning to develop and strengthen students’ mathematical concepts at the pre-algebra, algebra and algebra 2 levels. PUM curriculum consists of logically connected modules that allow students to build their conceptual understanding of physics concepts, develop relevant mathematical reasoning and simultaneously learn how to think like scientists. The following modules are developed and are available upon request:

PUM modules contain lesson activities, homework questions, daily quiz questions and final tests. They use simple equipment that any school is likely to have. In case of the lack of needed equipment, Rutgers has a small lending library. The modules work with any textbook and can be implemented “as is” or used to supplement any materials that the teacher already uses. Each module contains about 20-25 lessons.

To obtain the password to download the PUM modules, please contact E. Etkina at


PUM curriculum builds on the philosophy of the Investigative Science Learning Environment (ISLE, Etkina & Van Heuvelen, 2007) and utilizes many activities adapted from The Physics Active Learning Guide (ALG by Van Heuvelen and Etkina and published by Addison-Wesley). ISLE has been a highly successful college physics curriculum. Preliminary research indicates that ISLE students acquire content knowledge better than students in traditionally taught courses and have learning gains competitive with top active engagement programs. In addition ISLE students acquire various science process abilities (Etkina et al., 2006).

Websites with additional ISLE materials: