Explorations in Physics: An Activity-Based Approach to Understanding the World
ABSTRACT Helps students to:
Increase their scientific literacy and improve their critical thinking
acquire mastery of a diverse subset of scientific concepts.
develop positive attitudes about science.
become comfortable reading graphs and interpreting their
learn to use computers and other modern technologies with skill and
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ABSTRACT: We are developing a new activity-based unit on global warming and the environment as part of the Explorations in Physics Curriculum. We describe the current status of this unit, which focuses on helping students understand the greenhouse effect and its relationship to global warming. We outline several problems encountered in testing the unit and share our ideas about how to improve it. These improvements include the introduction of the concept of dynamic equilibrium to help students understand global warming, population growth and other environmental phenomena.Physics Education 03/2003; 38(2):115. DOI:10.1088/0031-9120/38/2/302
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ABSTRACT: When classroom teachers introduce curricular innovations that conflict with their former deeply rooted practices, the teachers themselves experience a process of change. One professional development framework intended to support this change is the customization workshop, in which teachers cooperatively customize innovations to their own classroom contexts, reflect on the strengths and weaknesses of classroom implementation, and refine their innovations. Two goals sometimes conflict in such workshops: developing teachers’ skills as reflective practitioners (process) and maintaining crucial characteristics of the original innovations (product). This paper explores how to meet both challenges using the insights from a perspective that provides a striking parallel: developing expertlike problem-solving skills (process) as well as conceptual understanding (product) in the physics classroom. We apply this perspective by (a) characterizing an expertlike approach to pedagogical problem solving in the context of customization workshops, (b) determining the nature of pedagogical problems best suited for developing such an expertlike approach, (c) suggesting how to design customization workshops that support teachers to develop an expertlike approach to pedagogical problem solving. In particular, we hypothesize that applying cognitive apprenticeship in customization workshops in a manner similar to its application in the teaching of expertlike problem solving in the physics classroom should effectively help teachers approach the pedagogical problem of customization in an expertlike manner. We support our hypothesis with an empirical study of three year-long cooperative customization workshops for physics teachers that differed in terms of mentoring approach. We examined the questions (a) under which mentoring approaches did teachers perform an expertlike pedagogical problem-solving process and (b) which practices and perceptions emerged through execution of this process?Physical Review Special Topics - Physics Education Research 06/2013; 9(1). DOI:10.1103/PhysRevSTPER.9.010121 · 1.57 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The principles of magnetism are a common topic in most introductory physics courses, yet curricular materials exploring the behavior of permanent magnets and magnetic materials are surprisingly rare in the literature. We reviewed the literature to see how magnetism is typically covered in introductory textbooks and curricula. We found that while most texts contain a relatively complete description of magnetism and its relation to current-carrying wires, few devote much space to the development of a model that explains the magnetic phenomena students are most familiar with, e.g., the interaction between permanent magnets and ferromagnetic materials.1 We also found that while there are a wide variety of published articles exploring the various principles of magnetic induction, only a few of these explore the basic interactions between common magnets, ferromagnetic materials, and current-carrying wires.2,3 The activities described in this paper were designed to provide a structured series of simple experiments to help students develop a model of magnetism capable of explaining these phenomena.The Physics Teacher 01/2007; 45(7):425-429. DOI:10.1119/1.2783151