Explorations in Physics: An Activity-Based Approach to Understanding the World

Explorations in Physics: An Activity-Based Approach to Understanding the World, by David P. Jackson, Priscilla W. Laws, Scott V. Franklin, pp. 368. ISBN 0-471-32424-8. Wiley-VCH , July 2002 06/2002; -1.


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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    • "This paper takes a problem-solving perspective to examine an especially challenging task commonly confronting instructors: introducing curricular reforms into their classrooms whose underlying approach to learning and teaching differs significantly from their former practices. The research-based curricula developed in the past two decades and designed, for example, to advance students' expertlike problem solving in physics, their scientific practices, or their conceptual understanding through peer discussion and guided inquiry [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12] [13] [14] [15] [16] [17] are good examples. These curricula commonly require instructors to leave behind their deeply rooted self-perceptions as knowledge providers and accept the role of coach [18] [19]. "
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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 · 1.43 Impact Factor
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    • "U sluèajevima kada se potpuno eliminiraju profesorova predavanja, u uèionici se studenti »bave fizikom« slijedeaei priruènik s aktivnostima. (Laws, 1991; Laws, 1996; Jackson, Laws i Franklin, 2003). U nekim od tih aktivnosti koriste se raèunala sa senzorima za dobivanje, vizualizaciju i analizu podataka o realnim procesima, a u nekima studenti raspravljaju o konceptualnim pitanjima. "
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    ABSTRACT: Putting students in the center of the educational process and using the results of educational research are basic characteristics of an important movement whose objective is learning improvement in many university courses. For mechanics courses there is experimental evidence that pedagogy with “active students” gives better results than pedagogy with “active professor and passive students”. In this article we present the first results of an implementation of a pedagogy which promotes active student learning in one physics course at the Jesuit University of Guadalajara (ITESO). We decided to use an implementation format in which there are no lectures and in which cognitive and meta-cognitive aspects of learning are stressed. Students gain knowledge necessary for classroom work through reading assignments. Suggestions that it is important to identify difficult to understand passages, to elaborate underdeveloped parts and to construct conceptual maps were used to promote comprehension of the text. The quality of comprehensive reading products and the results of short reading quizzes give students an opportunity to make 20% of the maximum note. In the classroom the students answer conceptual questions (in verbal format, with or without video illustrations) and solve physics problems helped by an expert-like strategy (visualization of problem situations, conceptual analysis, mathematical modeling, verbal planning of the solution path, mathematical realization of the plan, analysis of the solution, and conclusion about the role the solved problem has in gained knowledge). Laboratory practices are based on the POE sequence (Predict – Observe – Explain), in which students first make a prediction with justification, observe the behavior of the phenomenon and later explain any observed differences between the prediction and the observation. The main obstacles for the implementation of this pedagogy are the resistance students shown toward comprehensive reading and their (erroneous) belief that teacher’s lecture is a necessary precondition of their learning.
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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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