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.

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: 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.
    Metodicki ogledi (; Vol.12 No.2. 01/2006;
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    ABSTRACT: For the phenomena of floating and sinking, although they are parts of everyday students’ experiences, it is not easy for them to construct spontaneously feasible explanatory schemes. The results of educational research show that students hold, regarding to these phenomena, explanatory schemes which are monocausal (floating and sinking are due to only one cause, frequently related to the weight or other property of the body), while scientific explanation is polycuasal (floating and sinking of bodies is due to the relationship between the intensities of two opposite forces: weight of the body and buoyant force of the liquid). In this article we report (1) explanatory schemes sustained by students regarding hydrostatic behavior of small bottle in simple situation (bottle floats in water and sinks in oil) and (2) predictive and explanatory schemes of its hydrostatic behavior in a complex situation (the same bottle in water and oil). Similarly as students of primary and junior-high school, high-school students use basically monocausal schemes and are not able to elaborate polycausal schemes, even in the complex situation. Nevertheless, after they have known the hydrostatic behavior of the bottle in the complex situation, it is possible to note favorable changes in students ideas. These changes, in more sophisticated didactic designs and with major time investment, might be a base for a development toward the schemes which are nearer to explanatory schemes accepted by scientists.
    Latin-American Journal of Physics Education. 01/2010;
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    ABSTRACT: In this article we present the results of activities, based on formulation and falsification of hypotheses (the essence of scientific method) by secondary school students, which show the possibility of accelerated development of student’s cognition. With this aim, a multi-part classroom activity was designed in which the students, in personal and group mode, had to consider the veracity of different affirmation about the causes of flotation of the bodies (for example, the bodies float because they weigh little). Taking into account the results from formulations of initial and final hypotheses about the flotation of bodies, and also from falsifications carried out in the classroom, it was possible to demonstrate that active teaching of sciences produces a significant development of the ability to evaluate and verify experimentally he veracity of one hypothesis. A conceptual change in students’ conceptions on flotation was observed, too.
    Latin-American Journal of Physics Education. 01/2007;