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Sample records for algebra-based introductory physics

  1. Correlates of gender and achievement in introductory algebra based physics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Smith, Rachel Clara

    The field of physics is heavily male dominated in America. Thus, half of the population of our country is underrepresented and underserved. The identification of factors that contribute to gender disparity in physics is necessary for educators to address the individual needs of students, and, in particular, the separate and specific needs of female students. In an effort to determine if any correlations could be established or strengthened between sex, gender identity, social network, algebra skill, scientific reasoning ability, and/or student attitude, a study was performed on a group of 82 students in an introductory algebra based physics course. The subjects each filled out a survey at the beginning of the semester of their first semester of algebra based physics. They filled out another survey at the end of that same semester. These surveys included physics content pretests and posttests, as well as questions about the students' habits, attitudes, and social networks. Correlates of posttest score were identified, in order of significance, as pretest score, emphasis on conceptual learning, preference for male friends, number of siblings (negatively correlated), motivation in physics, algebra score, and parents' combined education level. Number of siblings was also found to negatively correlate with, in order of significance, gender identity, preference for male friends, emphasis on conceptual learning, and motivation in physics. Preference for male friends was found to correlate with, in order of significance, emphasis on conceptual learning, gender identity, and algebra score. Also, gender identity was found to correlate with emphasis on conceptual learning, the strongest predictor of posttest score other than pretest score.

  2. The IPAD as a Pedagogical Tool in an Algebra-Based Introductory Physics Class

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Garriott, Angela; Bush, Leah; Ramos, Roberto

    2012-02-01

    We report our experience in using the IPAD as a pedagogical tool for enhancing physics learning in an introductory algebra-based physics laboratory course for primarily pre-med students. We used several applications including (1) video analysis for experiments in accelerated motion (2) virtual oscilloscope for studying wave motion and circuit response to low frequency driving voltages; (3) applications for visualization of electric fields and magnetic fields. We compare student responses to this platform versus more traditional experiments. Using student surveys and polls. We also evaluate the IPAD as a new and familiar interface versus traditional interfaces like the standard oscilloscope. We report on the advantages and disadvantages of using this mobile, popular platform in delivering experimental physics content and promoting student engagement.

  3. Implementation of Math Pre-testing and Tutorials for Improving Student Success in Algebra-based Introductory Physics Course

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stokes, Donna

    2012-10-01

    The student success rate in the algebra-based Introductory General Physics I course at the University of Houston (UH) and across the United States is low in comparison to success rates in other service courses. In order to improve student success rates, we have implemented, in addition to interactive teaching techniques, pre-testing as an early intervention process to identify and remediate at-risk students. The pre-testing includes a math and problem-solving skills diagnostic exam and pre-tests administered prior to all regular exams. Students identified as at risk based on their scores on these pre-tests are given incentives to utilize a tutoring intervention consisting of on-line math tutoring to address math deficiencies and tutoring by graduate Physics Teaching Assistants to address student understanding of the physics concepts. Results from 503 students enrolled in three sections of the course showed that 78% of the students identified as at-risk students by the diagnostic exam who completed the math tutorial successfully completed the course, as compared to 45% of at-risk students who did not complete the math tutorial. Results of the pre-testing before each regular exam showed that all students who were identified as at risk based on pre-test scores had positive gains ranging from 9 -- 32% for the three regular exams. However, the large standard deviations of these gains indicate that they are not statistically significant; therefore, pretesting before exams will not be offer in the course. However, utilization of the math tutorials as remediation will continue to be offered to all sections of the algebra-based course at UH with the goal of significantly improving the overall success rates for the introductory physics courses.

  4. The Future of Physics in the Undergraduate Education of Biologists: Beyond the Algebra Based Course

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    de Leone, Charles

    2005-03-01

    The success of quantitative and computational methods of research in the biological sciences has incited calls for change in the undergraduate biological sciences curriculum. This reevaluation of the biology curriculum presents physicists with an opportunity to rethink and rebuild service courses such as the introductory algebra based physics course. Beyond the one-year introductory course, some of the more ambitious curricular reforms include calls for a third semester of physics for students who plan on doing biomedical research. This talk will briefly explore the open question of how we can best serve the evolving needs of our colleagues in biology by considering the calls for change in the biology curriculum such as BIO 2010 and reviewing the current state of the introductory physics course for biologists. In addition, this talk will review the successes and failures of research based courses such as the introductory calculus-based physics course for biologists at Cal State San Marcos.

  5. Nontraditional approach to algebra-based general physics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Meltzer, David E.

    1997-03-01

    In order to improve the degree of conceptual learning in our algebra-based general physics course, the second semester (of a two-semester sequence) has been taught in a nontraditional format during the past year. The key characteristics of this course were: 1) Intense and continuous use of interactive-engagement methods and cooperative learning; 2) coverage of less than half of the conventional number of topics, 3) heavy emphasis on qualitative questions as opposed to quantitative problems, 4) adjustment of the pacing of the course based on continuous (twice per week) formative assessment. The students enrolled in the course were relatively poorly prepared, with weak mathematical skills. Open-book quizzes stressing qualitative concepts in electricity and magnetism were given twice per week; most were given in "group quiz" format, allowing collaboration. Exams (also open-book) were all done individually. Most of the class time was taken up by quizzes, and by interactive discussion and group work related to quiz questions. New topics were not introduced until a majority of the class demonstrated competence in the topic under discussion. Despite lengthy and intensive focus on qualitative, conceptual questions and simple quantitative problems, only a small minority of the class ultimately demonstrated mastery of the targeted concepts. Frequent testing and re-testing of the students on basic concepts disclosed tenacious persistence of misconceptions.

  6. Teaching Introductory Physics Online.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Adams, Neil D.

    This paper describes the Introductory Physics I and II courses taught by the author via the Kentucky Community and Technical College System's Kentucky Virtual University (KYVU). Students can register for a KYVU course either online or at their local college. Because many of the students are not highly computer literate, and they may be working on…

  7. Mathematization in introductory physics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Brahmia, Suzanne M.

    Mathematization is central to STEM disciplines as a cornerstone of the quantitative reasoning that characterizes these fields. Introductory physics is required for most STEM majors in part so that students develop expert-like mathematization. This dissertation describes coordinated research and curriculum development for strengthening mathematization in introductory physics; it blends scholarship in physics and mathematics education in the form of three papers. The first paper explores mathematization in the context of physics, and makes an original contribution to the measurement of physics students' struggle to mathematize. Instructors naturally assume students have a conceptual mastery of algebra before embarking on a college physics course because these students are enrolled in math courses beyond algebra. This paper provides evidence that refutes the validity of this assumption and categorizes some of the barriers students commonly encounter with quantification and representing ideas symbolically. The second paper develops a model of instruction that can help students progress from their starting points to their instructor's desired endpoints. Instructors recognize that the introductory physics course introduces new ideas at an astonishing rate. More than most physicists realize, however, the way that mathematics is used in the course is foreign to a large portion of class. This paper puts forth an instructional model that can move all students toward better quantitative and physical reasoning, despite the substantial variability of those students' initial states. The third paper describes the design and testing of curricular materials that foster mathematical creativity to prepare students to better understand physics reasoning. Few students enter introductory physics with experience generating equations in response to specific challenges involving unfamiliar quantities and units, yet this generative use of mathematics is typical of the thinking involved in

  8. Introductory physics going soft

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Langbeheim, Elon; Livne, Shelly; Safran, Samuel A.; Yerushalmi, Edit

    2012-01-01

    We describe an elective course on soft matter at the level of introductory physics. Soft matter physics serves as a context that motivates the presentation of basic ideas in statistical thermodynamics and their applications. It also is an example of a contemporary field that is interdisciplinary and touches on chemistry, biology, and physics. We outline a curriculum that uses the lattice gas model as a quantitative and visual tool, initially to introduce entropy, and later to facilitate the calculation of interactions. We demonstrate how free energy minimization can be used to teach students to understand the properties of soft matter systems such as the phases of fluid mixtures, wetting of interfaces, self-assembly of surfactants, and polymers. We discuss several suggested activities in the form of inquiry projects which allow students to apply the concepts they have learned to experimental systems.

  9. Rapid Conversion of Traditional Introductory Physics Sequences to an Activity-Based Format

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Yoder, Garett; Cook, Jerry

    2014-01-01

    The Department of Physics at EKU [Eastern Kentucky University] with support from the National Science Foundations Course Curriculum and Laboratory Improvement Program has successfully converted our entire introductory physics sequence, both algebra-based and calculus-based courses, to an activity-based format where laboratory activities,…

  10. A MOOC for Introductory Physics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schatz, Michael

    2014-03-01

    We describe an effort to develop and to implement a college-level introductory physics (mechanics) MOOC that offers bona fide laboratory experiences. We also discuss efforts to use MOOC curricular materials to ``flip'' the classroom in a large lecture introductory physics course offered on-campus at Georgia Tech. Preliminary results of assessments and surveys from both MOOC and on-campus students will be presented.

  11. Fourier Analysis in Introductory Physics

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Huggins, Elisha

    2007-01-01

    In an after-dinner talk at the fall 2005 meeting of the New England chapter of the AAPT, Professor Robert Arns drew an analogy between classical physics and Classic Coke. To generations of physics teachers and textbook writers, classical physics was the real thing. Modern physics, which in introductory textbooks "appears in one or more extra…

  12. The Effect of Assessment Style on Student Epistemologies in Introductory Physics

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Bowen, Mark Ryan

    2011-01-01

    Epistemologies were measured across two separate lecture sections of introductory algebra-based physics at UC Davis. Remarkable differences in epistemologies, as measured by the MPEX II survey were noted with one section's students (section A) showing significantly better gains in almost all epistemological categories than the other (section…

  13. The laboratory experience in introductory physics courses

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Di Stefano, Maria C.

    1997-03-01

    The last two decades or so have witnessed intense efforts to improve the teaching and learning of physics. Scholarly studies have provided the grounding for many projects which reform the structure of introductory courses. A number of these innovations, however, are resource intensive, or depend on the ability to introduce changes in areas which are beyond the control of the faculty (e.g., scheduling), thus inhibiting their implementation. An alternative strategy that overcomes these obstacles is to modify the nature of the laboratory experience (a component that practically nobody disputes is an essential part of the introductory course), to provide hands-on learning opportunities that differ from the traditional "follow-this-recipe-to-verify-this-law" approach. I have chosen to implement a variety of activities that support the overall objectives of the course: developing conceptual understanding and transferable skills, and providing practice in the ways scientists actually do science. Given the audience in this two-semester, algebra-based course, mostly biology majors and pre-professionals (health-related careers, such as medicine, physical therapy, and veterinary), these goals were identified as the most important and lasting contribution that a physics course can make to the students intellectual development. I offer here examples of the types of hands on activities that I have implemented, organized for the sake of this presentation in four rather loose categories, depending on which subset of the course objectives the activities mostly address: self-designed lab activities, discussion of demo-type activities, building concepts from simple to complex, and out-of-lab physical phenomena.

  14. Physics Almost Saved the President! Electromagnetic Induction and the Assassination of James Garfield: A Teaching Opportunity in Introductory Physics

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Overduin, James; Molloy, Dana; Selway, Jim

    2014-01-01

    Electromagnetic induction is probably one of the most challenging subjects for students in the introductory physics sequence, especially in algebra-based courses. Yet it is at the heart of many of the devices we rely on today. To help students grasp and retain the concept, we have put together a simple and dramatic classroom demonstration that…

  15. Semantics in Teaching Introductory Physics.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Williams, H. Thomas

    1999-01-01

    Contends that the large vocabulary used for precise purposes in physics contains many words that have related but potentially confusing meanings in everyday usage. Analyzes the treatment of Newton's Laws of Motion in several well-known introductory textbooks for evidence of inconsistent language use. Makes teaching suggestions. (Contains 11…

  16. Creativity and Introductory Physics

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Guilaran, Ildefonso J.

    2012-01-01

    When I was an undergraduate physics major, I would often stay up late with my physics major roommate as we would digest the physics content we were learning in our courses and explore our respective imaginations armed with our new knowledge. Such activity during my undergraduate years was confined to informal settings, and the first formal…

  17. Fourier Analysis in Introductory Physics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Huggins, Elisha

    2007-01-01

    In an after-dinner talk at the fall 2005 meeting of the New England chapter of the AAPT, Professor Robert Arns drew an analogy between classical physics and Classic Coke. To generations of physics teachers and textbook writers, classical physics was the real thing. Modern physics, which in introductory textbooks "appears in one or more extra chapters at the end of the book, … is a divertimento that we might get to if time permits." Modern physics is more like vanilla or lime Coke, probably a fad, while "Classic Coke is part of your life; you do not have to think about it twice."

  18. Creativity and Introductory Physics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Guilaran, Ildefonso (Fonsie) J.

    2012-01-01

    When I was an undergraduate physics major, I would often stay up late with my physics major roommate as we would digest the physics content we were learning in our courses and explore our respective imaginations armed with our new knowledge. Such activity during my undergraduate years was confined to informal settings, and the first formal creativity assignment in my physics education did not come until well into my graduate years when my graduate advisor demanded that I write a prospectus for my dissertation. I have often lamented the fact that the first formal assignment in which I was required to be creative, take responsibility for my own learning and research objectives, and see them to completion during my physics education came so late, considering the degree to which creative attributes are celebrated in the personalities of great physicists. In this essay I will apply some of the basic concepts as defined by creativity-related psychology literature to physics pedagogy, relate these concepts to the exchanges in this journal concerning Michael Sobel's paper "Physics for the Non-Scientist: A Middle Way," and provide the framework for a low-overhead creativity assignment that can easily be implemented at all levels of physics education.

  19. Using Biomedically Relevant Multimedia Content in an Introductory Physics Course for Life Science and Pre-Health Students

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Mylott, Elliot; Kutschera, Ellynne; Dunlap, Justin C.; Christensen, Warren; Widenhorn, Ralf

    2016-01-01

    We will describe a one-quarter pilot algebra-based introductory physics course for pre-health and life science majors. The course features videos with biomedical experts and cogent biomedically inspired physics content. The materials were used in a flipped classroom as well as an all-online environment where students interacted with multimedia…

  20. Student Preparation, Aptitude, and Performance in a First-Semester Algebra-Based Physics Course

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hill, Robert L.; Grosnick, D.; Ober, D.

    2006-12-01

    For several years measures of student performance have been investigated in the first semester of the two-semester algebra-based physics course. Preand post-tests using the Force Concept Inventory (FCI) and course grades were used as measures of student performance and preparation. In addition, information on high school preparation in physics and mathematics, student demographics (college major, classification, SAT math scores, etc.), and grades earned were collected. Results will be presented that indicate high school physics preparation, college major, and SAT math scores strongly correlate with grade earned, FCI pre-instruction scores, and FCI normalized gains. Using the current investigation and institutional data from the work of Coletta and Phillips1, it will be shown that a strong correlation exists between FCI pre-instruction scores and normalized gain. 1. V.P. Coletta and J.A. Phillips, Am. J. Phys 73, 1172 (2005). *Work sponsored by PhysTEC and supported by grants from the National Science Foundation and FIPSE.

  1. Using a flipped classroom in an algebra-based physics course

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Smith, Leigh

    2013-03-01

    The algebra-based physics course is taken by Biology students, Pre-Pharmacy, Pre-Medical, and other health related majors such as medical imaging, physical therapy, and so on. Nearly 500 students take the course each Semester. Student learning is adversely impacted by poor math backgrounds as well as extensive work schedules outside of the classroom. We have been researching the use of an intensive flipped-classroom approach where students spend one to two hours each week preparing for class by reading the book, completing a series of conceptual problems, and viewing videos which describe the material. In class, the new response system Learning Catalytics is used which allows much richer problems to be posed in class and includes sketching figures, numerical or symbolic entries, short answers, highlighting text, etc in addition to the standard multiple choice questions. We make direct comparison of student learning for 1200 sudents who have taken the same tests, 25% of which used the flipped classroom approach, and 75% who took a more standard lecture. There is significant evidence of improvements in student learning for students taking the flipped classroom approach over standard lectures. These benefits appear to impact students at all math backgrounds.

  2. Teaching Introductory Physics with an Environmental Focus

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Martinuk, Mathew; Moll, Rachel F.; Kotlicki, Andrzej

    2010-01-01

    Throughout North America the curriculum of introductory physics courses is nearly standardized. In 1992, Tobias wrote that four texts dominate 90% of the introductory physics market and current physics education research is focusing on how to sustain educational reforms. The instructional team at the University of British Columbia (UBC) recently…

  3. Using multiple-possibility physics problems in introductory physics courses

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shekoyan, Vazgen

    I have explored the instructional value of using multiple-possibility problems (MPPs) in introductory physics courses. MPPs are different from problems we most often encounter in textbooks. They are different from regular problems since (1) they have missing information, vaguely defined goals or unstated constrains, (2) they possess multiple solutions with multiple criteria for evaluating the solutions, (3) they present uncertainty about which concepts, rules, and principles are necessary for the solution or how they are organized. Real-life problems and professional problems are MPPs. Students rarely encounter such problems in introductory physics courses. Kitchener (1983) proposed a three-level model of cognitive processing to categorize the thinking steps one makes when faced with such problems (cognition, metacognition, epistemic cognition). The critical and distinctive component of MPP solving is epistemic cognition. At that level individuals reflect on the limits of knowing, the certainty of knowing, the underlying assumptions made. It is an important part of thinking in real life. Firstly, I developed and tested a coding scheme for measuring epistemic cognition. Using the coding scheme I compared the epistemic cognition level of experts and novices by conducting think-aloud problem-solving interviews with them. Although experts had higher epistemic cognition level than novices, I documented some instances where a novice showed an expert-like epistemic cognition. I found that prompting question during interviews were 50% effective for students. Secondly, I tested the following two hypotheses by conducting two experimental design and one pre-post treatment design investigations in an algebra-based physics course at Rutgers University: Hypothesis 1: Solving MPPs enhances students' epistemic cognition; Hypothesis 2: Solving MPPs engages students in more meaningful problem solving and thus helps them construct a better conceptual understanding of physics. I found

  4. Transferring a Flipped Class in Algebra-based Physics to New Faculty

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Smith, Leigh; Sousa, Alexandre

    Transferring existing active classroom educational efforts to new faculty is a challenge that must be met to ensure sustainability of changes. We describe a flipped class approach to teaching algebra-based Physics being transferred to a new faculty member. This flipped class includes extensive video and reading-based preparation materials outside of class, and the use of Learning Catalytics for in-class work is developed and tested by one of the authors. These materials are of course idiosyncratic to the style of the developer. Student results using the new materials are compared with students in more standard classes which suggest significant positive benefit over several years. A faculty member decided to use these materials in his own section of the same course. Our experience shows that it takes some time for the new faculty member to use and adapt the materials in a way which matches his own style, which in the end results in equivalently enhanced results. Lessons learned from this transfer process will be discussed. We acknowledge the financial support of the NSF through DUE 1544001 and 1431350.

  5. Using Science Fiction Movies in Introductory Physics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dark, Marta L.

    2005-10-01

    This paper discusses the use of science fiction movies in introductory physics courses at Spelman College. There are several reasons to use these movies in the classroom environment. Movies are a visual learning aid. Introductory physics students show a strong interest in participating in movie-related activities compared to standard group problem-solving sessions. Finally, these activities encourage creative thinking and can be used to develop writing skills. The students involved with these movie-based activities have included biology and pre-medical majors taking general physics. In the introductory level courses, physics, chemistry, and engineering majors worked on movie-based activities.

  6. Nanoscience instructional activities for introductory physics courses

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cosby, Ronald; Joe, Yong; McClay, Randall

    2003-10-01

    Nanoscience instructional activities developed for introductory physics courses at the high school and college levels are described. Modules that introduce students to topics new to the typical introductory physics course focus on, e.g., molecular conductors, electrical properties of atomic chains, and new information storage technologies. Other materials support traditional instructional topics within the context of nanotechnology. In one featured activity, instructional exercises on Hooke's law and simple harmonic motion use the vibratory motion of a multi-walled carbon nanotube.

  7. Enhancing Cognitive Development through Physics Problem Solving: A Taxonomy of Introductory Physics Problems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Teodorescu, Raluca; Bennhold, Cornelius; Feldman, Gerald

    2008-10-01

    As part of an ongoing project to reform the introductory algebra-based physics courses at George Washington University, we are developing a taxonomy of introductory physics problems (TIPP) that establishes a connection between the physics problems, the type of physics knowledge they involve and the cognitive processes they develop in students. This taxonomy will provide, besides an algorithm for classifying physics problems, an organized and relatively easy-to-use database of physics problems that contains the majority of already created text-based and research-based types of problems. In addition, this taxonomy will reveal the kinds of physics problems that are still lacking and that are found to be necessary to enhance students' cognitive development. For this reason, we expect it to be a valuable teaching resource for physics instructors which will enable them to select the problems used in their curricular materials based on the specifics of their students' cognition and the learning objectives they want to achieve in their class. This organization scheme will also provide a framework for creating physics-related assessments with a cognitive component.

  8. Teaching Electrostatics and Entropy in Introductory Physics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Reeves, Mark

    Entropy changes underlie the physics that dominates biological interactions. Indeed, introductory biology courses often begin with an exploration of the qualities of water that are important to living systems. However, one idea that is not explicitly addressed in most introductory physics or biology courses is important contribution of the entropy in driving fundamental biological processes towards equilibrium. I will present material developed to teach electrostatic screening in solutions and the function of nerve cells where entropic effects act to counterbalance electrostatic attraction. These ideas are taught in an introductory, calculus-based physics course to biomedical engineers using SCALEUP pedagogy. Results of student mastering of complex problems that cross disciplinary boundaries between biology and physics, as well as the challenges that they face in learning this material will be presented.

  9. Physics Almost Saved the President! Electromagnetic Induction and the Assassination of James Garfield: A Teaching Opportunity in Introductory Physics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Overduin, James; Molloy, Dana; Selway, Jim

    2014-03-01

    Electromagnetic induction is probably one of the most challenging subjects for students in the introductory physics sequence, especially in algebra-based courses. Yet it is at the heart of many of the devices we rely on today. To help students grasp and retain the concept, we have put together a simple and dramatic classroom demonstration that combines sight and sound with a compelling personal story from U.S. history. Other classroom activities dealing with induction have been discussed in this journal, but we believe that this one will be especially likely to attract and retain student interest, particularly in courses geared toward medical, biological, and other non-physics majors.

  10. The Pythagorean Roots of Introductory Physics

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Clarage, James B.

    2013-01-01

    Much of the mathematical reasoning employed in the typical introductory physics course can be traced to Pythagorean roots planted over two thousand years ago. Besides obvious examples involving the Pythagorean theorem, I draw attention to standard physics problems and derivations which often unknowingly rely upon the Pythagoreans' work on…

  11. Students' Attitudes toward Introductory Physics Course

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Demirci, Neset

    2004-01-01

    The problem examined in this study deals with students' attitude toward physics among the freshmen and sophomore students who were taking first introductory physics course. In the study there were 176 students, and they were chosen sample of convenience from Florida Institute of Technology, Melbourne, Florida. 125 subjects were male students, and…

  12. Deriving the Work Done by an Inverse Square Force in Non-Calculus-Based Introductory Physics Courses

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Hu, Ben Yu-Kuang

    2012-01-01

    I describe a method of evaluating the integral of 1/r[superscript 2] with respect to r that uses only algebra and the concept of area underneath a curve, and which does not formally employ any calculus. This is useful for algebra-based introductory physics classes (where the use of calculus is forbidden) to derive the work done by the force of one…

  13. The Role of Applied Physics in American Introductory Physics Courses.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Poduska, Ervin L.; Lunetta, Vincent N.

    1984-01-01

    Examines the extent to which technology and applied physics should be included in introductory physics courses. Areas explored include the meaning of applied physics, the nature of pure and applied physics, and applied physics as viewed by a scientist, an educator, and society. Implications for the physics curriculum are addressed. (JN)

  14. "Reverse Engineering" in Introductory Physics Education

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Badraslioglu, Duruhan

    2016-01-01

    One of the intermediate goals of STEM education has been turning our students into problem solvers and critical thinkers who are equipped with better scientific analysis skills. In light of this initiative, it is imperative that we, the educators, modify the way we teach classic introductory physics topics, and in the long run all sciences, and…

  15. Exophysics--A New Introductory Physics Course

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Mitchell, G. E.

    1976-01-01

    Provides the outline of an introductory college-level physics course which combines astronomy, astrophysics, relativity and communications with a study of civilizations and the conditions necessary for life. Student comments and an informal evaluation of the course are included. (CP)

  16. Sustaining Educational Reforms in Introductory Physics

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Pollock, Steven J.; Finkelstein, Noah D.

    2008-01-01

    While it is well known which curricular practices can improve student performance on measures of conceptual understanding, the sustaining of these practices and the role of faculty members in implementing these practices are less well understood. We present a study of the hand-off of "Tutorials in Introductory Physics" [McDermott and Schaffer…

  17. Introductory Lectures on Collider Physics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tait, Tim M. P.; Wang, Lian-Tao

    2013-12-01

    These are elementary lectures about collider physics. They are aimed at graduate students who have some background in computing Feynman diagrams and the Standard Model, but assume no particular sophistication with the physics of high energy colliders.

  18. Reflection on problem solving in introductory and advanced physics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mason, Andrew J.

    Reflection is essential in order to learn from problem solving. This thesis explores issues related to how reflective students are and how we can improve their capacity for reflection on problem solving. We investigate how students naturally reflect in their physics courses about problem solving and evaluate strategies that may teach them reflection as an integral component of problem-solving. Problem categorization based upon similarity of solution is a strategy to help them reflect about the deep features of the problems related to the physics principles involved. We find that there is a large overlap between the introductory and graduate students in their ability to categorize. Moreover, introductory students in the calculus-based courses performed better categorization than those in the algebra-based courses even though the categorization task is conceptual. Other investigations involved exploring if reflection could be taught as a skill on individual and group levels. Explicit self-diagnosis in recitation investigated how effectively students could diagnose their own errors on difficult problems, how much scaffolding was necessary for this purpose, and how effective transfer was to other problems employing similar principles. Difficulty in applying physical principles and difference between the self-diagnosed and transfer problems affected performance. We concluded that a sustained intervention is required to learn effective problem-solving strategies. Another study involving reflection on problem solving with peers suggests that those who reflected with peers drew more diagrams and had a larger gain from the midterm to final exam. Another study in quantum mechanics involved giving common problems in midterm and final exams and suggested that advanced students do not automatically reflect on their mistakes. Interviews revealed that even advanced students often focus mostly on exams rather than learning and building a robust knowledge structure. A survey was

  19. Computing in the Introductory Physics Course

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chabay, Ruth; Sherwood, Bruce

    2004-03-01

    In the Matter & Interactions version of the calculus-based introductory physics course (http://www4.ncsu.edu/ ˜rwchabay/mi) , students write programs in VPython (http://vpython.org) to model physical systems and to calculate and visualize electric and magnetic fields. VPython is unusually easy to learn, produces navigable 3D animations as a side effect of physics computations, and supports full vector calculations. The high speed of current computers makes sophisticated numerical analysis techniques unnecessary. Students can use simple first-order Euler integration, cutting the step size until the behavior of the system no longer changes. In mechanics, iterative application of the momentum principle gives students a sense of the time-evolution character of Newton's second law which is usually missing from the standard course. In E, students calculate electric and magnetic fields numerically and display them in 3D. We are currently studying the impact of introducing computational physics into the introductory course.

  20. Examining the Gender Gap in Introductory Physics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kost, Lauren; Pollock, Steven; Finkelstein, Noah

    2009-05-01

    Our previous research[1] showed that despite the use of interactive engagement techniques in the introductory physics course, the gap in performance between males and females on a mechanics conceptual learning survey persisted from pre- to post-test, at our institution. Such findings were counter to previously published work[2]. Follow-up studies[3] identified correlations between student performance on the conceptual learning survey and students' prior physics and math knowledge and their incoming attitudes and beliefs about physics and learning physics. The results indicate that the gender gap at our institution is predominantly associated with differences in males' and females' previous physics and math knowledge, and attitudes and beliefs. Our current work extends these results in two ways: 1) we look at the gender gap in the second semester of the introductory sequence and find results similar to those in the first semester course and 2) we identify ways in which males and females differentially experience several aspects of the introductory course. [1] Pollock, et al, Phys Rev: ST: PER 3, 010107. [2] Lorenzo, et al, Am J Phys 74, 118. [3] Kost, et al, PERC Proceedings 2008.

  1. Enlivening Introductory Physics With SETI

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hobson, Art

    2001-04-01

    The search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI), popular for years in astronomy courses, is also an excellent topic in physics literacy courses. Space travel, relativity, scientific methodology, pseudoscience, and physics-related societal topics can all be taught within the SETI context. Fermi's question (see Kuiper and Brin, Extraterrestrial Civilization, AAPT 1989, p. 67) is especially appropriate. Enrico Fermi, speculating in 1950 on the number of technological civilizations in our galaxy, concluded that we should have been visited long ago and many times over. Thus one might ask, paraphrasing Fermi, "Where is everybody?" Fermi concluded that either interstellar travel is impossible, or is always judged not to be worth the effort, or technological civilization doesn't last long enough for it to happen. Whether one agrees with Fermi or not, the great physicist's third suggestion is a sobering perspective on the sustainability of Earth-based civilization.

  2. Plasma Physics: An Introductory Course

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dendy, R. O.

    1995-03-01

    Preface; Introduction R. O. Dendy; 1. Plasma particle dynamics R. J. Hastie; 2. Plasma kinetic theory J. A. Elliott; 3. Waves in plasmas J. P. Doughtery; 4. Magnetohydrodynamics K. I. Hopcraft; 5. Turbulence in fluids and fusion plasmas F. A. Haas; 6. Finite-dimensional dynamics and chaos T. J. Mullin; 7. Computational plasma physics J. W. Eastwood; 8. Tokomak experiments D. C. Robinson and M. R. O'Brien; 9. Magnetospheric plasmas: Part I Basic processes in the solar system D. A. Bryant; Part II Microprocesses R. L. Bingham; 10. Solar plasmas R. A. Hood; 11. Gravitational plasmas J. J. Binney; 12. Laser plasmas A. R. Bell; 13. Industrial plasmas P. C. Johnson; 14. Transport in magnetically confined plasmas T. E. Stringer; 15. Radio-frequency plasma heating R. A. Cairns; 16. Boundary plasmas G. McCracken; 17. How to build a tokomak T. N. Todd; 18. Survey of fusion plasma physics R. S. Pease; Index.

  3. "Reverse engineering" in introductory physics education

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Badraslioglu, Duruhan

    2016-05-01

    One of the intermediate goals of STEM education has been turning our students into problem solvers and critical thinkers who are equipped with better scientific analysis skills. In light of this initiative, it is imperative that we, the educators, modify the way we teach classic introductory physics topics, and in the long run all sciences, and offer students more opportunities to hone their forementioned STEM skills.

  4. PHYSICS TODAY--INTRODUCTORY PHYSICS EDUCATION.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    1967

    THIS SPECIAL ISSUE OF "PHYSICS TODAY" REVIEWS THE STATUS OF SECONDARY SCHOOL PHYSICS, AS WELL AS COLLEGE PHYSICS AND PHYSICAL SCIENCE. SECONDARY LEVEL PROJECTS INCLUDE PHYSICAL SCIENCE STUDY COMMITTEE PHYSICS, HARVARD PROJECT PHYSICS, THE ENGINEERING CONCEPTS CURRICULUM PROJECT, AND THE NUFFIELD PROJECT. THOSE AT THE COLLEGE LEVEL INCLUDE THE…

  5. The Pythagorean Roots of Introductory Physics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Clarage, James B.

    2013-03-01

    Much of the mathematical reasoning employed in the typical introductory physics course can be traced to Pythagorean roots planted over two thousand years ago. Besides obvious examples involving the Pythagorean theorem, I draw attention to standard physics problems and derivations which often unknowingly rely upon the Pythagoreans' work on proportion, music, geometry, harmony, the golden ratio, and cosmology. Examples are drawn from mechanics, electricity, sound, optics, energy conservation and relativity. An awareness of the primary sources of the mathematical techniques employed in the physics classroom could especially benefit students and educators at schools which encourage integration of their various courses in history, science, philosophy, and the arts.

  6. Proficiency Tests for Introductory Physics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hoffman, Eugene J.

    2006-04-01

    Just as passing a music course from "Appreciation" on up demands at least basic proficiency in note reading and harmony, so even physics for nonscience students requires some mathematical skills. We are often frustrated, however, by students who in the midst of a beautifully deductive derivation hesitate over, say, the definition of a cosine. In an effort to hasten development of key problem-solving skills, I have added timed proficiency tests to the conventional array of learning tools, homework, quizzes, hour exams, etc.

  7. Comparing the Attitudes of Pre-Health Professional and Engineering Students in Introductory Physics Courses

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McKinney, Meghan

    2015-04-01

    This talk will discuss using the Colorado Learning Attitudes about Science Survey (CLASS) to compare student attitudes towards the study of physics of two different groups. Northern Illinois University has two levels of introductory mechanics courses, one geared towards biology majors and pre-health professionals, and one for engineering and physics majors. The course for pre-health professionals is an algebra based course, while the course for engineering and physics majors is a calculus based course. We've adapted the CLASS into a twenty question survey that measures student attitudes towards the practice of and conceptions about physics. The survey is administered as a pre and post assessment to look at student attitudes before and after their first course in physics.

  8. Initial understanding of vector concepts among students in introductory physics courses

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nguyen, Ngoc-Loan; Meltzer, David E.

    2003-06-01

    We report the results of an investigation into physics students' understanding of vector addition, magnitude, and direction for problems presented in graphical form. A seven-item quiz, including free-response problems, was administered in all introductory general physics courses during the 2000/2001 academic year at Iowa State. Responses were obtained from 2031 students during the first week of class. We found that more than one quarter of students beginning their second semester of study in the calculus-based physics course, and more than half of those beginning the second semester of the algebra-based sequence, were unable to carry out two-dimensional vector addition. Although the total scores on the seven-item quiz were somewhat better for students in their second semester of physics in comparison to students in their first semester, many students retained significant conceptual difficulties regarding vector methods that are heavily employed throughout the physics curriculum.

  9. A collaborative learning approach for service-oriented introductory physics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Smith, Michael R.

    1997-03-01

    I have taught algebra-based introductory physics for six years to liberal arts students. It was primarily a service course for students majoring in Athletic Training, Physical Therapy, Geology, Biology, and Pre-Med. The typical student was characterized by having a minimal math and problem-solving proficiency. There also was a pattern of students being predisposed to memorizing facts and formulas, and attempting to solve problems by finding the correct formula and "plugging in" numbers to get an answer. The students seemed to have a minimal ability in deductive reasoning and problem solving, starting from basic principles. It is no wonder that they entered the introductory physics service course with extreme trepidation, based upon a strongly perceived physics phobia. A standard lecture format was used for the class size of approximately 25-30 students; and an attempt was always made to engage the students through the Socratic approach, by asking leading questions during the course of the lecture. The students were relatively unprepared and couldn't participate in the class, and often responded antagonistically. They indicated they didn't want to be asked to think about an issue, but would rather just be told the facts so they could take specific notes for subsequent memorization. It was clear from the results of the open book exams given during the semester that the majority of students could not approach problem solving using deductive reasoning based on basic principles, but relied on attempting to force-fit the problem into a worked example in the text (often out of context, with illogical results). The absentee rate in the classroom was usually around 30-40%. The academic administration of my liberal arts university has the policy of formal course evaluations by the students at the end of each semester. The evaluation questionnaire appears to be primarily a measurement of the stress level of the student during the course, and the evaluation score I received

  10. Effect of scaffolding on helping introductory physics students solve quantitative problems involving strong alternative conceptions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lin, Shih-Yin; Singh, Chandralekha

    2015-12-01

    It is well known that introductory physics students often have alternative conceptions that are inconsistent with established physical principles and concepts. Invoking alternative conceptions in the quantitative problem-solving process can derail the entire process. In order to help students solve quantitative problems involving strong alternative conceptions correctly, appropriate scaffolding support can be helpful. The goal of this study is to examine how different scaffolding supports involving analogical problem-solving influence introductory physics students' performance on a target quantitative problem in a situation where many students' solution process is derailed due to alternative conceptions. Three different scaffolding supports were designed and implemented in calculus-based and algebra-based introductory physics courses involving 410 students to evaluate the level of scaffolding needed to help students learn from an analogical problem that is similar in the underlying principles involved but for which the problem-solving process is not derailed by alternative conceptions. We found that for the quantitative problem involving strong alternative conceptions, simply guiding students to work through the solution of the analogical problem first was not enough to help most students discern the similarity between the two problems. However, if additional scaffolding supports that directly helped students examine and repair their knowledge elements involving alternative conceptions were provided, e.g., by guiding students to contemplate related issues and asking them to solve the targeted problem on their own first before learning from the analogical problem provided, students were more likely to discern the underlying similarities between the problems and avoid getting derailed by alternative conceptions when solving the targeted problem. We also found that some scaffolding supports were more effective in the calculus-based course than in the algebra-based

  11. Methods to Improve Performance of Students with Weaker Math Skills in an Algebra-based Physics Course

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Smith, Leigh

    2015-03-01

    I will describe methods used at the University of Cincinnati to enhance student success in an algebra-based physics course. The first method is to use ALEKS, an adaptive online mathematics tutorial engine, before the term begins. Approximately three to four weeks before the beginning of the term, the professor in the course emails all of the students in the course informing them of the possibility of improving their math proficiency by using ALEKS. Using only a minimal reward on homework, we have achieved a 70% response rate with students spending an average of 8 hours working on their math skills before classes start. The second method is to use a flipped classroom approach. The class of 135 meets in a tiered classroom twice per week for two hours. Over the previous weekend students spend approximately 2 hours reading the book, taking short multiple choice conceptual quizzes, and viewing videos covering the material. In class, students use Learning Catalytics to work through homework problems in groups, guided by the instructor and one learning assistant. Using these interventions, we have reduced the student DWF rate (the fraction of students receiving a D or lower in the class) from an historical average of 35 to 40% to less than 20%.

  12. A uniform algebraically-based approach to computational physics and efficient programming

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Raynolds, James; Mullin, Lenore

    2007-03-01

    We present an approach to computational physics in which a common formalism is used both to express the physical problem as well as to describe the underlying details of how computation is realized on arbitrary multiprocessor/memory computer architectures. This formalism is the embodiment of a generalized algebra of multi-dimensional arrays (A Mathematics of Arrays) and an efficient computational implementation is obtained through the composition of of array indices (the psi-calculus) of algorithms defined using matrices, tensors, and arrays in general. The power of this approach arises from the fact that multiple computational steps (e.g. Fourier Transform followed by convolution, etc.) can be algebraically composed and reduced to an simplified expression (i.e. Operational Normal Form), that when directly translated into computer code, can be mathematically proven to be the most efficient implementation with the least number of temporary variables, etc. This approach will be illustrated in the context of a cache-optimized FFT that outperforms or is competitive with established library routines: ESSL, FFTW, IMSL, NAG.

  13. Facilitating case reuse during problem solving in algebra-based physics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mateycik, Frances Ann

    This research project investigates students' development of problem solving schemata while using strategies that facilitate the process of using solved examples to assist with a new problem (case reuse). Focus group learning interviews were used to explore students' perceptions and understanding of several problem solving strategies. Individual clinical interviews were conducted and quantitative examination data were collected to assess students' conceptual understanding, knowledge organization, and problem solving performance on a variety of problem tasks. The study began with a short one-time treatment of two independent, research-based strategies chosen to facilitate case reuse. Exploration of students' perceptions and use of the strategies lead investigators to select one of the two strategies to be implemented over a full semester of focus group interviews. The strategy chosen was structure mapping. Structure maps are defined as visual representations of quantities and their associations. They were created by experts to model the appropriate mental organization of knowledge elements for a given physical concept. Students were asked to use these maps as they were comfortable while problem solving. Data obtained from this phase of our study (Phase I) offered no evidence of improved problem solving schema. The 11 contact hour study was barely sufficient time for students to become comfortable using the maps. A set of simpler strategies were selected for their more explicit facilitation of analogical reasoning, and were used together during two more semester long focus group treatments (Phase II and Phase III of this study). These strategies included the use of a step-by-step process aimed at reducing cognitive load associated with mathematical procedure, direct reflection of principles involved in a given set of problems, and the direct comparison of problem pairs designed to be void of surface similarities (similar objects or object orientations) and sharing

  14. Tutorials in Introductory Physics: The Pain and the Gain

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Cruz, Emerson; O'Shea, Brian; Schaffenberger, Werner; Wolf, Steven; Kortemeyer, Gerd

    2010-01-01

    In an introductory physics sequence with a large enrollment of premedical students, traditional recitation sessions were replaced by "Tutorials in Introductory Physics," developed by the Physics Education Group at the University of Washington. Initially, summative test scores (as well as FCI scores) dramatically increased, but so did student…

  15. The effect of the flipped model on achievement in an introductory college physics course

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Winter, Joshua Brian

    The flipped or inverted classroom model is one in which the time and place for traditional lecture and homework are reversed. Traditional lecture is replaced by online videos assigned as homework. This frees up time in class to be spent with more student centered activities such as discussion based concept questions and group problem solving. While growing in popularity, research on the effectiveness of this format is sparse. In this quasi-experimental study, two sections of an introductory algebra-based college physics course were examined over a five week period. Each section was taught with either the traditional or flipped model and physics knowledge achieved was compared using independent samples t-tests on both the instructor's unit exam and the Mechanics Baseline Test pre/posttest normalized gain. Results indicated that there was no statistically significant difference between the flipped model and the traditional lecture format. Avenues for further research are discussed.

  16. Is conceptual understanding compromised by a problem-solving emphasis in an introductory physics course?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ridenour, J.; Feldman, G.; Teodorescu, R.; Medsker, L.; Benmouna, N.

    2013-01-01

    Developing competency in problem solving and enhancing conceptual understanding are primary objectives in introductory physics, and many techniques and tools are available to help instructors achieve them. Pedagogically, we use an easy-to-implement intervention, the ACCESS protocol, to develop and assess problem-solving skills in our SCALE-UP classroom environment for algebra-based physics. Based on our research and teaching experience, an important question has emerged: while primarily targeting improvements in problem-solving and cognitive development, is it necessary that conceptual understanding be compromised? To address this question, we gathered and analyzed information about student abilities, backgrounds, and instructional preferences. We report on our progress and give insights into matching the instructional tools to student profiles in order to achieve optimal learning in group-based active learning. The ultimate goal of our work is to integrate individual student learning needs into a pedagogy that moves students closer to expert-like status in problem solving.

  17. Success in introductory college physics: The role of gender, high school preparation, and student learning perceptions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chen, Jean Chi-Jen

    Physics is fundamental for science, engineering, medicine, and for understanding many phenomena encountered in people's daily lives. The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationships between student success in college-level introductory physics courses and various educational and background characteristics. The primary variables of this study were gender, high school mathematics and science preparation, preference and perceptions of learning physics, and performance in introductory physics courses. Demographic characteristics considered were age, student grade level, parents' occupation and level of education, high school senior grade point average, and educational goals. A Survey of Learning Preference and Perceptions was developed to collect the information for this study. A total of 267 subjects enrolled in six introductory physics courses, four algebra-based and two calculus-based, participated in the study conducted during Spring Semester 2002. The findings from the algebra-based physics courses indicated that participant's educational goal, high school senior GPA, father's educational level, mother's educational level, and mother's occupation in the area of science, engineering, or computer technology were positively related to performance while participant age was negatively related. Biology preparation, mathematics preparation, and additional mathematics and science preparation in high school were also positively related to performance. The relationships between the primary variables and performance in calculus-based physics courses were limited to high school senior year GPA and high school physics preparation. Findings from all six courses indicated that participant's educational goal, high school senior GPA, father's educational level, and mother's occupation in the area of science, engineering, or computer technology, high school preparation in mathematics, biology, and the completion of additional mathematics and science courses were

  18. Introductory Physics Experiments Using the Wiimote

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Somers, William; Rooney, Frank; Ochoa, Romulo

    2009-03-01

    The Wii, a video game console, is a very popular device with millions of units sold worldwide over the past two years. Although computationally it is not a powerful machine, to a physics educator its most important components can be its controllers. The Wiimote (or remote) controller contains three accelerometers, an infrared detector, and Bluetooth connectivity at a relatively low price. Thanks to available open source code, any PC with Bluetooth capability can detect the information sent out by the Wiimote. We have designed several experiments for introductory physics courses that make use of the accelerometers and Bluetooth connectivity. We have adapted the Wiimote to measure the: variable acceleration in simple harmonic motion, centripetal and tangential accelerations in circular motion, and the accelerations generated when students lift weights. We present the results of our experiments and compare them with those obtained when using motion and/or force sensors.

  19. Cognitive development in introductory physics: A research-based approach to curriculum reform

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Teodorescu, Raluca Elena

    This project describes the research on a classification of physics problems in the context of introductory physics courses. This classification, called the Taxonomy of Introductory Physics Problems (TIPP), relates physics problems to the cognitive processes required to solve them. TIPP was created for designing and clarifying educational objectives, for developing assessments that can evaluate individual component processes of the problem-solving process, and for guiding curriculum design in introductory physics courses, specifically within the context of a "thinking-skills" curriculum. TIPP relies on the following resources: (1) cognitive research findings adopted by physics education research, (2) expert-novice research discoveries acknowledged by physics education research, (3) an educational psychology taxonomy for educational objectives, and (4) various collections of physics problems created by physics education researchers or developed by textbook authors. TIPP was used in the years 2006--2008 to reform the first semester of the introductory algebra-based physics course (called Phys 11) at The George Washington University. The reform sought to transform our curriculum into a "thinking-skills" curriculum that trades "breadth for depth" by focusing on fewer topics while targeting the students' cognitive development. We employed existing research on the physics problem-solving expert-novice behavior, cognitive science and behavioral science findings, and educational psychology recommendations. Our pedagogy relies on didactic constructs such as the GW-ACCESS problem-solving protocol, learning progressions and concept maps that we have developed and implemented in our introductory physics course. These tools were designed based on TIPP. Their purpose is: (1) to help students build local and global coherent knowledge structures, (2) to develop more context-independent problem-solving abilities, (3) to gain confidence in problem solving, and (4) to establish

  20. Beginning Introductory Physics with Two-Dimensional Motion

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Huggins, Elisha

    2009-01-01

    During the session on "Introductory College Physics Textbooks" at the 2007 Summer Meeting of the AAPT, there was a brief discussion about whether introductory physics should begin with one-dimensional motion or two-dimensional motion. Here we present the case that by starting with two-dimensional motion, we are able to introduce a considerable…

  1. Equity Investigation of Attitudinal Shifts in Introductory Physics

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Traxler, Adrienne; Brewe, Eric

    2015-01-01

    We report on seven years of attitudinal data using the Colorado Learning Attitudes about Science Survey from University Modeling Instruction (UMI) sections of introductory physics at Florida International University. University Modeling Instruction is a curricular and pedagogical transformation of introductory university physics that engages…

  2. Teaching Assistants' Beliefs regarding Example Solutions in Introductory Physics

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Lin, Shih-Yin; Henderson, Charles; Mamudi, William; Singh, Chandralekha; Yerushalmi, Edit

    2013-01-01

    As part of a larger study to understand instructors' considerations regarding the learning and teaching of problem solving in an introductory physics course, we investigated beliefs of first-year graduate teaching assistants (TAs) regarding the use of example solutions in introductory physics. In particular, we examine how the goal of promoting…

  3. Introductory physics in biological context: An approach to improve introductory physics for life science students

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Crouch, Catherine H.; Heller, Kenneth

    2014-05-01

    We describe restructuring the introductory physics for life science students (IPLS) course to better support these students in using physics to understand their chosen fields. Our courses teach physics using biologically rich contexts. Specifically, we use examples in which fundamental physics contributes significantly to understanding a biological system to make explicit the value of physics to the life sciences. This requires selecting the course content to reflect the topics most relevant to biology while maintaining the fundamental disciplinary structure of physics. In addition to stressing the importance of the fundamental principles of physics, an important goal is developing students' quantitative and problem solving skills. Our guiding pedagogical framework is the cognitive apprenticeship model, in which learning occurs most effectively when students can articulate why what they are learning matters to them. In this article, we describe our courses, summarize initial assessment data, and identify needs for future research.

  4. Sustaining educational reforms in introductory physics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pollock, Steven J.; Finkelstein, Noah D.

    2008-06-01

    While it is well known which curricular practices can improve student performance on measures of conceptual understanding, the sustaining of these practices and the role of faculty members in implementing these practices are less well understood. We present a study of the hand-off of Tutorials in Introductory Physics [McDermott and Schaffer (Prentice-Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ, 2002)] from initial adopters to other instructors at the University of Colorado, including traditional faculty not involved in physics educational research. The study examines the impact of implementation of tutorials on student conceptual learning across ten first-semester, and seven second-semester courses, for 15 faculty members over 13 semesters, and includes roughly 5000 students. It is possible to demonstrate consistently high, and statistically indistinguishable, student learning gains for different faculty members; however, such results are not the norm and appear to rely on a variety of factors. Student performance varies by faculty background—faculty involved in, or informed by physics education research, consistently post higher student learning gains than less-informed faculty. Student performance in these courses also varies by curricula used—all semesters in which the research-based Tutorials and learning assistants are used have higher student learning gains than those semesters that rely on nonresearch-based materials and do not employ learning assistants.

  5. Introductory Biophysics Course: Presentation of Physics in a Biological Context

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Henderson, B. J.; Henderson, M. A.

    1976-01-01

    An introductory biophysics course for science students who have previously taken two quarters of noncalculus physics is described. Material covered emphasizes the physical principles of sound, light, electricity, energy, and information. (Author/CP)

  6. Tutorials in Introductory Physics: The Pain and the Gain

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cruz, Émerson; O'Shea, Brian; Schaffenberger, Werner; Wolf, Steven; Kortemeyer, Gerd

    2010-10-01

    In an introductory physics sequence with a large enrollment of premedical students, traditional recitation sessions were replaced by Tutorials in Introductory Physics, developed by the Physics Education Group at the University of Washington. Initially, summative test scores (as well as FCI scores) dramatically increased, but so did student complaints and workload. Both effects decreased over time. The paper discusses issues that instructors should consider when contemplating implementation of the tutorials.

  7. Teaching Technolgies for the Introductory Physics Classroom

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McNairy, William

    2003-11-01

    At Duke University we use several technologies in the Introductory Physics Courses for Life Sciences Majors. These tools assist the instructors in obtaining formative assessments of student understanding and provide students with feedback during each week of the semester. PreLecture and Survey assignments are delivered via the Web using the BlackBoard course management program. In addition, infrared transmitters (aka Personal Response System, PRS) have been used in classroom to poll conceptual and computational questions relating to reading assignments, to examples worked in lecture and to demonstrations that have been (or will be) done for the students. The instructor may choose to review the material or to move on to subsequent topics with greater confidence that the students are fully prepared method encouraged by the Just In Time Teaching model. On occasion, the initial response distribution is hidden in order to encourage Instruction between the students before the question is repolled. From these experiences students may see shifts in their understanding (or instructors can confirm the persistence of misconceptions!). Data obtained from the courses reveal interesting correlations between polling scores, prior AP experiences, gender and the overall grades earned in the courses.

  8. Black Holes and Pulsars in the Introductory Physics Course

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Orear, Jay; Salpeter, E. E.

    1973-01-01

    Discusses the phenomenon of formation of white dwarfs, neutron stars, and black holes from dying stars for the purpose of providing college teachers with materials usable in the introductory physics course. (CC)

  9. Engaging Students In Modeling Instruction for Introductory Physics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Brewe, Eric

    2016-05-01

    Teaching introductory physics is arguably one of the most important things that a physics department does. It is the primary way that students from other science disciplines engage with physics and it is the introduction to physics for majors. Modeling instruction is an active learning strategy for introductory physics built on the premise that science proceeds through the iterative process of model construction, development, deployment, and revision. We describe the role that participating in authentic modeling has in learning and then explore how students engage in this process in the classroom. In this presentation, we provide a theoretical background on models and modeling and describe how these theoretical elements are enacted in the introductory university physics classroom. We provide both quantitative and video data to link the development of a conceptual model to the design of the learning environment and to student outcomes. This work is supported in part by DUE #1140706.

  10. Changes are Afoot in Physics Introductory Texts of Today

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Khoon, Koh Aik; Jalal, Azman; Daud, Abdul Razak; Abd-Shukor, Roslan; Samat, Supian; Talib, Ibrahim Abu; Othman, Mazlan; Yatim, Baharudin

    2008-01-01

    Among the many changes that have taken place in physics education in recent years is the fact that physics introductory texts have undergone some drastic changes in layout, content, approach and presentation. It is a total breath of fresh air compared with the drab physics texts of yesteryear. This paper takes a closer look on the changes that…

  11. Multimedia animations for Introductory Physics using Macromedia's Director

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Amiri, Farhang

    1998-04-01

    Director (from Macromedia) is a powerful software tool for developing multimedia animations and simulations in physics. In this paper, we present some of the modules that we have developed for a conceptual physics course which will be offered on the web as well as on a LAN server. These modules, written in Lingo (the scripting language of Director), are aimed at improving students understanding of different concepts in introductory physics. Their main feature is their simplicity, clear presentation, emphasis on qualitative concepts, and most importantly, their interactivity. We will describe how these animations may be icorporated in introductory physics courses.

  12. Examining issues of underrepresented minority students in introductory physics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Watkins, Jessica Ellen

    In this dissertation we examine several issues related to the retention of under-represented minority students in physics and science. In the first section, we show that in calculus-based introductory physics courses, the gender gap on the FCI is diminished through the use of interactive techniques, but in lower-level introductory courses, the gap persists, similar to reports published at other institutions. We find that under-represented racial minorities perform similar to their peers with comparable academic preparation on conceptual surveys, but their average exam grades and course grades are lower. We also examine student persistence in science majors; finding a significant relationship between pedagogy in an introductory physics course and persistence in science. In the second section, we look at student end-of-semester evaluations and find that female students rate interactive teaching methods a full point lower than their male peers. Looking more deeply at student interview data, we find that female students report more social issues related to the discussions in class and both male and female students cite feeling pressure to obtain the correct answer to clicker questions. Finally, we take a look an often-cited claim for gender differences in STEM participation: cognitive differences explain achievement differences in physics. We examine specifically the role of mental rotations in physics achievement and problem-solving, viewing mental rotations as a tool that students can use on physics problems. We first look at student survey results for lower-level introductory students, finding a low, but significant correlation between performance on a mental rotations test and performance in introductory physics courses. In contrast, we did not find a significant relationship for students in the upper-level introductory course. We also examine student problem-solving interviews to investigate the role of mental rotations on introductory problems.

  13. Designing an Introductory Physics Course for Biological Science Students

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Heller, Kenneth

    2009-05-01

    For the past four years the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Minnesota has been revising its Introductory Physics Course specifically targeted to biological science and pre-medical students. The course design process includes determining the reasons that introductory physics is required by the biology faculty and determining how or if to satisfy their goals. The resulting course must substantially satisfy the goals of the biology faculty, be an introductory physics course that stresses the application of fundamental principles and relates them to complex situations typical in biology, be of interest to beginning biology students, and be teachable by ordinary physics professors. The design process for the content and the pedagogy of the course will be described as will the resulting course structure. Student performance measures for the revised course will also be given.

  14. New Approach to Analyzing Physics Problems: A Taxonomy of Introductory Physics Problems

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Teodorescu, Raluca E.; Bennhold, Cornelius; Feldman, Gerald; Medsker, Larry

    2013-01-01

    This paper describes research on a classification of physics problems in the context of introductory physics courses. This classification, called the Taxonomy of Introductory Physics Problems (TIPP), relates physics problems to the cognitive processes required to solve them. TIPP was created in order to design educational objectives, to develop…

  15. Impact Crater Experiments for Introductory Physics and Astronomy Laboratories

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Claycomb, J. R.

    2009-01-01

    Activity-based collisional analysis is developed for introductory physics and astronomy laboratory experiments. Crushable floral foam is used to investigate the physics of projectiles undergoing completely inelastic collisions with a low-density solid forming impact craters. Simple drop experiments enable determination of the average acceleration,…

  16. Teaching Introductory Undergraduate Physics Using Commercial Video Games

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Mohanty, Soumya D.; Cantu, Sergio

    2011-01-01

    Commercial video games are increasingly using sophisticated physics simulations to create a more immersive experience for players. This also makes them a powerful tool for engaging students in learning physics. We provide some examples to show how commercial off-the-shelf games can be used to teach specific topics in introductory undergraduate…

  17. Polymer Physics in an Introductory General Physics Course

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Liff, Mark I.

    2004-12-01

    Do all solids expand upon heating? To most people's surprise, there is a class of rather common solids, namely rubbery elastic polymers, capable of contracting upon heating1,2 while staying in the same solid phase. This seems contradictory to common sense and the physical theories of thermal behavior of ordinary solids. The physical behavior of elastic polymers continues to amaze physics and chemistry students as well as many scientists, despite the fact that it was experimentally detected in natural rubbers two centuries ago. For the following 125 years this phenomenon remained unexplained. An explanation was finally found only in the 1930s when the new science of "polymer physics" emerged. The goal of this paper is to demonstrate that some elements of polymer physics can be useful in teaching introductory general physics, especially in discussing the thermal properties of solids and for introducing the concept of entropy. Initially, several simple demo/lab experiments manifesting the extraordinary thermal properties of rubbers will be discussed. A brief description of the search for an explanation of the physics underlying this behavior will follow. The discussion will include the macromolecular hypothesis of Staudinger,3 the notion of a conformational state of a macromolecule, and the idea of statistical probabilities for the end-to-end macromolecular distances.1,2,4 The latter leads directly to an explanation of the emergence of the entropic force that is responsible for contraction upon heating. These notions are shown to be easily employable for introducing the idea of entropy to a beginner.

  18. Teaching introductory undergraduate physics using commercial video games

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mohanty, Soumya D.; Cantu, Sergio

    2011-09-01

    Commercial video games are increasingly using sophisticated physics simulations to create a more immersive experience for players. This also makes them a powerful tool for engaging students in learning physics. We provide some examples to show how commercial off-the-shelf games can be used to teach specific topics in introductory undergraduate physics. The examples are selected from a course taught predominantly through the medium of commercial video games.

  19. Assessing Expertise in Introductory Physics Using Categorization Task

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Mason, Andrew; Singh, Chandralekha

    2011-01-01

    The ability to categorize problems based upon underlying principles, rather than surface features or contexts, is considered one of several proxy predictors of expertise in problem solving. With inspiration from the classic study by Chi, Feltovich, and Glaser, we assess the distribution of expertise among introductory physics students by asking…

  20. Spherical Rare-Earth Magnets in Introductory Physics

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Adams, Al

    2007-01-01

    Permanent magnets have long been used in both traditional laboratory exercises and in inquiry-based learning activities. These pedagogical applications are typically timed to correspond to the early coverage of magnetism in the second-semester sequence of introductory physics. At the initial level the concepts relate to the magnetic field of the…

  1. Individualized Instruction in Science, Introductory Physical Science, Learning Activity Packages.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Kuczma, R. M.

    Learning Activity Packages (LAP) mostly relating to the Introductory Physical Science Text are presented in this manual for use in sampling a new type of instruction. The total of 14 topics are incorporated into five units: (1) introduction to individualized learning; (2) observation versus interpretation; (3) quantity of matter; (4) introduction…

  2. Autonomy and the Student Experience in Introductory Physics

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Hall, Nicholas Ron

    2013-01-01

    The role of autonomy in the student experience in a large-enrollment undergraduate introductory physics course was studied from a Self-Determination Theory perspective with two studies. Study I, a correlational study, investigated whether certain aspects of the student experience correlated with how autonomy supportive (vs. controlling) students…

  3. Effectiveness of "Tutorials for Introductory Physics" in Argentinean High Schools

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Benegas J.; Flores, J. Sirur

    2014-01-01

    This longitudinal study reports the results of a replication of "Tutorials in Introductory Physics" in high schools of a Latin-American country. The main objective of this study was to examine the suitability of "Tutorials" for local science education reform. Conceptual learning of simple resistive electric circuits was…

  4. Prior Preparation in Math and Science and its Effect on Student Performance in an Introductory Physics Course

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sudol, Jeffrey J.

    2011-01-01

    I developed a test, hereafter the Baseline Test, to measure the extent to which students meet the expectations of a college level, algebra-based, introductory physics course with regard to prior preparation in math and science. The average Baseline Test score for a sample of N=182 undergraduate students is 0.55 ± 0.18, consistent with past efforts to make similar measurements. Positive correlation is found between Baseline Test scores and average exam scores (r=0.57, p < 0.0001, N=144). Positive correlation is also found between Baseline Test scores and Force Concept Inventory gains (r=0.45, p < 0.0001, N=141). An analysis of the complete record of student responses to each of the Baseline Test questions and the multiple choice questions on exams reveals no apparent, causal relationship between prior preparation in math and science and student performance on exams. The data suggest the presence of a hidden variable.

  5. Assessing Student Expertise in Introductory Physics with Isomorphic Problems. I. Performance on Nonintuitive Problem Pair from Introductory Physics

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Singh, Chandralekha

    2008-01-01

    Investigations related to expertise in problem solving and ability to transfer learning from one context to another are important for developing strategies to help students perform more expertlike tasks. Here we analyze written responses to a pair of nonintuitive isomorphic problems given to introductory physics students and discussions with a…

  6. SETI: A good introductory physics topic

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hobson, Art

    1997-04-01

    If America is to achieve the science literacy that is essential to industrialized democracy, all students must study such topics as scientific methodology, pseudoscience, ozone depletion, and global warming. My large-enrollment liberal-arts physics course covers the great principles of physics along with several such philosophical and societal topics. It is easy to include the interdisciplinary context of physics in courses for non-scientists, because these courses are flexible, conceptual, and taught to students whose interests span a broad range. Students find these topics relevant and fascinating, leading to large enrollments by non-scientists even in courses labeled ''physics.'' I will discuss my approach to teaching the search for extra-terrestrial intelligence (SETI), a topic with lots of good physics and with connections to scientific methodology and pseudoscience. A textbook for this kind of course has been published, Physics: Concepts and Connections (Prentice-Hall, 1995).

  7. Teaching symmetry in the introductory physics curriculum

    SciTech Connect

    Hill, C. T.; Lederman, L. M.

    2000-01-01

    Modern physics is largely defined by fundamental symmetry principles and Noether's Theorem. Yet these are not taught, or rarely mentioned, to beginning students, thus missing an opportunity to reveal that the subject of physics is as lively and contemporary as molecular biology, and as beautiful as the arts. We prescribe a symmetry module to insert into the curriculum, of a week's length.

  8. Guided Anarchy in an Introductory Physics Laboratory

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Heller, Kenneth

    1973-01-01

    Describes a physics laboratory course which operates without written instructions and with no required experiments. Course is based upon one- or two-week topics in mechanics, heat, electromagnetism and optics with a student-designed experiment in modern physics as an extended project. (DF)

  9. Some Surprising Introductory Physics Facts and Numbers

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Mallmann, A. James

    2016-01-01

    In the entertainment world, people usually like, and find memorable, novels, short stories, and movies with surprise endings. This suggests that classroom teachers might want to present to their students examples of surprising facts associated with principles of physics. Possible benefits of finding surprising facts about principles of physics are…

  10. Weak Presentations in Introductory Physics Texts.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Jacobs, Samuel

    1978-01-01

    Presents a few illustrations of physics areas such as capacitors, free fall, vectors, and waves, to show that methods of presentation of specific topics, in some physics textbooks, produce in the average student the wrong impression and ignorance of important scientific facts. (GA)

  11. Some Surprising Introductory Physics Facts and Numbers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mallmann, A. James

    2016-04-01

    In the entertainment world, people usually like, and find memorable, novels, short stories, and movies with surprise endings. This suggests that classroom teachers might want to present to their students examples of surprising facts associated with principles of physics. Possible benefits of finding surprising facts about principles of physics are opportunities to expand beyond traditional presentations—and, in some cases, to achieve a deeper and broader understanding of those principles. I believe, moreover, that some of the facts presented here may inspire physics teachers to produce some challenge problems for students.

  12. BOOK REVIEW: Introductory Nanoscience: Physical and Chemical Concepts Introductory Nanoscience: Physical and Chemical Concepts

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bich Ha, Nguyen

    2011-12-01

    Having grown rapidly during the last two decades, and successfully synthesized the achievements of physics, chemistry, life science as well as information and computational science and technology, nanoscience and nanotechnology have emerged as interdisciplinary fields of modern science and technology with various prospective applications towards environmental protection and the sustainable development of industry, agriculture, public health etc. At the present time, there exist many textbooks, monographs and encyclopedias on nanoscience and nanotechnology. They present to readers the whole process of development from the emergence of new scientific ideas to comprehensive studies of concrete subjects. They are useful for experienced scientists in nanoscience and nanotechnology as well as related scientific disciplines. However, there are very few textbooks on nanoscience and nanotechnology for beginners—senior undergraduate and junior graduate students. Published by Garland Science in August 2011, Introductory Nanoscience: Physical and Chemical Concepts by Masaru Kuno is one of these rare textbooks. The purpose of this book is twofold. In a pedagogical manner the author presents the basic physical and chemical concepts of nanoscience and nanotechnology. Students with a background knowledge in general chemistry and semiclassical quantum physics can easily understand these concepts. On the other hand, by carefully studying the content of this textbook, readers can learn how to derive a large number of formulae and expressions which they will often use in their study as well as in their future research work. A distinguishing feature of the book is the inclusion of a large number of thought problems at the end of each chapter for demonstrating how to calculate the numerical values of almost all physical quantities involved in the theoretical and experimental studies of all subjects of nanoscience and nanotechnology. The author has successfully achieved both of the

  13. Introductory Physics Gender Gaps: Pre- and Post-Studio Transition

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kohl, Patrick B.; Kuo, H. Vincent

    2009-11-01

    Prior work has characterized the gender gaps present in college-level introductory physics courses. Such work has also shown that research-based interactive engagement techniques can reduce or eliminate these gender gaps. In this paper, we study the gender gaps (and lack thereof) in the introductory calculus-based electricity and magnetism course at the Colorado School of Mines. We present eight semesters' worth of data, totaling 2577 students, with four semesters preceding a transition to Studio physics, and four following. We examine gender gaps in course grades, DFW (D grade, fail, or withdrawal) rates, and normalized gains on the Conceptual Survey of Electricity and Magnetism (CSEM), and consider factors such as student ACT scores and grades in prior math classes. We find little or no gap in male/female course grades and DFW rates, but substantial gaps in CSEM gains that are reduced somewhat by the transition to Studio physics.

  14. Characterizing, modeling, and addressing gender disparities in introductory college physics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kost-Smith, Lauren Elizabeth

    2011-12-01

    The underrepresentation and underperformance of females in physics has been well documented and has long concerned policy-makers, educators, and the physics community. In this thesis, we focus on gender disparities in the first- and second-semester introductory, calculus-based physics courses at the University of Colorado. Success in these courses is critical for future study and careers in physics (and other sciences). Using data gathered from roughly 10,000 undergraduate students, we identify and model gender differences in the introductory physics courses in three areas: student performance, retention, and psychological factors. We observe gender differences on several measures in the introductory physics courses: females are less likely to take a high school physics course than males and have lower standardized mathematics test scores; males outscore females on both pre- and post-course conceptual physics surveys and in-class exams; and males have more expert-like attitudes and beliefs about physics than females. These background differences of males and females account for 60% to 70% of the gender gap that we observe on a post-course survey of conceptual physics understanding. In analyzing underlying psychological factors of learning, we find that female students report lower self-confidence related to succeeding in the introductory courses (self-efficacy) and are less likely to report seeing themselves as a "physics person". Students' self-efficacy beliefs are significant predictors of their performance, even when measures of physics and mathematics background are controlled, and account for an additional 10% of the gender gap. Informed by results from these studies, we implemented and tested a psychological, self-affirmation intervention aimed at enhancing female students' performance in Physics 1. Self-affirmation reduced the gender gap in performance on both in-class exams and the post-course conceptual physics survey. Further, the benefit of the self

  15. An Individualized Approach to Introductory Physics

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Rigden, John S.

    1970-01-01

    Explains individualization of a physics course in terms of organization, testing, and philosophy. Organization of laboratory and lecture is focused on two topics, classical mechanics and relativity theory. The testing consists of quantitative and qualitative questions. (DS)

  16. Making introductory physics labs meaningful for all students

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dickinson, Deborah L.

    Introductory physics laboratory activities were examined for clarity, purpose, and level of student engagement. Input from physics faculty, graduate teaching assistants, and enrolled students was used to identify areas in need of revision. Modifications were made to one laboratory experience with the goals of engaging students, alignment with 21st century skills, American Association of Physics Teachers best practices and goals for physics labs, and understanding graphs and their use in and out of the context of science. Additionally, a list of ideas with which to modify other laboratory activities in the manual was also created.

  17. Environmental Topics for Introductory Physics Courses

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Hodges, Laurent

    1974-01-01

    Presents selected environmental references with comparatively detailed descriptions for the purpose of helping high school and college physics teachers in selecting materials for their course. The topics include thermal pollution, space heating and cooling, atmospheric temperature distribution, radiation balance of the earth, sound and noises, and…

  18. The Computer in Second Semester Introductory Physics.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Merrill, John R.

    This supplementary text material is meant to suggest ways in which the computer can increase students' intuitive understanding of fields and waves. The first way allows the student to produce a number of examples of the physics discussed in the text. For example, more complicated field and potential maps, or intensity patterns, can be drawn from…

  19. A Boundary Value Problem for Introductory Physics?

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Grundberg, Johan

    2008-01-01

    The Laplace equation has applications in several fields of physics, and problems involving this equation serve as paradigms for boundary value problems. In the case of the Laplace equation in a disc there is a well-known explicit formula for the solution: Poisson's integral. We show how one can derive this formula, and in addition two equivalent…

  20. Characterizing the gender gap in introductory physics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kost, Lauren E.; Pollock, Steven J.; Finkelstein, Noah D.

    2009-06-01

    Previous research [S. J. Pollock , Phys. Rev. ST Phys. Educ. Res. 3, 1 (2007)] showed that despite the use of interactive engagement techniques, the gap in performance between males and females on a conceptual learning survey persisted from pretest to post-test at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Such findings were counter to previously published work [M. Lorenzo , Am. J. Phys. 74, 118 (2006)]. This study begins by identifying a variety of other gender differences. There is a small but significant difference in the course grades of males and females. Males and females have significantly different prior understandings of physics and mathematics. Females are less likely to take high school physics than males, although they are equally likely to take high school calculus. Males and females also differ in their incoming attitudes and beliefs about physics. This collection of background factors is analyzed to determine the extent to which each factor correlates with performance on a conceptual post-test and with gender. Binned by quintiles, we observe that males and females with similar pretest scores do not have significantly different post-test scores (p>0.2) . The post-test data are then modeled using two regression models (multiple regression and logistic regression) to estimate the gender gap in post-test scores after controlling for these important prior factors. These prior factors account for about 70% of the observed gender gap. The results indicate that the gender gap exists in interactive physics classes at our institution but is largely associated with differences in previous physics and math knowledge and incoming attitudes and beliefs.

  1. Vision and change in introductory physics for the life sciences

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mochrie, S. G. J.

    2016-07-01

    Since 2010, our physics department has offered a re-imagined calculus-based introductory physics sequence for the life sciences. These courses include a selection of biologically and medically relevant topics that we believe are more meaningful to undergraduate premedical and biological science students than those found in a traditional course. In this paper, we highlight new aspects of the first-semester course, and present a comparison of student evaluations of this course versus a more traditional one. We also present the effect on student perception of the relevance of physics to biology and medicine after having taken this course.

  2. The Use of a Web-Based Classroom Interaction System in Introductory Physics Classes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Corpuz, Edgar D.; Corpuz, Ma. Aileen A.; Rosalez, Rolando

    2010-10-01

    A web-based interaction system was used in algebra-based and calculus-based physics classes to enhance students' classroom interaction. The interactive teaching approach primarily incorporated elements of Mazur's Peer Instruction and Interactive Lecture Demonstration. In our implementation, students used personal digital assistants (PDAs) to interact with their instructor during lecture and classroom demonstration. In this paper, we document the perceptions and attitudes of algebra-based and calculus-based physics students towards the interactive teaching approach and likewise present data on how this approach affected students' performance on the Force Concept Inventory (FCI).

  3. Using Biomedically Relevant Multimedia Content in an Introductory Physics Course for Life Science and Pre-health Students

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mylott, Elliot; Kutschera, Ellynne; Dunlap, Justin C.; Christensen, Warren; Widenhorn, Ralf

    2016-04-01

    We will describe a one-quarter pilot algebra-based introductory physics course for pre-health and life science majors. The course features videos with biomedical experts and cogent biomedically inspired physics content. The materials were used in a flipped classroom as well as an all-online environment where students interacted with multimedia materials online and prior to engaging in classroom activities. Pre-lecture questions on both the medical content covered in the video media and the physics concepts in the written material were designed to engage students and probe their understanding of physics. The course featured group discussion and peer-lead instruction. Following in-class instruction, students engaged with homework assignments which explore the connections of physics and the medical field in a quantitative manner. Course surveys showed a positive response by the vast majority of students. Students largely indicated that the course helped them to make a connection between physics and the biomedical field. The biomedical focus and different course format were seen as an improvement to previous traditional physics instruction.

  4. A statistical development of entropy for the introductory physics course

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schoepf, David C.

    2002-02-01

    Many introductory physics texts introduce the statistical basis for the definition of entropy in addition to the Clausius definition, ΔS=q/T. We use a model based on equally spaced energy levels to present a way that the statistical definition of entropy can be developed at the introductory level. In addition to motivating the statistical definition of entropy, we also develop statistical arguments to answer the following questions: (i) Why does a system approach a state of maximum number of microstates? (ii) What is the equilibrium distribution of particles? (iii) What is the statistical basis of temperature? (iv) What is the statistical basis for the direction of spontaneous energy transfer? Finally, a correspondence between the statistical and the classical Clausius definitions of entropy is made.

  5. The Impact of Teaching Technologies in the Introductory Physics Classroom

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McNairy, William W.

    2006-12-01

    This talk will cover present and past applications of teaching technologies to the Introductory Physics classroom. I will review student evaluations of various online homework systems including the University of Texas Homework System, WebAssign, Brownstone EDU and Mastering Physics. Use of online homework has varied according to the strengths and weaknesses of each platform. Additionally, I will present evaluations of classroom polling using PRS IR polling devices. The polling has provided formative feedback for lectures, demonstrations, and development of conceptual understanding by students. Finally, I will comment on the use of the BlackBoard online course system for delivery of course content and end-of-semester surveys.

  6. Use of media in introductory physics courses and public outreach

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shakov, Khazhgery; Shakov, Zalimgery

    2008-03-01

    Making the material presented interesting and exciting for the students has always been one of the main challenges in teaching introductory physics to students who have little or no background in physics (e.g. K-12 or undergraduate college). Many of the traditional teaching strategies consider physical systems (real or fictional) where the ``level of distraction'' is intentionally minimized or eliminated for the sake of better clarity. While it certainly allows a student to focus on important principles, it often leads to an impression that physics (and science in general) mostly operates with ``artificial'' systems that are not immediately relevant to everyday life. One of the ways to address this problem is to incorporate different forms of media that would ``bring physics to life''. We discuss how one can use fragments of popular movies to enhance students' interest in the subject.

  7. Incorporation of Advanced Laboratory Equipment into Introductory Physics Labs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gilbert, John; Bellis, Matt; Cummings, John

    2015-04-01

    Siena College recently completed construction of the Stewart's Advanced Instrumentation and Technology Center (SAInt Center) which includes both a scanning electron microscope (SEM) and an atomic force microscope (AFM). The goal of this project is to design laboratory exercises for introductory physics courses that make use of this equipment. Early involvement with the SAInt center aims to increase undergraduate lab skills and expand research possibilities. These lab exercises are tested on select students and evaluated as to their effectiveness in contributing to the learning goals.The current status of this work is presented here.

  8. Interactive Low Tech Lecture Demonstrations for Introductory Physics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Milner-Bolotin, Marina M.

    2006-12-01

    The poster will present a few of low tech and low cost, but highly interactive and fun lecture demonstrations which can be successfully implemented in a small as well as in a large introductory physics courses. The advantage of these mini experiments is that being cheap and easily prepared these demos can become small take home projects which the students can share with their friends and families. One of these demonstrations is a modified reaction time experiment using a ruler cut out of paper and paper clips; the second one uses a small spring, a string and a weight (or a ball on a rubber band) to demonstrate the difference between weight and apparent weight; the third one is a simple modification of a Greek Waiter Demo using paper coffee cups and a string and the last one demonstrates production of sound waves in a tube using bubble tea straws. These small lecture demonstrations can make a big difference and will help every physics instructor make his or her introductory physics classes more meaningful, fun and engaging.

  9. Gender-based performance differences in an introductory physics course

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McKinnon, Mark Lee

    Cognitive research has indicated that the difference between males and females is negligible. Paradoxically, in traditionally-taught college level introductory physics courses, males have outperformed females. UC Davis' Physics 7A (the first class of a three-quarter Introduction to Physics sequence for Life-Science students), however, counters this trend since females perform similarly to males. The gender-based performance difference within the other two quarters (Physics 7B & 7C) of the radically restructured, active-learning physics sequence still echo the traditionally-taught courses. In one experiment, I modified the laboratory activity instructions of the Physics 7C course to encourage further group interaction. These modifications did not affect the gender-based performance difference. In a later experiment, I compared students' performance on different forms of assessment for certain physics concepts during the Physics 7C course. Over 500 students took weekly quizzes at different times. The students were given different quiz questions on the same topics. Several quiz questions seemed to favor males while others were more gender equitable. I highlighted comparisons between a few pairs of questions that assessed students' understanding of the same physical concept. Males tended to perform better in responding to questions that seemed to require spatial visualization. Questions that required greater understanding of the physical concept or scientific model were more gender neutral.

  10. Investigating Students' Reflective Thinking in the Introductory Physics Course

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Boudreaux, Andrew

    2010-10-01

    Over the past 30 years, physics education research has guided the development of instructional strategies that can significantly enhance students' functional understanding of concepts in introductory physics. Recently, attention has shifted to instructional goals that, while widely shared by teachers of physics, are often more implicit than explicit in our courses. These goals involve the expectations and attitudes that students have about what it means to learn and understand physics, together with the behaviors and actions students think they should engage in to accomplish this learning. Research has shown that these ``hidden'' elements of the curriculum are remarkably resistant to instruction. In fact, traditional physics courses tend to produce movement away from expert-like behaviors. At Western Washington University, we are exploring ways of promoting metacognition, an aspect of the hidden curriculum that involves the conscious monitoring of one's own thinking and learning. We have found that making this reflective thinking an explicit part of the course may not be enough: adequate framing and scaffolding may be necessary for students to meaningfully engage in metacognition. We have thus taken the basic approach of developing metacognition, like conceptual understanding, through guided inquiry. During our teaching experiments, we have collected written and video data, with twin goals of guiding iterative modifications to the instruction as well as contributing to the knowledge base about student metacognition in introductory physics. This talk will provide examples of metacognition activities from course assignments and labs, and will present written data to assess the effectiveness of instruction and to illustrate specific modes of students' reflective thinking.

  11. Problem roulette: Studying introductory physics in the cloud

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Evrard, August E.; Mills, Michael; Winn, David; Jones, Kathryn; Tritz, Jared; McKay, Timothy A.

    2015-01-01

    We introduce Problem Roulette (PR), a web-based study service at the University of Michigan that offers random-within-topic access to a large library of past exam problems in introductory physics courses. Built on public-private cloud infrastructure, PR served nearly 1000 students during Fall 2012 term, delivering more than 60,000 problem pages. The service complements that of commercial publishing houses by offering problems authored by local professors and by explicitly aligning topics with exam content. We describe the service architecture, including reporting and analytical capabilities, and present an initial evaluation of the impact of its use. Among roughly 500 students studying electromagnetism, we find that the 229 students who worked fifty or more problems over the term outperformed their complement by 0.40 grade points (on a 4.0 scale). This improvement partly reflects a selection bias that academically stronger students used the service more frequently. Adjusting for this selection bias, we find a grade point improvement of 0.22, significantly above the random noise level of 0.04. The simple message to students is that working five or more additional problems per week can lead to a quarter-letter grade improvement in introductory physics. Student comments emphasize the importance of randomness in helping them to synthesize concepts. The PR source code is publicly available.

  12. Equity investigation of attitudinal shifts in introductory physics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Traxler, Adrienne; Brewe, Eric

    2015-12-01

    We report on seven years of attitudinal data using the Colorado Learning Attitudes about Science Survey from University Modeling Instruction (UMI) sections of introductory physics at Florida International University. University Modeling Instruction is a curricular and pedagogical transformation of introductory university physics that engages students in building and testing conceptual models in an integrated lab and lecture learning environment. This work expands upon previous studies that reported consistently positive attitude shifts in UMI courses; here, we disaggregate the data by gender and ethnicity to look for any disparities in the pattern of favorable shifts. We find that women and students from statistically underrepresented ethnic groups have gains that are comparable to those of men and students from well-represented ethnic groups on this attitudinal measure, and that this result holds even when interaction effects of gender and ethnicity are included. We conclude with suggestions for future work in UMI courses and for attitudinal equity investigations generally. We encourage researchers to expand their scope beyond simple performance gaps when considering equity concerns, and to avoid relying on a single measure to evaluate student success. Finally, we conjecture that students' social and academic networks are one means by which attitudinal and efficacy beliefs about the course are propagated.

  13. Teaching assistants' beliefs regarding example solutions in introductory physics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lin, Shih-Yin; Henderson, Charles; Mamudi, William; Singh, Chandralekha; Yerushalmi, Edit

    2013-06-01

    As part of a larger study to understand instructors’ considerations regarding the learning and teaching of problem solving in an introductory physics course, we investigated beliefs of first-year graduate teaching assistants (TAs) regarding the use of example solutions in introductory physics. In particular, we examine how the goal of promoting expertlike problem solving is manifested in the considerations of graduate TAs’ choices of example solutions. Twenty-four first-year graduate TAs were asked to discuss their goals for presenting example solutions to students. They were also provided with different example solutions and asked to discuss their preferences for prominent solution features. TAs’ awareness, preferences, and actual practices related to solution features were examined in light of recommendations from the literature for the modeling of expertlike problem-solving approaches. The study concludes that the goal of helping students develop an expertlike problem-solving approach underlies many TAs’ considerations for the use of example solutions. TAs, however, do not notice and do not use many features described in the research literature as supportive of this goal. A possible explanation for this gap between their belief and practices is that these features conflict with another powerful set of values concerned with keeping students engaged, setting adequate standards, as well as pragmatic considerations such as time requirements and the assignment of grades.

  14. Interactive Lecture Experiments in Large Introductory Physics Classes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Milner-Bolotin, Marina M.; Kotlicki, A.; Rieger, G.; Bates, F.; Moll, R.; McPhee, K.; Nashon, S.

    2006-12-01

    We describe Interactive Lecture Experiments (ILE), which build on Interactive Lecture Demonstrations proposed by Sokoloff and Thornton (2004) and extends it by providing students with the opportunity to analyze experiments demonstrated in the lecture outside of the classroom. Real time experimental data is collected, using Logger Pro combined with the digital video technology. This data is uploaded to the Internet and made available to the students for further analysis. Student learning is assessed in the following lecture using conceptual questions (clickers). The goal of this project is to use ILE to make large lectures more interactive and promote student interest in science, critical thinking and data analysis skills. We report on the systematic study conducted using the Colorado Learning Attitudes about Science Survey, Force Concept Inventory, open-ended physics problems and focus group interviews to determine the impact of ILE on student academic achievement, motivation and attitudes towards physics. Three sections of students (750 students) experienced four ILE experiments. The surveys were administered twice and academic results for students who experienced the ILE for a particular topic were compared to the students, from a different section, who did not complete the ILE for that topic. Additional qualitative data on students’ attitudes was collected using open ended survey questions and interviews. We will present preliminary conclusions about the role of ILEs as an effective pedagogy in large introductory physics courses. Sokoloff, D.R. and R.K. Thornton (2004). Interactive Lecture Demonstrations: Active Learning in Introductory Physics, J.Wiley & Sons, INC. Interactive Lecture Experiments: http://www.physics.ubc.ca/ year1lab/p100/LectureLabs/lectureLabs.html

  15. Promoting Metacognition in Introductory Calculus-based Physics Labs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Grennell, Drew; Boudreaux, Andrew

    2010-10-01

    In the Western Washington University physics department, a project is underway to develop research-based laboratory curriculum for the introductory calculus-based course. Instructional goals not only include supporting students' conceptual understanding and reasoning ability, but also providing students with opportunities to engage in metacognition. For the latter, our approach has been to scaffold reflective thinking with guided questions. Specific instructional strategies include analysis of alternate reasoning presented in fictitious dialogues and comparison of students' initial ideas with their lab group's final, consensus understanding. Assessment of student metacognition includes pre- and post- course data from selected questions on the CLASS survey, analysis of written lab worksheets, and student opinion surveys. CLASS results are similar to a traditional physics course and analysis of lab sheets show that students struggle to engage in a metacognitive process. Future directions include video studies, as well as use of additional written assessments adapted from educational psychology.

  16. Gender Differences in Introductory University Physics Performance: The Influence of High School Physics Preparation and Affect

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hazari, Zahra

    2006-12-01

    The attrition of females studying physics after high school has been a continuing concern for the physics education community. If females are well prepared, feel confident, and do well in introductory college physics, they may be inclined to study physics further. This quantitative study uses HLM to identify factors from high school physics preparation (content, pedagogy, and assessment) and the affective domain that predict female and male performance in introductory college physics. The study includes controls for student demographic and academic background characteristics, and the final dataset consists of 1973 surveys from 54 introductory college physics classes. The results highlight high school physics and affective experiences that differentially predict female and male performance. These experiences include: learning requirements, computer graphing/analysis, long written problems, everyday world examples, community projects cumulative tests/quizzes, father's encouragement, family's belief that science leads to a better career, and the length of time students believe that high school physics would help in university physics. There were also experiences that similarly predict female and male performance. The results paint a dynamic picture of the factors from high school physics and the affective domain that influence the future physics performance of females and males. The implication is that there are many aspects to the teaching of physics in high school that, although widely used and thought to be effective, need reform in their implementation in order to be fully beneficial to females and/or males in college.

  17. Introductory Physics for Engineers, Chemists, and Future High School Teachers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stewart, Gay

    2001-03-01

    University Physics II is an introductory calculus-based electromagnetism and optics course, (UPII). Our goal in revising the course was to improve the level of student learning, confidence, and enjoyment of science, while maintaining the resource level common to large institutions (teaching assistants in labs, large lectures, etc.) The program is successful, based on all indicators. Student confidence is up, particularly women are as confident as the men at the end of the course, with a strong correlation between confidence and performance. The students who complete the class with a C or better go on to complete a degree in SMET. This is by far the majority, as we make it very hard not to learn the material. Students given a 50-minute closed-book problem-solving test from a 1990 class (ave=53.8%) finished in 35 minutes with an average of 69.2%. They outperformed previous classes where the concepts had been specifically addressed by 10-18% on conceptual multiple-choice questions. Our students have a higher retention to degree than the rest of the university. Second semester introductory physics is often where the number of physics majors declines. Yet, in UPII we recruit more students into physics than are lost in the preceding semesters. Graduation rates went from four or less to 12 or more concurrent with our first UPII students graduating. Enrollment continues to increase. Our method involves leading the student from concrete "hands-on" examples to conceptual understanding through group discussion. Quantitative experimental results provide verification. Concepts are related to everyday phenomena familiar to the student. Students are taught to reason in a structured manner about both conceptual and quantitative problems. Cooperative learning, found to improve retention of female and minority students, is emphasized. Important features and implementation of the course will be discussed.

  18. Computer-Tailored Student Support in Introductory Physics

    PubMed Central

    Huberth, Madeline; Chen, Patricia; Tritz, Jared; McKay, Timothy A.

    2015-01-01

    Large introductory courses are at a disadvantage in providing personalized guidance and advice for students during the semester. We introduce E2Coach (an Expert Electronic Coaching system), which allows instructors to personalize their communication with thousands of students. We describe the E2Coach system, the nature of the personalized support it provides, and the features of the students who did (and did not) opt-in to using it during the first three terms of its use in four introductory physics courses at the University of Michigan. Defining a ‘better-than-expected’ measure of performance, we compare outcomes for students who used E2Coach to those who did not. We found that moderate and high E2Coach usage was associated with improved performance. This performance boost was prominent among high users, who improved by 0.18 letter grades on average when compared to nonusers with similar incoming GPAs. This improvement in performance was comparable across both genders. E2Coach represents one way to use technology to personalize education at scale, contributing to the move towards individualized learning that is becoming more attainable in the 21st century. PMID:26352403

  19. Millikan Lecture 1996: Promoting active learning based on physics education research in introductory physics courses

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Laws, P. W.

    1997-01-01

    Early in his career Robert Millikan experimented with a laboratory-based method of teaching introductory physics that bears close resemblance to Workshop Physics.® In this talk, key elements of Workshop Physics are summarized. Some Workshop Physics activities are described which involve apparati that are used for rapid observations of conceptual aspects of physical phenomena as well as for equation verification experiments. Challenges are discussed that must be faced if recently developed activity-based approaches to teaching based on the outcomes of physics education research are to provide a foundation for a major paradigm shift in physics teaching.

  20. Introductory Physics Experiments Using the Wii Balance Board

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Starr, Julian; Sobczak, Robert; Iqbal, Zohaib; Ochoa, Romulo

    2010-02-01

    The Wii, a video game console by Nintendo, utilizes several different controllers, such as the Wii remote (Wiimote) and the balance board, for game-playing. The balance board was introduced in early 2008. It contains four strain gauges and has Bluetooth connectivity at a relatively low price. Thanks to available open source code, such as GlovePie, any PC with Bluetooth capability can detect the information sent out by the balance board. Based on the ease with which the forces measured by each strain gauge can be obtained, we have designed several experiments for introductory physics courses that make use of this device. We present experiments to measure the forces generated when students lift their arms with and without added weights, distribution of forces on an extended object when weights are repositioned, and other normal forces cases. The results of our experiments are compared with those predicted by Newtonian mechanics. )

  1. Video-based problems in introductory mechanics physics courses

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gröber, Sebastian; Klein, Pascal; Kuhn, Jochen

    2014-09-01

    Introductory mechanics physics courses at the transition from school to university are a challenge for students. They are faced with an abrupt and necessary increase of theoretical content and requirements on their conceptual understanding of phyiscs. In order to support this transition we replaced part of the mandatory weekly theory-based paper-and-pencil problems with video analysis problems of equal content and level of difficulty. Video-based problems (VBP) are a new problem format for teaching physics from a linked sequence of theoretical and video-based experimental tasks. Experimental tasks are related to the well-known concept of video motion analysis. This introduction of an experimental part in recitations allows the establishment of theory-experiment interplay as well as connections between physical content and context fields such as nature, technique, everyday life and applied physics by conducting model-and context-related experiments. Furthermore, laws and formulas as predominantly representative forms are extended by the use of diagrams and vectors. In this paper we give general reasons for this approach, describe the structure and added values of VBP, and show that they cover a relevant part of mechanics courses at university. Emphasis is put on theory-experiment interplay as a structural added value of VBP to promote students' construction of knowledge and conceptual understanding.

  2. Attitudes about Science and Conceptual Physics Learning in University Introductory Physics Courses

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Milner-Bolotin, Marina; Antimirova, Tetyana; Noack, Andrea; Petrov, Anna

    2011-01-01

    This paper examines the results of the repeated administration of the Colorado Learning Attitudes about Science Survey (CLASS) in a large introductory physics course at a midsize, metropolitan Canadian university. We compare the results to those obtained previously in comparable courses at the University of British Columbia (Canada) and the…

  3. Instructors' Support of Student Autonomy in an Introductory Physics Course

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hall, Nicholas; Webb, David

    2014-12-01

    The role of autonomy in the student experience in a large-enrollment undergraduate introductory physics course was studied from a self-determination theory perspective. A correlational study investigated whether certain aspects of the student experience correlated with how autonomy supportive (versus controlling) students perceived their instructors to be. An autonomy-supportive instructor acknowledges students' perspectives and feelings and provides students with information and opportunities for choice while minimizing external pressures (e.g., incentives or deadlines). It was found that the degree to which students perceived their instructors as autonomy supportive was positively correlated with student interest and enjoyment in learning physics (β =0.31***) and negatively correlated with student anxiety about taking physics (β =-0.23**). It was also positively correlated with how autonomous (versus controlled) students' reasons for studying physics became over the duration of the course (i.e., studying physics more because they wanted to versus had to; β =0.24***). This change in autonomous reasons for studying physics was in turn positively correlated with student performance in the course (β =0.17*). Additionally, the degree to which students perceived their instructors as autonomy supportive was directly correlated with performance for those students entering the course with relatively autonomous reasons for studying physics (β =0.25**). In summary, students who perceived their instructors as more autonomy supportive tended to have a more favorable motivational, affective, and performance experience in the course. The findings of the present study are consistent with experimental studies in other contexts that argue for autonomy-supportive instructor behaviors as the cause of a more favorable student experience.

  4. Gender differences in introductory university physics performance: The influence of high school physics preparation and affect

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hazari, Zahra Sana

    The attrition of females studying physics after high school is a concern to the science education community. Most undergraduate science programs require introductory physics coursework. Thus, success in introductory physics is necessary for students to progress to higher levels of science study. Success also influences attitudes; if females are well-prepared, feel confident, and do well in introductory physics, they may be inclined to study physics further. This quantitative study using multilevel modeling focused on determining factors from high school physics preparation (content, pedagogy, and assessment) and the affective domain that influenced female and male performance in introductory university physics. The study controlled for some university/course level characteristics as well as student demographic and academic background characteristics. The data consisted of 1973 surveys from 54 introductory physics courses within 35 universities across the US. The results highlight high school physics and affective experiences that differentially influenced female and male performance. These experiences include: learning requirements, computer graphing/analysis, long written problems, everyday world examples, community projects, cumulative tests/quizzes, father's encouragement, family's belief that science leads to a better career, and the length of time students believed that high school physics would help in university physics. There were also experiences that had a similar influence on female and male performance. Positively related to performance were: covering fewer topics for longer periods of time, the history of physics as a recurring topic, physics-related videos, and test/quiz questions that involved calculations and/or were drawn from standardized tests. Negatively related to performance were: student-designed projects, reading/discussing labs the day before performing them, microcomputer based laboratories, discussion after demonstrations, and family

  5. Computer Based Collaborative Problem Solving for Introductory Courses in Physics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ilie, Carolina; Lee, Kevin

    2010-03-01

    We discuss collaborative problem solving computer-based recitation style. The course is designed by Lee [1], and the idea was proposed before by Christian, Belloni and Titus [2,3]. The students find the problems on a web-page containing simulations (physlets) and they write the solutions on an accompanying worksheet after discussing it with a classmate. Physlets have the advantage of being much more like real-world problems than textbook problems. We also compare two protocols for web-based instruction using simulations in an introductory physics class [1]. The inquiry protocol allowed students to control input parameters while the worked example protocol did not. We will discuss which of the two methods is more efficient in relation to Scientific Discovery Learning and Cognitive Load Theory. 1. Lee, Kevin M., Nicoll, Gayle and Brooks, Dave W. (2004). ``A Comparison of Inquiry and Worked Example Web-Based Instruction Using Physlets'', Journal of Science Education and Technology 13, No. 1: 81-88. 2. Christian, W., and Belloni, M. (2001). Physlets: Teaching Physics With Interactive Curricular Material, Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ. 3. Christian,W., and Titus,A. (1998). ``Developing web-based curricula using Java Physlets.'' Computers in Physics 12: 227--232.

  6. Engaging physics majors as partners in teaching: Learning Assistants in introductory physics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Close, Eleanor; Donnelly, David; Close, Hunter

    2012-03-01

    This semester we are running a pilot Learning Assistant (LA) program in one section of our introductory calculus-based mechanics course. The LA model of course transformation was developed at the University of Colorado (http://laprogram.colorado.edu/). In our current implementation, five undergraduate physics majors are assisting with tutorial instruction in the lecture section once a week (using primarily Tutorials in Introductory Physics); in addition, most weekly laboratory sections begin with a tutorial. Both LAs and laboratory TAs attend tutorial preparation sessions prior to instruction each week. In this talk we briefly describe the current program, including implementation issues; give preliminary notes on the experiences of the new LAs; and discuss future plans for an expanded LA program. Overall our plan is to improve the experience of being an undergraduate physics student in our department by improving student understanding of physics concepts and by including students as legitimate participants in the mission of the department.

  7. How to teach statistical thermal physics in an introductory physics course

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lee, Koo-Chul

    2001-01-01

    We report on several simulation programs (available through http://phys.snu.ac.kr/howto/ or http://phya.snu.ac.kr/˜kclee/howto/) which can be used to teach the statistical foundations of thermal physics in introductory college physics courses. These programs are simple applications of a technique for generating random configurations of many dice with a fixed total value. By merely simulating dice throwing we can demonstrate all the important principles of classical thermodynamics.

  8. Writing in an Introductory Physics Lab: Correlating English Quality with Physics Content

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Demaree, Dedra; Gubernatis, Cat; Hanzlik, Jessica; Franklin, Scott; Hermsen, Lisa; Aubrecht, Gordon

    2007-01-01

    Members of the Physics and English departments at The Ohio State University and Rochester Institute of Technology are involved in an ongoing study addressing issues related to writing activities in the physics classroom. In summer quarter, 2005, the introductory calculus-based physics lab students wrote essays, some sections with and some without explicit writing instruction. We found a student's essay grade for English correlated strongly with that assigned for physics. In addition, we have studied the location and type of comments made by both physics and English instructors on individual student essays, and the statements students made within their essays. The results from the analysis of our data will be presented.

  9. Surveying college introductory physics students’ attitudes and approaches to problem solving

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mason, Andrew J.; Singh, Chandralekha

    2016-09-01

    Students’ attitudes and approaches to problem solving in physics can greatly impact their actual problem solving practices and also influence their motivation to learn and ultimately the development of expertise. We developed and validated an attitudes and approaches to problem solving (AAPS) survey and administered it to students in the introductory physics courses in a typical large research university in the US. Here, we discuss the development and validation of the survey and analysis of the student responses to the survey questions in introductory physics courses. The introductory physics students’ responses to the survey questions were also compared with those of physics faculty members and physics PhD students. We find that introductory students are in general less expert-like than the physics faculty members and PhD students. Moreover, on some AAPS survey questions, the responses of students and faculty have unexpected trends. Those trends were interpreted via individual interviews, which helped clarify reasons for those survey responses.

  10. A descriptive study of cooperative problem solving introductory physics labs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Knutson, Paul Aanond

    The purpose of this study was to determine the ways in which cooperative problem solving in physics instructional laboratories influenced the students' ability to provide qualitative responses to problems. The literature shows that problem solving involves both qualitative and quantitative skills. Qualitative skills are important because those skills are the foundation for the quantitative aspects of problem solving. (Chi, et al., 1981). The literature also indicates that cooperative problem solving should enhance the students' performance. As a practical matter surveys of departments that require introductory physics classes expect their students to have general qualitative problem solving skills. The students in this study were asked to solve problem(s) before coming to a lab session and then cooperatively assess whether or not their answers were correct by conducting a laboratory activity for which they had to plan the procedure and obtain the necessary results. TA's were expected to provide instruction under a cognitive apprenticeship model. The results showed that the cooperative problem solving laboratories had almost no impact on the students' problem solving skills as measured from the start of a two hour lab session to the end of the lab session...The reason for this may have been that students did not have enough experience in the solving of different kinds of problems in the two domains of Newton's second Law and gravitation to overcome their misconceptions and become competent. Another possibility was that the TA's did not follow the cognitive apprenticeship model as consistently as might have been needed.

  11. Fully On-line Introductory Physics with a Lab

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schatz, Michael

    We describe the development and implementation of a college-level introductory physics (mechanics) course and laboratory that is suited for both on-campus and on-line environments. The course emphasizes a ``Your World is Your Lab'' approach whereby students first examine and capture on video (using cellphones) motion in their immediate surroundings, and then use free, open-source software both to extract data from the video and to apply physics principles to build models that describe, predict, and visualize the observations. Each student reports findings by creating a video lab report and posting it online; these video lab reports are then distributed to the rest of the class for peer review. In this talk, we will discuss the student and instructor experiences in courses offered to three distinct audiences in different venues: (1) a Massively Open On-line Course (MOOC) for off-campus participants, (2) a flipped/blended course for on-campus students, and, most recently, (3) a fully-online course for off-campus students.

  12. The Physic Source, a ComPADRE digital library, focusing on resources for teaching introductory physics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mzoughi, Taha

    2012-03-01

    The Physics Source (http://www.physicssource.org/), a component of ComPADRE, was designed to help faculty teaching introductory physics courses identify and use high quality relevant curriculum and pedagogical resources in their teaching. Faculty can use to Physics Source to find, share, and collaborate on building high-quality, effective teaching and learning materials. Users can also organize the content they like, and submit their own resources for inclusion in the library. Among the content included in the library are simulations, lab activities, classroom demonstrations, videos, information on some teaching techniques, and physics education research articles.

  13. Characterizing interactive engagement activities in a flipped introductory physics class

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wood, Anna K.; Galloway, Ross K.; Donnelly, Robyn; Hardy, Judy

    2016-06-01

    Interactive engagement activities are increasingly common in undergraduate physics teaching. As research efforts move beyond simply showing that interactive engagement pedagogies work towards developing an understanding of how they lead to improved learning outcomes, a detailed analysis of the way in which these activities are used in practice is needed. Our aim in this paper is to present a characterization of the type and duration of interactions, as experienced by students, that took place during two introductory physics courses (1A and 1B) at a university in the United Kingdom. Through this work, a simple framework for analyzing lectures—the framework for interactive learning in lectures (FILL), which focuses on student interactions (with the lecturer, with each other, and with the material) is proposed. The pedagogical approach is based on Peer Instruction (PI) and both courses are taught by the same lecturer. We find lecture activities can be categorized into three types: interactive (25%), vicarious interactive (20%) (involving questions to and from the lecturer), and noninteractive (55%). As expected, the majority of both interactive and vicarious interactive activities took place during PI. However, the way that interactive activities were used during non-PI sections of the lecture varied significantly between the two courses. Differences were also found in the average time spent on lecturer-student interactions (28% for 1A and 12% for 1B), although not on student-student interactions (12% and 12%) or on individual learning (10% and 7%). These results are explored in detail and the implications for future research are discussed.

  14. Effectiveness of Tutorials for Introductory Physics in Argentinean high schools

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Benegas, J.; Flores, J. Sirur

    2014-06-01

    This longitudinal study reports the results of a replication of Tutorials in Introductory Physics in high schools of a Latin-American country. The main objective of this study was to examine the suitability of Tutorials for local science education reform. Conceptual learning of simple resistive electric circuits was determined by the application of the single-response multiple-choice test "Determining and Interpreting Resistive Electric Circuits Concepts Test" (DIRECT) to high school classes taught with Tutorials and traditional instruction. The study included state and privately run schools of different socioeconomic profiles, without formal laboratory space and equipment, in classes of mixed-gender and female-only students, taught by novice and experienced instructors. Results systematically show that student learning is significantly higher in the Tutorials classes compared with traditional teaching for all of the studied conditions. The results also show that long-term learning (one year after instruction) in the Tutorials classes is highly satisfactory, very similar to the performance of the samples of college students used to develop the test DIRECT. On the contrary, students following traditional instruction returned one year after instruction to the poor performance (<20%) shown before instruction, a result compatible with the very low level of conceptual knowledge of basic physics recently determined by a systematic study of first-year students attending seven universities in Spain and four Latin-American countries. Some replication and adaptation problems and difficulties of this experience are noted, as well as recommendations for successful use of Tutorials in high schools of similar educational systems.

  15. Autonomy and the Student Experience in Introductory Physics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hall, Nicholas Ron

    The role of autonomy in the student experience in a large-enrollment undergraduate introductory physics course was studied from a Self-Determination Theory perspective with two studies. Study I, a correlational study, investigated whether certain aspects of the student experience correlated with how autonomy supportive (vs. controlling) students perceived their instructors to be. An autonomy supportive instructor acknowledges students' perspectives, feelings, and perceptions and provides students with information and opportunities for choice, while minimizing external pressures. It was found that the degree to which students perceived their instructors as autonomy supportive was positively correlated with student interest and enjoyment in learning physics (beta=0.31***) and negatively correlated with student anxiety about taking physics (beta=-0.23**). It was also positively correlated with how autonomous (vs. controlled) students' reasons for studying physics became over the duration of the course (i.e., studying physics more because they wanted to vs. had to; beta=0.24***). This change in autonomous reasons for studying physics was in turn positively correlated with student performance in the course (beta=0.17*). Additionally, the degree to which students perceived their instructors as autonomy supportive was directly correlated with performance for those students entering the course with relatively autonomous reasons for studying physics (beta=0.25**). In summary, students who perceived their instructors as more autonomy supportive tended to have a more favorable experience in the course. If greater autonomy support was in fact the cause of a more favorable student experience, as suggested by Self-determination Theory and experimental studies in other contexts, these results would have implications for instruction and instructor professional development in similar contexts. I discuss these implications. Study II, an experimental study, investigated the effect

  16. An evaluation of teaching methods in the introductory physics classroom

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Savage, Lauren Michelle Williams

    The introductory physics mechanics course at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte has a history of relatively high DFW rates. In 2011, the course was redesigned from the traditional lecture format to the inverted classroom format (flipped). This format inverts the classroom by introducing material in a video assigned as homework while the instructor conducts problem solving activities and guides discussions during the regular meetings. This format focuses on student-centered learning and is more interactive and engaging. To evaluate the effectiveness of the new method, final exam data over the past 10 years was mined and the pass rates examined. A normalization condition was developed to evaluate semesters equally. The two teaching methods were compared using a grade distribution across multiple semesters. Students in the inverted class outperformed those in the traditional class: "A"s increased by 22% and "B"s increased by 38%. The final exam pass rate increased by 12% under the inverted classroom approach. The same analysis was used to compare the written and online final exam formats. Surprisingly, no students scored "A"s on the online final. However, the percent of "B"s increased by 136%. Combining documented best practices from a literature review with personal observations of student performance and attitudes from first hand classroom experience as a teaching assistant in both teaching methods, reasons are given to support the continued use of the inverted classroom approach as well as the online final. Finally, specific recommendations are given to improve the course structure where weaknesses have been identified.

  17. Success in Introductory College Physics: The Role of High School Preparation.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Sadler, Philip M.; Tai, Robert H.

    2001-01-01

    Examines the extent to which a high school physics course prepares students for college physics success. In this study of 1,933 introductory college physics students, demographic and schooling factors account for a large fraction of the variation in college physics grades at 18 colleges and universities from around the nation. (Author/SAH)

  18. Student Programming in the Introductory Physics Course: M.U.P.P.E.T.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Redish, Edward F.; Wilson, Jack M.

    Since 1983, the Maryland University Project in Physics and Educational Technology (M.U.P.P.E.T.) has been investigating the implication of including student programming in an introductory physics course for physics majors. Many significant changes can result. One can rearrange some content to be more physically appropriate, include more realistic…

  19. Improving Student Learning and Views of Physics in a Large Enrollment Introductory Physics Class

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shan, Kathy

    2014-03-01

    Interactive engagement (IE) strategies can be helpful for students learning introductory physics with small group recitations. Less is known about their impact for large lecture-based courses. This study examined student learning and views of physics in a large enrollment course that included IE but no small-group recitation. The questions addressed were: (a) What do students learn about physics and how does this compare to reports for traditional courses?, (b) How do students' views of physics change and how does this compare to reports for traditional courses?, and (c) Which instructional strategies contribute to student outcomes? Data included pre-post FCI scores, classroom examinations during the term, pre-post CLASS scores, and student work, interviews, and open-ended surveys. Findings include a FCI average normalized gain of 0.32, which is high for students with low pre-test score (30% for this group) and instructors new to IE methods. Students' views of physics remained relatively unchanged, which is promising given the typical decline for student views. And instructional strategies as a set, not individual strategies, impacted student outcomes. Findings support the recommendation to adopt IE methods in introductory physics classes, particularly when pre-tests are low.

  20. Symmetry and aesthetics in introductory physics: An experiment in interdisciplinary physics and fine arts education

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    van der Veen, Janet Krause

    In a recent editorial in Physics Today (July, 2006, p. 10) the ability of physicists to "imagine new realities" was correlated with what have been traditionally considered non-scientific qualities of imagination and creativity, which are usually associated with fine arts. In view of the current developments in physics of the 21st Century, including the searches for cosmic dark energy and evidence from the Large Hadron Collider which, it is hoped, will verify or refute the proposals of String Theory, the importance of developing creativity and imagination through education is gaining recognition. Two questions are addressed by this study: First, How can we bring the sense of aesthetics and creativity, which are important in the practice of physics, into the teaching and learning of physics at the introductory college level, without sacrificing the mathematical rigor which is necessary for proper understanding of physics? Second, How can we provide access to physics for a diverse population of students which includes physics majors, arts majors, and future teachers? An interdisciplinary curriculum which begins with teaching math as a language of nature, and utilizes arts to help visualize the connections between mathematics and the physical universe, may provide answers to these questions. In this dissertation I describe in detail the case study of the eleven students - seven physics majors and four arts majors - who participated in an experimental course, Symmetry and Aesthetics in Introductory Physics, in Winter Quarter, 2007, at UCSB's College of Creative Studies. The very positive results of this experiment suggest that this model deserves further testing, and could provide an entry into the study of physics for physics majors, liberal arts majors, future teachers, and as a foundation for media arts and technology programs.

  1. Improving student learning and views of physics in a large enrollment introductory physics class

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Salehzadeh Einabad, Omid

    Introductory physics courses often serve as gatekeepers for many scientific and engineering programs and, increasingly, colleges are relying on large, lecture formats for these courses. Many students, however, leave having learned very little physics and with poor views of the subject. In interactive engagement (IE), classroom activities encourage students to engage with each other and with physics concepts and to be actively involved in their own learning. These methods have been shown to be effective in introductory physics classes with small group recitations. This study examined student learning and views of physics in a large enrollment course that included IE methods with no separate, small-group recitations. In this study, a large, lecture-based course included activities that had students explaining their reasoning both verbally and in writing, revise their ideas about physics concepts, and apply their reasoning to various problems. The questions addressed were: (a) What do students learn about physics concepts and how does student learning in this course compare to that reported in the literature for students in a traditional course?, (b) Do students' views of physics change and how do students' views of physics compare to that reported in the literature for students in a traditional course?, and (c) Which of the instructional strategies contribute to student learning in this course? Data included: pre-post administration of the Force Concept Inventory (FCI), classroom exams during the term, pre-post administration of the Colorado Learning Attitudes About Science Survey (CLASS), and student work, interviews, and open-ended surveys. The average normalized gain (=0.32) on the FCI falls within the medium-gain range as reported in the physics education literature, even though the average pre-test score was very low (30%) and this was the instructor's first implementation of IE methods. Students' views of physics remained relatively unchanged by instruction

  2. Effect of Written Presentation on Performance in Introductory Physics

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Stewart, John; Ballard, Shawn

    2010-01-01

    This study examined the written work of students in the introductory calculus-based electricity and magnetism course at the University of Arkansas. The students' solutions to hourly exams were divided into a small set of countable features organized into three major categories, mathematics, language, and graphics. Each category was further divided…

  3. Special Relativity and Magnetism in an Introductory Physics Course

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Piccioni, R. G.

    2007-01-01

    Too often, students in introductory courses are left with the impression that Einstein's special theory of relativity comes into play only when the relative speed of two objects is an appreciable fraction of the speed of light ("c"). In fact, relativistic length contraction, along with Coulomb's law, accounts quantitatively for the force on a…

  4. An Alternative Approach to an Introductory Physics Laboratory.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Robertson, William C.

    1985-01-01

    Describes an introductory laboratory format (used for 12 years at Colorado College) that involves students in the design and exploration phases of experiments. The laboratory features include choices of experiments; clearly explained goals; student selection of methods; wise equipment use; check-out procedures with instructor questions; and no…

  5. A Unified Approach to Introductory Physics Based on the Conservation Laws

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Perry, Bradley; Miller, Charles

    1970-01-01

    Describes a new, unified approach to introductory physics based on the conservation laws. classical and quantum physics are presented together as different levels of a unified and consistent description of the world. This approach has been used for the last 3 years as the first course in general physics for science and engineering students at…

  6. Instructors' Reasons for Choosing Problem Features in a Calculus-Based Introductory Physics Course

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Yerushalmi, Edit; Cohen, Elisheva; Heller, Kenneth; Heller, Patricia; Henderson, Charles

    2010-01-01

    This study investigates how the beliefs and values of physics faculty influence their choice of physics problems for their students in an introductory physics course. The study identifies the goals these instructors have for their students, the problem features they believe facilitate those goals, and how those features correspond to problems they…

  7. "Cheers for Rates of Change"--An Introductory Lab Used to Relate Graphs to Physical Systems

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Forrest, Doug; Whalen, Mary Battershell

    2012-01-01

    Students entering physics courses in high school have seen graphs for years in math and science classes, but often do not have a deep understanding of the physical meaning of the graphs. This introductory activity is designed to allow students to collect data for a real world or physical situation (the height versus volume of water held in…

  8. Optimizing Introductory Physics for the Life Sciences: Placing Physics in Biological Context

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Crouch, Catherine

    2014-03-01

    Physics is a critical foundation for today's life sciences and medicine. However, the physics content and ways of thinking identified by life scientists as most important for their fields are often not taught, or underemphasized, in traditional introductory physics courses. Furthermore, such courses rarely give students practice using physics to understand living systems in a substantial way. Consequently, students are unlikely to recognize the value of physics to their chosen fields, or to develop facility in applying physics to biological systems. At Swarthmore, as at several other institutions engaged in reforming this course, we have reorganized the introductory course for life science students around touchstone biological examples, in which fundamental physics contributes significantly to understanding biological phenomena or research techniques, in order to make explicit the value of physics to the life sciences. We have also focused on the physics topics and approaches most relevant to biology while seeking to develop rigorous qualitative reasoning and quantitative problem solving skills, using established pedagogical best practices. Each unit is motivated by and culminates with students analyzing one or more touchstone examples. For example, in the second semester we emphasize electric potential and potential difference more than electric field, and start from students' typically superficial understanding of the cell membrane potential and of electrical interactions in biochemistry to help them develop a more sophisticated understanding of electric forces, field, and potential, including in the salt water environment of life. Other second semester touchstones include optics of vision and microscopes, circuit models for neural signaling, and magnetotactic bacteria. When possible, we have adapted existing research-based curricular materials to support these examples. This talk will describe the design and development process for this course, give examples of

  9. Pre-conceptions of Newton's Laws of Motion of Students in Introductory Physics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Macabebe, E. Q. B.; Culaba, I. B.; Maquiling, J. T.

    2010-07-01

    The Force and Motion Conceptual Evaluation (FMCE) developed by R.K. Thornton and D. R. Sokoloff was utilized to evaluate the conceptual understanding of Newton's Laws of Motion. The test was administered to 100 freshman university students enrolled in introductory physics courses. The aim is to find out the conceptual understanding of the students prior to university level instruction. Results show that the Aristotelian notion prevails despite having taken physics in their senior year in high school. This study emphasizes the importance of training high school physics teachers and the significance of a change in the teaching techniques for university level introductory physics.

  10. Expert and novice categorization of introductory physics problems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wolf, Steven Frederick

    Since it was first published 30 years ago, Chi et al.'s seminal paper on expert and novice categorization of introductory problems led to a plethora of follow-up studies within and outside of the area of physics [Chi et al. Cognitive Science 5, 121 -- 152 (1981)]. These studies frequently encompass "card-sorting" exercises whereby the participants group problems. The study firmly established the paradigm that novices categorize physics problems by "surface features" (e.g. "incline," "pendulum," "projectile motion,"... ), while experts use "deep structure" (e.g. "energy conservation," "Newton 2,"... ). While this technique certainly allows insights into problem solving approaches, simple descriptive statistics more often than not fail to find significant differences between experts and novices. In most experiments, the clean-cut outcome of the original study cannot be reproduced. Given the widespread implications of the original study, the frequent failure to reproduce its findings warrants a closer look. We developed a less subjective statistical analysis method for the card sorting outcome and studied how the "successful" outcome of the experiment depends on the choice of the original card set. Thus, in a first step, we are moving beyond descriptive statistics, and develop a novel microscopic approach that takes into account the individual identity of the cards and uses graph theory and models to visualize, analyze, and interpret problem categorization experiments. These graphs are compared macroscopically, using standard graph theoretic statistics, and microscopically, using a distance metric that we have developed. This macroscopic sorting behavior is described using our Cognitive Categorization Model. The microscopic comparison allows us to visualize our sorters using Principal Components Analysis and compare the expert sorters to the novice sorters as a group. In the second step, we ask the question: Which properties of problems are most important in problem

  11. Graduate teaching assistants in a reformed introductory physics course: Synthesis of quantitative analyses of instructor action and qualitative analyses of instructor attitudes and perspectives

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Calder, Austin Michael

    Physics Education Research (PER) has shown us that when students have opportunities to make sense of concepts they tend to remember them better and can apply them more appropriately to new situations. PER has also revealed that an interactive, cooperative, small group environment is more conducive to achieving this than traditional lecture and recitation sections. It is useful to consider the aims of reformed instruction from the point of view of the graduate teaching assistants (GTAs) in physics, who are facilitating the instruction. The data in this dissertation comes from audio-recordings of GTAs teaching in an algebra-based introductory course; I develop a rubric for assessing the teaching practices of the GTAs which separates teaching into five categories according to the reformed practices present. The rubric and technique developed here could be used as a diagnostic for GTAs new to a reformed classroom. I also conducted surveys of the GTA participants, as well as semi-structured interviews to gain more information about the attitudes and perspectives toward reformed physics instruction. Results from this work include: (1) A diagnostic tool for teaching improvement and (2) a detailed understanding of the GTA facilitators' teaching practices in the reformed physics laboratory.

  12. Using categorization of problems as an instructional tool to help introductory students learn physics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mason, Andrew; Singh, Chandralekha

    2016-03-01

    The ability to categorize problems based upon underlying principles, rather than contexts, is considered a hallmark of expertise in physics problem solving. With inspiration from a classic study by Chi, Feltovich, and Glaser, we compared the categorization of 25 introductory mechanics problems based upon similarity of solution by students in large calculus-based introductory courses with physics faculty and PhD students. Here, we summarize the study and suggest that a categorization task, especially when conducted with students working with peers in small groups, can be an effective pedagogical tool to help students in introductory physics courses learn to discern the underlying similarity between problems with diverse contexts but the same underlying physics principles.

  13. Restructuring the introductory physics lab with the addition of computer-based laboratories

    PubMed Central

    Pierri-Galvao, Monica

    2011-01-01

    Nowadays, data acquisition software and sensors are being widely used in introductory physics laboratories. This allows the student to spend more time exploring the data that is collected by the computer hence focusing more on the physical concept. Very often, a faculty is faced with the challenge of updating or introducing a microcomputer-based laboratory (MBL) at his or her institution. This article will provide a list of experiments and equipment needed to convert about half of the traditional labs on a 1-year introductory physics lab into MBLs. PMID:22346229

  14. Determining Which Introductory Physics Topics Pre-Service Physics Teachers Have Difficulty Understanding and What Accounts for These Difficulties

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Sahin, Esin; Yagbasan, Rahmi

    2012-01-01

    This study aims at diagnosing which subjects pre-service physics teachers have difficulty understanding in introductory physics courses and what accounts for these difficulties. A questionnaire consisting of two qualitative questions was used to collect data for this study. The questionnaire was administered to 101 pre-service physics teachers who…

  15. Effect of Scaffolding on Helping Introductory Physics Students Solve Quantitative Problems Involving Strong Alternative Conceptions

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Lin, Shih-Yin; Singh, Chandralekha

    2015-01-01

    It is well known that introductory physics students often have alternative conceptions that are inconsistent with established physical principles and concepts. Invoking alternative conceptions in the quantitative problem-solving process can derail the entire process. In order to help students solve quantitative problems involving strong…

  16. From "F = ma" to Flying Squirrels: Curricular Change in an Introductory Physics Course

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    O'Shea, Brian; Terry, Laura; Benenson, Walter

    2013-01-01

    We present outcomes from curricular changes made to an introductory calculus-based physics course whose audience is primarily life sciences majors, the majority of whom plan to pursue postbaccalaureate studies in medical and scientific fields. During the 2011-2012 academic year, we implemented a Physics of the Life Sciences curriculum centered on…

  17. "RealTime Physics": Active Learning Labs Transforming the Introductory Laboratory

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Sokoloff, David R.; Laws, Priscilla W.; Thornton, Ronald K.

    2007-01-01

    Computer-based tools that enable students to collect, display and analyse data in real time have catalysed the design of a laboratory curriculum that allows students to master a coherent body of physics concepts while acquiring traditional laboratory skills. This paper describes "RealTime Physics", a sequenced introductory laboratory curriculum…

  18. The Application of Certain Thematic Approaches to the Study of Introductory Physics.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Spoeri, William G., III

    This study applied thematic approaches to the study of introductory physics. Symmetry principles and conservation laws were chosen to serve as themes for the development of a unit on elementary particles used by students who were enrolled in a physics sequence for nonscience majors. The unit was independently evaluated by teachers of general…

  19. Understanding Introductory Students' Application of Integrals in Physics from Multiple Perspectives

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Hu, Dehui

    2013-01-01

    Calculus is used across many physics topics from introductory to upper-division level college courses. The concepts of differentiation and integration are important tools for solving real world problems. Using calculus or any mathematical tool in physics is much more complex than the straightforward application of the equations and algorithms that…

  20. Toward Equity through Participation in Modeling Instruction in Introductory University Physics

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Brewe, Eric; Sawtelle, Vashti; Kramer, Laird H.; O'Brien, George E.; Rodriguez, Idaykis; Pamela, Priscilla

    2010-01-01

    We report the results of a five year evaluation of the reform of introductory calculus-based physics by implementation of Modeling Instruction (MI) at Florida International University (FIU), a Hispanic-serving institution. MI is described in the context of FIU's overall effort to enhance student participation in physics and science broadly. Our…

  1. Transversality of Electromagnetic Waves in the Calculus-Based Introductory Physics Course

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Burko, Lior M.

    2008-01-01

    Introductory calculus-based physics textbooks state that electromagnetic waves are transverse and list many of their properties, but most such textbooks do not bring forth arguments why this is so. Both physical and theoretical arguments are at a level appropriate for students of courses based on such books, and could be readily used by…

  2. Physical Models Enhance Molecular Three-Dimensional Literacy in an Introductory Biochemistry Course

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Roberts, Jacqueline R.; Hagedorn, Eric; Dillenburg, Paul; Patrick, Michael; Herman, Timothy

    2005-01-01

    This article reports the results of a recent study to evaluate the usefulness of physical models of molecular structures as a new tool with which to teach concepts of molecular structure and function. Of seven different learning tools used by students in this introductory biochemistry class, the use of the physical models in a laboratory was rated…

  3. Exploring the Relationship between Self-Efficacy and Retention in Introductory Physics

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Sawtelle, Vashti; Brewe, Eric; Kramer, Laird H.

    2012-01-01

    The quantitative results of Sources of Self-Efficacy in Science Courses-Physics (SOSESC-P) are presented as a logistic regression predicting the passing of students in introductory Physics with Calculus I, overall as well as disaggregated by gender. Self-efficacy as a theory to explain human behavior change [Bandura [1977] "Psychological Review,…

  4. Enhancing Direct Instruction on Introductory Physics for Supporting Students' Mental-Modeling Ability

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Mansyur, Jusman; Darsikin

    2016-01-01

    This paper describes an instructional design for introductory physics that integrates previous research results of physics problem-solving and the use of external representation into direct instruction (DI). The research is a part of research in obtaining an established instructional design to support mental-modeling ability. By integrating with…

  5. Teaching Quantum Interpretations: Revisiting the Goals and Practices of Introductory Quantum Physics Courses

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Baily, Charles; Finkelstein, Noah D.

    2015-01-01

    Most introductory quantum physics instructors would agree that transitioning students from classical to quantum thinking is an important learning goal, but may disagree on whether or how this can be accomplished. Although (and perhaps because) physicists have long debated the physical interpretation of quantum theory, many instructors choose to…

  6. Instructional Strategies for Online Introductory College Physics Based on Learning Styles

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Ekwue, Eleazer U.

    2013-01-01

    The practical nature of physics and its reliance on mathematical presentations and problem solving pose a challenge toward presentation of the course in an online environment for effective learning experience. Most first-time introductory college physics students fail to grasp the basic concepts of the course and the problem solving skills if the…

  7. Application of the K-W-L Teaching and Learning Method to an Introductory Physics Course

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Wrinkle, Cheryl Schaefer; Manivannan, Mani K.

    2009-01-01

    The K-W-L method of teaching is a simple method that actively engages students in their own learning. It has been used with kindergarten and elementary grades to teach other subjects. The authors have successfully used it to teach physics at the college level. In their introductory physics labs, the K-W-L method helped students think about what…

  8. A Study of the Effect Introductory Physical Science Produces in Students' Abilities in Selected Areas of Physics.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Robertson, Harold Frederick, Jr.

    This study, conducted at Northeast Catholic High School for Boys in Philadelphia, was designed to determine if a significant difference existed between ninth-grade students experienced in Introductory Physical Science and ninth-grade students experienced in conventional General Science in ability to manipulate basic physics laboratory equipment,…

  9. Investigating Student Attitudes and Performance in a Revised Introductory Physics Sequence II

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Crowder, Juliette; Martinez, Aramis; Lopez, Ramon

    2001-10-01

    Research shows that the traditional lecture-and-lab format is not the most effective way to introduce students to calculus-based physics. Accordingly, the curriculum for UTEP's introductory calculus based physics courses was revised for the 2000-01 academic year to include techniques that have proven to improve students' understanding of physics. This paper will focus on student attitudes and retention rates.

  10. Using "Student Technology" in Introductory Physics: A Comparison of Three Tools to Study Falling Objects

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    da Rocha, Fabio Saraiva; Fajardo, Fabio; Grisolia, Maricarmen; Benegas, Julio; Tchitnga, Robert; Laws, Priscilla

    2011-01-01

    Being able to facilitate effective hands-on laboratory experiences in introductory physics courses is a challenging task, even when contemporary laboratory facilities, equipment, and new technologies for data collection and analysis are available. At institutions without adequate resources, especially those in developing countries, we have found…

  11. Data Analysis and Graphing in an Introductory Physics Laboratory: Spreadsheet versus Statistics Suite

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Peterlin, Primoz

    2010-01-01

    Two methods of data analysis are compared: spreadsheet software and a statistics software suite. Their use is compared analysing data collected in three selected experiments taken from an introductory physics laboratory, which include a linear dependence, a nonlinear dependence and a histogram. The merits of each method are compared. (Contains 7…

  12. Instructors' Support of Student Autonomy in an Introductory Physics Course

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Hall, Nicholas; Webb, David

    2014-01-01

    The role of autonomy in the student experience in a large-enrollment undergraduate introductory physics course was studied from a self-determination theory perspective. A correlational study investigated whether certain aspects of the student experience correlated with how autonomy supportive (versus controlling) students perceived their…

  13. Problem-Based Labs and Group Projects in an Introductory University Physics Course

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Kohnle, Antje; Brown, C. Tom A.; Rae, Cameron F.; Sinclair, Bruce D.

    2012-01-01

    This article describes problem-based labs and analytical and computational project work we have been running at the University of St Andrews in an introductory physics course since 2008/2009. We have found the choice of topics, scaffolding of the process, timing in the year and facilitator guidance decisive for the success of these activities.…

  14. Using Categorization of Problems as an Instructional Tool to Help Introductory Students Learn Physics

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Mason, Andrew; Singh, Chandralekha

    2016-01-01

    The ability to categorize problems based upon underlying principles, rather than contexts, is considered a hallmark of expertise in physics problem solving. With inspiration from a classic study by Chi, Feltovich, and Glaser, we compared the categorization of 25 introductory mechanics problems based upon similarity of solution by students in large…

  15. Teaching a Chemistry MOOC with a Virtual Laboratory: Lessons Learned from an Introductory Physical Chemistry Course

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    O'Malley, Patrick J.; Agger, Jonathan R.; Anderson, Michael W.

    2015-01-01

    An analysis is presented of the experience and lessons learned of running a MOOC in introductory physical chemistry. The course was unique in allowing students to conduct experimental measurements using a virtual laboratory constructed using video and simulations. A breakdown of the student background and motivation for taking the course is…

  16. Investigating the Effectiveness of the Tutorials in Introductory Physics in Multiple Instructional Settings

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Slezak, C.; Koenig, K. M.; Endorf, R. J.; Braun, G. A.

    2011-01-01

    This paper examines the educational impact of the implementation of the tutorial activity "Changes in Energy and Momentum" from "The Tutorials in Introductory Physics" in five different instructional settings. These settings include (1) a completely computer-based learning environment and (2) use of cooperative learning groups with varying levels…

  17. Using a Dual Safeguard Web-Based Interactive Teaching Approach in an Introductory Physics Class

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Li, Lie-Ming; Li, Bin; Luo, Ying

    2015-01-01

    We modified the Just-in-Time Teaching approach and developed a dual safeguard web-based interactive (DGWI) teaching system for an introductory physics course. The system consists of four instructional components that improve student learning by including warm-up assignments and online homework. Student and instructor activities involve activities…

  18. Students' Pre-Knowledge as a Guideline in the Teaching of Introductory Thermal Physics at University

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Leinonen, Risto; Rasanen, Esa; Asikainen, Mervi; Hirvonen, Pekka E.

    2009-01-01

    This study concentrates on analysing university students' pre-knowledge of thermal physics. The students' understanding of the basic concepts and of the adiabatic compression of an ideal gas was studied at the start of an introductory level course. A total of 48 students participated in a paper-and-pencil test, and analysis of the responses…

  19. Guidelines for an Introductory Undergraduate Course in Physical Education Teacher Education. Guidance Document

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Castelli, Darla M.; Woods, Amelia M.; Lambdin, Dolly; Hall, Tina; Webster, Colin

    2010-01-01

    The intent of teacher education is to develop a person's skill, knowledge and ability to foster learning in pre-K-12 education settings. Preparation in this field of education carries added complexities, in that physical educators must address psychomotor, cognitive and affective goals. An introductory course for undergraduates should overview the…

  20. Developing Problem-Solving Skills of Students Taking Introductory Physics via Web-Based Tutorials

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Singh, Chandralekha; Haileselassie, Daniel

    2010-01-01

    Science teaching and learning can be made both engaging and student-centered using pedagogical, computer-based learning tools. We have developed self-paced interactive problem-solving tutorials for introductory physics. These tutorials can provide guidance and support for a variety of problem-solving techniques, as well as opportunities for…

  1. Data analysis and graphing in an introductory physics laboratory: spreadsheet versus statistics suite

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Peterlin, Primož

    2010-07-01

    Two methods of data analysis are compared: spreadsheet software and a statistics software suite. Their use is compared analysing data collected in three selected experiments taken from an introductory physics laboratory, which include a linear dependence, a nonlinear dependence and a histogram. The merits of each method are compared.

  2. Accelerated Integrated Science Sequence (AISS): An Introductory Biology, Chemistry, and Physics Course

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Purvis-Roberts, Kathleen L.; Edwalds-Gilbert, Gretchen; Landsberg, Adam S.; Copp, Newton; Ulsh, Lisa; Drew, David E.

    2009-01-01

    A new interdisciplinary, introductory science course was offered for the first time during the 2007-2008 school year. The purpose of the course is to introduce students to the idea of working at the intersections of biology, chemistry, and physics and to recognize interconnections between the disciplines. Interdisciplinary laboratories are a key…

  3. Introductory Physical and Earth Science 8AB. An Instructional Course Outline. Publication No. SC-864.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Los Angeles Unified School District, CA. Office of Secondary Instruction.

    Introductory Physical and Earth Science 8AB, a required course in the Los Angeles Unified School District, covers skills and concepts related to matter, energy, space science, weather, and oceanography with particular emphasis on the investigative approach. This instructional outline contains teacher guidelines and course content information.…

  4. Innovative Interactive Lecture Demonstrations Using Wireless Force Sensors and Accelerometers for Introductory Physics Courses

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Yoder, G.; Cook, J.

    2010-01-01

    Interactive lecture demonstrations (ILDs) are a powerful tool designed to help instructors bring state-of-the-art teaching pedagogies into the college-level introductory physics classroom. ILDs have been shown to improve students' conceptual understanding, and many examples have been created and published by Sokoloff and Thornton. We have used the…

  5. Alfred P. Gage and the Introductory Physics Laboratory

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Greenslade, Thomas B., Jr.

    2016-01-01

    This article is about a late 19th-century teacher of secondary school physics. I was originally interested in the apparatus that he sold. This led me to the physics books that he wrote, and these took me to his unusual ideas about ways to use laboratory time to introduce students to the phenomena of physics. More than 100 years later educational…

  6. Alfred P. Gage and the Introductory Physics Laboratory

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Greenslade, Thomas B.

    2016-03-01

    This article is about a late 19th-century teacher of secondary school physics. I was originally interested in the apparatus that he sold. This led me to the physics books that he wrote, and these took me to his unusual ideas about ways to use laboratory time to introduce students to the phenomena of physics. More than 100 years later educational ideas have now come full circle, and it is time to bring Gage and his texts and ideas to 21st-century physics teachers.

  7. The Challenge of Teaching Introductory Physics to Premedical Students

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Kortemeyer, Gerd

    2007-01-01

    Most physics instructors are motivated by a genuine interest in their subject area and in using physics to understand real-world phenomena. While many premedical students may share these interests, most are motivated by fulfilling their degree requirements and gaining admittance into medical school. To achieve this latter goal, they need excellent…

  8. A Study on Contingency Learning in Introductory Physics Concepts

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Scaife, Thomas M.

    2010-01-01

    Instructors of physics often use examples to illustrate new or complex physical concepts to students. For any particular concept, there are an infinite number of examples, thus presenting instructors with a difficult question whenever they wish to use one in their teaching: which example will most effectively illustrate the concept so that student…

  9. The Pedagogical Value of "Obvious" Questions in Introductory Physics

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Frank, Brian; Goertzen, Renee Michelle; Hutchison, Paul

    2013-01-01

    Each time students engage in a classroom activity, they make tacit interpretations (about the nature of those activities) that influence how they reason and ultimately what they learn. For example, a student answering a physics question on a worksheet might draw on her everyday thinking to help make sense of the physics, or she might not even…

  10. Quantitative Comparisons to Promote Inquiry in the Introductory Physics Lab

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Holmes, N. G.; Bonn, D. A.

    2015-01-01

    In a recent report, the American Association of Physics Teachers has developed an updated set of recommendations for curriculum of undergraduate physics labs. This document focuses on six major themes: constructing knowledge, modeling, designing experiments, developing technical and practical laboratory skills, analyzing and visualizing data, and…

  11. The Pedagogical Value of ``Obvious'' Questions in Introductory Physics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Frank, Brian; Goertzen, Renee Michelle; Hutchison, Paul

    2013-11-01

    Each time students engage in a classroom activity, they make tacit interpretations (about the nature of those activities) that influence how they reason and ultimately what they learn. For example, a student answering a physics question on a worksheet might draw on her everyday thinking to help make sense of the physics, or she might not even consider everyday thinking if its usefulness was not readily apparent. For many physics instructors, the reconciliation of everyday thinking and formal physics knowledge is part of what it means to fully understand physics. Despite this, many students do not see reconciling these two things as what they are supposed to do in the classroom. Often we see students whose interpretation of physics class causes them to "turn off" their everyday thinking. In this article, we argue for the importance of attending closely to whether students are reconciling their everyday and formal physics thinking and introduce "obvious" questions as a tool that can help instructors assess whether such reconciliation is taking place.

  12. Impacts of curricular change: Implications from 8 years of data in introductory physics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pollock, Steven J.; Finkelstein, Noah

    2013-01-01

    Introductory calculus-based physics classes at the University of Colorado Boulder were significantly transformed beginning in 2004. They now regularly include: interactive engagement using clickers in large lecture settings, Tutorials in Introductory Physics with use of undergraduate Learning Assistants in recitation sections, and a staffed help-room setting where students work on personalized CAPA homework. We compile and summarize conceptual (FMCE and BEMA) pre- and post-data from over 9,000 unique students after 16 semesters of both Physics 1 and 2. Within a single institution with stable pre-test scores, we reproduce results of Hake's 1998 study that demonstrate the positive impacts of interactive engagement on student performance. We link the degree of faculty's use of interactive engagement techniques and their experience levels on student outcomes, and argue for the role of such systematic data collection in sustained course and institutional transformations.

  13. Physical models enhance molecular three-dimensional literacy in an introductory biochemistry course*.

    PubMed

    Roberts, Jacqueline R; Hagedorn, Eric; Dillenburg, Paul; Patrick, Michael; Herman, Timothy

    2005-03-01

    This article reports the results of a recent study to evaluate the usefulness of physical models of molecular structures as a new tool with which to teach concepts of molecular structure and function. Of seven different learning tools used by students in this introductory biochemistry class, the use of the physical models in a laboratory was rated as most useful. These results suggest that physical models can play an important role in capturing the interest of students in the subject of molecular structure and function. These physical models often stimulate more sophisticated questions in the minds of students, which can then be more appropriately explored using computer visualization tools. PMID:21638554

  14. Popular Science: Introductory Physics Textbooks for Home Economics Students

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Behrman, Joanna

    2014-03-01

    For many decades now there has been an ongoing debate about the way and extent to which physics ought to be popularized by appealing to a student's every day experience. Part of this debate has focused on how textbooks, a major factor shaping students' education, ought to be written and presented. I examine the background, passages, and problems of two examples drawn from the special genre of ``Household Physics'' textbooks which were published largely between 1910 and 1940. The pedagogy of applying or relating physics to the everyday experience engenders values defining how and by whom science is to be applied. These books are particularly evocative, as well, of the extent to which gender can be tied to differing everyday experiences and the consequences therefore of using experiential examples. Using popular science textbooks can alienate students by drawing an implicit division between the reader and the practicing scientist.

  15. Integrating writing research with curricular development in large-enrollment introductory physics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Demaree, Dedra

    2008-05-01

    Multiple research projects have been undertaken as part of an ongoing study to develop methods to do quantitative assessment of writing to learn within physics. The ability to make use of writing to learn at first glance appears limited in large-enrollment courses due to the time-intensive nature of essay writing and grading. However, effective ways to implement writing are quite possible. One study that will be discussed required students to do textbook summary writing in introductory physics in the 2007 spring semester of the ``Foundation Physics Course'' at the University of Cape Town. This course is a component of the special access program which contains mostly second language English speakers. Another use of writing will be reported that is currently being used in the introductory physics course at Oregon State University as a way to enhance problem solving. This project is also aimed at scaffolding students toward goals in our upper division courses. This talk will report on some of what we know about writing to learn, how we are working to improve ways to study it quantitatively, and how we are incorporating some aspects of it in accessible ways in large-enrollment introductory courses.

  16. Modeling the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami for Introductory Physics Students

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    DiLisi, Gregory A.; Rarick, Richard A.

    2006-01-01

    In this paper we develop materials to address student interest in the Indian Ocean tsunami of December 2004. We discuss the physical characteristics of tsunamis and some of the specific data regarding the 2004 event. Finally, we create an easy-to-make tsunami tank to run simulations in the classroom. The simulations exhibit three dramatic…

  17. The Circle of Apollonius and Its Applications in Introductory Physics

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Partensky, Michael B.

    2008-01-01

    The circle of Apollonius is named after the ancient geometrician Apollonius of Perga. This beautiful geometric construct can be helpful when solving some general problems of geometry and mathematical physics, optics, and electricity. Here we discuss two of its applications: localizing an object in space and calculating electric fields. First, we…

  18. A Descriptive Study of Cooperative Problem Solving Introductory Physics Labs

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Knutson, Paul Aanond

    2011-01-01

    The purpose of this study was to determine the ways in which cooperative problem solving in physics instructional laboratories influenced the students' ability to provide qualitative responses to problems. The literature shows that problem solving involves both qualitative and quantitative skills. Qualitative skills are important because those…

  19. Characterizing Interactive Engagement Activities in a Flipped Introductory Physics Class

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Wood, Anna K.; Galloway, Ross K.; Donnelly, Robyn; Hardy, Judy

    2016-01-01

    Interactive engagement activities are increasingly common in undergraduate physics teaching. As research efforts move beyond simply showing that interactive engagement pedagogies work towards developing an understanding of "how" they lead to improved learning outcomes, a detailed analysis of the way in which these activities are used in…

  20. Internet Computer Coaches for Introductory Physics Problem Solving

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Xu Ryan, Qing

    2013-01-01

    The ability to solve problems in a variety of contexts is becoming increasingly important in our rapidly changing technological society. Problem-solving is a complex process that is important for everyday life and crucial for learning physics. Although there is a great deal of effort to improve student problem solving skills throughout the…

  1. Quantitative Comparisons to Promote Inquiry in the Introductory Physics Lab

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Holmes, N. G.; Bonn, D. A.

    2015-09-01

    In a recent report, the American Association of Physics Teachers has developed an updated set of recommendations for curriculum of undergraduate physics labs. This document focuses on six major themes: constructing knowledge, modeling, designing experiments, developing technical and practical laboratory skills, analyzing and visualizing data, and communicating physics. These themes all tie together as a set of practical skills in scientific measurement, analysis, and experimentation. In addition to teaching students how to use these skills, it is important for students to know when to use them so that they can use them autonomously. This requires, especially in the case of analytical skills, high levels of inquiry behaviors to reflect on data and iterate measurements, which students rarely do in lab experiments. Often, they perform lab experiments in a plug-and-chug frame, procedurally completing each activity with little to no sensemaking. An emphasis on obtaining true theoretical values or agreement on individual measurements also reinforces inauthentic behaviors such as retroactively inflating measurement uncertainties. This paper aims to offer a relatively simple pedagogical framework for engaging students authentically in experimentation and inquiry in physics labs.

  2. A Study on Contingency Learning in Introductory Physics Concepts

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Scaife, Thomas M.

    Instructors of physics often use examples to illustrate new or complex physical concepts to students. For any particular concept, there are an infinite number of examples, thus presenting instructors with a difficult question whenever they wish to use one in their teaching: which example will most effectively illustrate the concept so that student learning is maximized? The choice is typically made by an intuitive assumption about which exact example will result in the most lucid illustration and the greatest student improvement. By questioning 583 students in four experiments, I examined a more principled approach to example selection. By controlling the manner in which physical dimensions vary, the parameter space of each concept can be divided into a discrete number of example categories. The effects of training with members of each of category was explored in two different physical contexts: projectile motion and torque. In the first context, students were shown two trajectories and asked to determine which represented the longer time of flight. Height, range, and time of flight were the physical dimensions that were used to categorize the examples. In the second context, students were shown a balance-scale with loads of differing masses placed at differing positions along either side of the balance-arm. Mass, lever-arm length, and torque were the physical dimensions used to categorize these examples. For both contexts, examples were chosen so that one or two independent dimensions were varied. After receiving training with examples from specific categories, students were tested with questions from all question categories. Successful training or instruction can be measured either as producing correct, expert-like behavior (as observed through answers to the questions) or as explicitly instilling an understanding of the underlying rule that governs a physical phenomenon. A student's behavior might not be consistent with their explicit rule, so following the

  3. Toward equity through participation in Modeling Instruction in introductory university physics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Brewe, Eric; Sawtelle, Vashti; Kramer, Laird H.; O'Brien, George E.; Rodriguez, Idaykis; Pamelá, Priscilla

    2010-06-01

    We report the results of a five year evaluation of the reform of introductory calculus-based physics by implementation of Modeling Instruction (MI) at Florida International University (FIU), a Hispanic-serving institution. MI is described in the context of FIU’s overall effort to enhance student participation in physics and science broadly. Our analysis of MI from a “participationist” perspective on learning identifies aspects of MI including conceptually based instruction, culturally sensitive instruction, and cooperative group learning, which are consistent with research on supporting equitable learning and participation by students historically under-represented in physics (i.e., Black, Hispanic, women). This study uses markers of conceptual understanding as measured by the Force Concept Inventory (FCI) and odds of success as measured by the ratio of students completing introductory physics and earning a passing grade (i.e., C- or better) by students historically under-represented in physics to reflect equity and participation in introductory physics. FCI pre and post scores for students in MI are compared with lecture-format taught students. Modeling Instruction students outperform students taught in lecture-format classes on post instruction FCI (61.9% vs 47.9%, p<0.001 ), where these benefits are seen across both ethnic and gender comparisons. In addition, we report that the odds of success in MI are 6.73 times greater than in lecture instruction. Both odds of success and FCI scores within Modeling Instruction are further disaggregated by ethnicity and by gender to address the question of equity within the treatment. The results of this disaggregation indicate that although ethnically under-represented students enter with lower overall conceptual understanding scores, the gap is not widened during introductory physics but instead is maintained, and the odds of success for under-represented students is not different from majority students. Women

  4. The Persistence of the Gender Gap in Introductory Physics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kost, Lauren E.; Pollock, Steven J.; Finkelstein, Noah D.

    2008-10-01

    We previously showed[l] that despite teaching with interactive engagement techniques, the gap in performance between males and females on conceptual learning surveys persisted from pre- to posttest, at our institution. Such findings were counter to previously published work[2]. Our current work analyzes factors that may influence the observed gender gap in our courses. Posttest conceptual assessment data are modeled using both multiple regression and logistic regression analyses to estimate the gender gap in posttest scores after controlling for background factors that vary by gender. We find that at our institution the gender gap persists in interactive physics classes, but is largely due to differences in physics and math preparation and incoming attitudes and beliefs.

  5. Applicability of the Newtonian gravity concept inventory to introductory college physics classes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Williamson, Kathryn; Prather, Edward E.; Willoughby, Shannon

    2016-06-01

    The study described here extends the applicability of the Newtonian Gravity Concept Inventory (NGCI) to college algebra-based physics classes, beyond the general education astronomy courses for which it was originally developed. The four conceptual domains probed by the NGCI (Directionality, Force Law, Independence of Other Forces, and Threshold) are well suited for investigating students' reasoning about gravity in both populations, making the NGCI a highly versatile instrument. Classical test theory statistical analysis with physics student responses pre-instruction (N = 1,392) and post-instruction (N = 929) from eight colleges and universities across the United States indicate that the NGCI is composed of items with appropriate difficulty and discrimination and is reliable for this population. Also, expert review and student interviews support the NGCI's validity for the physics population. Emergent similarities and differences in how physics students reason about gravity compared to astronomy students are discussed, as well as future directions for analyzing the instrument's item parameters across both populations.

  6. Ideas for Use of an IPad in Introductory Physics Education

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Aurora, Tarlok S.

    2014-03-01

    Mobile devices such as an IPad, tablet computers and smartphones offer an opportunity to collect information to facilitate physics teaching and learning. The data collected with built-in sensors, such as a video camera, may be analyzed on the mobile device itself or on a desktop computer. In this work, first, the circular motion of a steel ball rolling in a cereal bowl was analyzed to show that it consisted of two simple harmonic motions, in perpendicular directions. Secondly, motion of two balls-one dropped vertically down, and the other one launched as a projectile - was analyzed. Data was analyzed with Logger Pro software, and value of g was determined graphically. Details of the work, its limitations and additional examples will be described. The material so obtained may be used as a demonstration, in a classroom, to clarify physics concepts. In a school, where students are required to have such portable devices, one may assign such activities as homework, to enhance student engagement in learning physics. The author is thankful to USciences for the IPad; and Rich Cosgriff, Phyllis Blumberg and Elia Eschenazi for useful discussions.

  7. The Relationship between Attitude and Knowledge in an Introductory Physics Course

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bihari, James; White, Arthur

    1998-04-01

    Pre and posttests were given over a three year period to students in an introductory university physics course, a two-quarter, hands-on, laboratory-based, science literacy course with a focus on energy. Attitude items on the tests related to student anxiety and efficacy, discovery, relevance, enjoyment, and interest. Knowledge items on the tests related to course subject matter. Quantitative analysis was used to study relationships between attitude variables, age, gender, subject matter knowledge, and performance in the course.

  8. Intervention activities to improve the reasoning ability of students at risk in introductory physics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Coletta, Vincent P.; Phillips, J.

    2006-12-01

    We describe a number of activities we have begun using in interventions targeting students who are at risk in introductory college physics courses. Some are adaptations of the work of others with pre-high school children, including Philip Adey in Great Britain (Cognitive Acceleration though Science Education), Reuven Feuerstein in Israel (Instrumental Enrichment), and Kurtz and Karplus in the U. S. in the 70’s (Numerical Relationships). We have also added some other activities, including Sudoku strategy development.

  9. Active learning of introductory optics: real-time physics labs, interactive lecture demonstrations and magic

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sokoloff, David R.

    2005-10-01

    Widespread physics education research has shown that most introductory physics students have difficulty learning essential optics concepts - even in the best of traditional courses, and that well-designed active learning approaches can remedy this problem. This mini-workshop and the associated poster session will provide direct experience with methods for promoting students' active involvement in the learning process in lecture and laboratory. Participants will have hands-on experience with activities from RealTime Physics labs and Interactive Lecture Demonstrations - a learning strategy for large (and small) lectures, including specially designed Optics Magic Tricks. The poster will provide more details on these highly effective curricula.

  10. Gambling as a teaching aid in the introductory physics laboratory

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Horodynski-Matsushigue, L. B.; Pascholati, P. R.; Vanin, V. R.; Dias, J. F.; Yoneama, M.-L.; Siqueira, P. T. D.; Amaku, M.; Duarte, J. L. M.

    1998-07-01

    Dice throwing is used to illustrate relevant concepts of the statistical theory of uncertainties, in particular the meaning of a limiting distribution, the standard deviation, and the standard deviation of the mean. It is an important part in a sequence of especially programmed laboratory activities, developed for freshmen, at the Institute of Physics of the University of São Paulo. It is shown how this activity is employed within a constructive teaching approach, which aims at a growing understanding of the measuring processes and of the fundamentals of correct statistical handling of experimental data.

  11. Modeling instruction: Positive attitudinal shifts in introductory physics measured with CLASS

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Brewe, Eric; Kramer, Laird; O'Brien, George

    2009-06-01

    Among the most surprising findings in Physics Education Research is the lack of positive results on attitudinal measures, such as Colorado Learning Attitudes about Science Survey (CLASS) and Maryland Physics Expectations Survey (MPEX). The uniformity with which physics teaching manages to negatively shift attitudes toward physics learning is striking. Strategies which have been shown to improve conceptual learning, such as interactive engagement and studio-format classes, provide more authentic science experiences for students; yet do not seem to be sufficient to produce positive attitudinal results. Florida International University’s Physics Education Research Group has implemented Modeling Instruction in University Physics classes as part of an overall effort toward building a research and learning community. Modeling Instruction is explicitly designed to engage students in scientific practices that include model building, validation, and revision. Results from a preinstruction/postinstruction CLASS measurement show attitudinal improvements through both semesters of an introductory physics sequence, as well as over the entire two-course sequence. In this Brief Report, we report positive shifts from the CLASS in one section of a modeling-based introductory physics sequence, for both mechanics (N=22) and electricity and magnetism (N=23) . Using the CLASS results and follow up interviews, we examine how these results reflect on modeling instruction and the unique student community and population at FIU.

  12. The Circle of Apollonius and Its Applications in Introductory Physics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Partensky, Michael B.

    2008-02-01

    The circle of Apollonius is named after the ancient geometrician Apollonius of Perga. This beautiful geometric construct can be helpful when solving some general problems of geometry and mathematical physics, optics, and electricity. Here we discuss two of its applications: localizing an object in space and calculating electric fields. First, we pose an entertaining localization problem to trigger students' interest in the subject. Analyzing this problem, we introduce the circle of Apollonius and show that this geometric technique helps solve the problem in an elegant and intuitive manner. Then we switch to seemingly unrelated problems of calculating the electric fields. We show that the zero equipotential line for two unlike charges is the Apollonius circle for these two charges and use this discovery to find the electric field of a charge positioned near a grounded conductive sphere. Finally, we pose some questions for further examination.

  13. Determining which introductory physics topics pre-service physics teachers have difficulty understanding and what accounts for these difficulties

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Şahin, Esin; Yağbasan, Rahmi

    2012-03-01

    This study aims at diagnosing which subjects pre-service physics teachers have difficulty understanding in introductory physics courses and what accounts for these difficulties. A questionnaire consisting of two qualitative questions was used to collect data for this study. The questionnaire was administered to 101 pre-service physics teachers who have completed the courses Physics 1 (Mechanics 1), Physics 2 (Mechanics 2), Physics 3 (Electricity) and Physics 4 (Magnetism). Of the pre-service physics teachers 28 were second year, 26 were third year, 27 were fourth year and 20 were fifth year students. The results of the data analysis indicated that the percentage of students who think that Magnetism has the most difficult subjects is the highest compared to the others. The reasons why the pre-service physics teachers experience difficulty in understanding the subjects have been grouped into four categories.

  14. Modern Gravitational Lens Cosmology for Introductory Physics and Astronomy Students

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Huwe, Paul; Field, Scott

    2015-05-01

    Recent and exciting discoveries in astronomy and cosmology have inspired many high school students to learn about these fields. A particularly fascinating consequence of general relativity at the forefront of modern cosmology research is gravitational lensing, the bending of light rays that pass near massive objects. Gravitational lensing enables high-precision mapping of dark matter distributions in galaxies and galaxy clusters, provides insight into large-scale cosmic structure of the universe, aids in the search for exo-planets, and may offer valuable insight toward understanding the evolution of dark energy. In this article we describe a gravitational lensing lab and associated lecture/discussion material that was highly successful, according to student feedback. The gravitational lens unit was developed as part of a two-week summer enrichment class for junior and senior high school students. With minor modifications, this lab can be used within a traditional classroom looking to incorporate topics of modern physics (such as in a unit on optics).

  15. Instructional strategies for online introductory college physics based on learning styles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ekwue, Eleazer U.

    The practical nature of physics and its reliance on mathematical presentations and problem solving pose a challenge toward presentation of the course in an online environment for effective learning experience. Most first-time introductory college physics students fail to grasp the basic concepts of the course and the problem solving skills if the instructional strategy used to deliver the course is not compatible with the learners' preferred learning styles. This study investigates the effect of four instructional strategies based on four learning styles (listening, reading, iconic, and direct-experience) to improve learning for introductory college physics in an online environment. Learning styles of 146 participants were determined with Canfield Learning Style inventory. Of the 85 learners who completed the study, research results showed a statistically significant increase in learning performance following the online instruction in all four learning style groups. No statistically significant differences in learning were found among the four groups. However, greater significant academic improvement was found among learners with iconic and direct-experience modes of learning. Learners in all four groups expressed that the design of the unit presentation to match their individual learning styles contributed most to their learning experience. They were satisfied with learning a new physics concept online that, in their opinion, is either comparable or better than an instructor-led classroom experience. Findings from this study suggest that learners' performance and satisfaction in an online introductory physics course could be improved by using instructional designs that are tailored to learners' preferred ways of learning. It could contribute toward the challenge of providing viable online physics instruction in colleges and universities.

  16. A Search for Correlations Between Teaching Style, Academic Gain, and Epistemology of Introductory Physics Students

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bogdan, Abigail; Kuhl, Dennis

    2011-04-01

    Ideally, a physics class would improve both students' academic abilities and their attitudes towards physics. This study was designed both to investigate any correlation between academic ability and epistemology, and to examine the effects of teaching style on academic and epistemological growth. Over four hundred students in high school and college introductory physics courses were given two pre- and post-instruction surveys: the Force and Motion Conceptual Evaluation (FMCE) to measure knowledge of physics and the Epistemological Beliefs Assessment for Physical Science (EBAPS) to quantify epistemological beliefs about physics. The average normalized gains from each class were then compared to teaching style. It was found that, though different teaching styles produced drastically different academic gains, student epistemologies remained fairly constant.

  17. Improving the exam experience: Testing test procedures in introductory physical science courses at a two-year college

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Marton, F.; McCrary, M.

    2013-12-01

    Bergen Community College (BCC) is a two-year college in the New York City metropolitan area with a diverse student body and total enrollment of approximately 17,000. Most students have a gen-ed requirement of two lab science courses which employ numerous methods of assessment, including tests. Traditionally, students take tests individually and often, once they get back the graded tests, glance over the results and file the tests away. In addition to individual test-taking, we have begun using and comparing two types of procedures to see how their understanding of the material may improve in introductory-level geology and physics classes. The first procedure explored the benefit of group work to reinforce concepts, worth 20% of the overall test grade. Conceptual and algebra-based physics classes took short group tests, consisting of open-ended challenge questions, preceding their traditional, individual exam. We found the group testing significantly helped the physics students; in some cases, counting for more than 20% of their overall test grade. Because those problems were done at the beginning of the test, it helped many students reinforce their understanding of the physics concepts through intense group discussion, which allowed them to be more relaxed and confident when they did their individual problems. In geology, the students re-did the T/F, MC, and fill-in questions that they answered independently first. By consulting with their fellow students, they were able to talk over the concepts and correct their answers if they felt they were initially wrong. Overall, when the questions were re-done during the group testing, the median improvement in correct answers was 16-24%. Moreover, students generally felt either confident in their answers or, if they changed them, understood the concepts better. For the second type of test procedure, students in a geology class were able to make corrections to the T/F, MC, and fill-in questions that they got wrong. If they

  18. A New Introductory Physics Course for Pre-Service Elementary School Teachers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Frohne, Mary Vickie

    1998-04-01

    Much of the science taught in elementary schools is physics, even though it is called "physical science" at that level. To encourage pre-service teachers to learn more about physics, we are offering a new and special introductory physics course that is restristed to education majors. Our aim is to teach them basic physics in such a way that they will be readily able to apply their knowledge in a preschool or K-8 classroom. The approach of the course is very conceptual. Special features of the course include group learning, "check questions" at the beginning of each lecture, multiple short lab activities, hands-on lecture demonstrations, and extensive use of everyday materials in labs and lecture demonstrations.

  19. Student Representational Competence and the Role of Instructional Environment in Introductory Physics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kohl, Patrick; Finkelstein, Noah

    2006-02-01

    In a previous study of a traditional, large-lecture algebra-based physics course, we demonstrated that giving students a choice of representational format when they solve quiz problems could have either significantly positive or negative performance effects, depending on the topic and representation used. Further, we see that students are not necessarily aware of the representation with which they are most competent. Here, we extend these results by considering two courses taught by a reform-style instructor. These performance data are substantially different in character, with the students from the reform courses showing much smaller performance variations when given a choice of representation. From these data, we hypothesize that students in the reform courses may be learning a broader set of representational skills than students in the traditional course. We therefore examine major components of the courses (exams, homeworks, lectures) to characterize the use of different representations. We find that the reform courses make use of richer selections of representations, and make more frequent use of multiple representations, suggesting a mechanism by which these students could have learned these broader skills.

  20. Student Effort Expectations and Their Learning in First-Year Introductory Physics: A Case Study in Thailand

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Wutchana, U.; Emarat, N.

    2011-01-01

    The Maryland Physics Expectations (MPEX) survey was designed to probe students' expectations about their understanding of the process of learning physics and the structure of physics knowledge--cognitive expectations. This survey was administered to first-year university students in Thailand in the first semester of an introductory calculus-based…

  1. Using ``Student Technology'' in Introductory Physics: A Comparison of Three Tools to Study Falling Objects

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Saraiva da Rocha, Fábio; Fajardo, Fabio; Grisolía, Maricarmen; Benegas, Julio; Tchitnga, Robert; Laws, Priscilla

    2011-03-01

    Being able to facilitate effective hands-on laboratory experiences in introductory physics courses is a challenging task, even when contemporary laboratory facilities, equipment, and new technologies for data collection and analysis are available. At institutions without adequate resources, especially those in developing countries, we have found that the problem of providing effective laboratory experiences is especially daunting for at least two reasons: 1) the lack of equipment and contemporary measuring devices; and 2) even at institutions that have some laboratory equipment, students who have access to cell phones with digital timing and video capabilities or inexpensive digital cameras are bored with trying to use "old-fashioned" apparatus for measurements.

  2. From F = ma to Flying Squirrels: Curricular Change in an Introductory Physics Course

    PubMed Central

    O’Shea, Brian; Terry, Laura; Benenson, Walter

    2013-01-01

    We present outcomes from curricular changes made to an introductory calculus-based physics course whose audience is primarily life sciences majors, the majority of whom plan to pursue postbaccalaureate studies in medical and scientific fields. During the 2011–2012 academic year, we implemented a Physics of the Life Sciences curriculum centered on a draft textbook that takes a novel approach to teaching physics to life sciences majors. In addition, substantial revisions were made to the homework and hands-on components of the course to emphasize the relationship between physics and the life sciences and to help the students learn to apply physical intuition to life sciences–oriented problems. Student learning and attitudinal outcomes were assessed both quantitatively, using standard physics education research instruments, and qualitatively, using student surveys and a series of postsemester interviews. Students experienced high conceptual learning gains, comparable to other active learning–based physics courses. Qualitatively, a substantial fraction of interviewed students reported an increased interest in physics relative to the beginning of the semester. Furthermore, more than half of students self-reported that they could now relate physics topics to their majors and future careers, with interviewed subjects demonstrating a high level of ability to come up with examples of how physics affects living organisms and how it helped them to better understand content presented in courses in their major. PMID:23737630

  3. From F = ma to flying squirrels: curricular change in an introductory physics course.

    PubMed

    O'Shea, Brian; Terry, Laura; Benenson, Walter

    2013-06-01

    We present outcomes from curricular changes made to an introductory calculus-based physics course whose audience is primarily life sciences majors, the majority of whom plan to pursue postbaccalaureate studies in medical and scientific fields. During the 2011-2012 academic year, we implemented a Physics of the Life Sciences curriculum centered on a draft textbook that takes a novel approach to teaching physics to life sciences majors. In addition, substantial revisions were made to the homework and hands-on components of the course to emphasize the relationship between physics and the life sciences and to help the students learn to apply physical intuition to life sciences-oriented problems. Student learning and attitudinal outcomes were assessed both quantitatively, using standard physics education research instruments, and qualitatively, using student surveys and a series of postsemester interviews. Students experienced high conceptual learning gains, comparable to other active learning-based physics courses. Qualitatively, a substantial fraction of interviewed students reported an increased interest in physics relative to the beginning of the semester. Furthermore, more than half of students self-reported that they could now relate physics topics to their majors and future careers, with interviewed subjects demonstrating a high level of ability to come up with examples of how physics affects living organisms and how it helped them to better understand content presented in courses in their major. PMID:23737630

  4. Physics With Health Science Applications

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Urone, Paul Peter

    1985-09-01

    An accessible, algebra-based text covering the introductory physics necessary for applied health and nursing. Presentation integrates health science applications throughout. Excellent illustrations support the exposition. Chapters contain over 100 worked examples, over 450 review questions, and more than 550 end-of-chapter problems graded according to difficulty. Offers discussion of the latest applications such as ionizing radiation and radiation doses, nuclear imaging techniques, CT scanners, ultrasound techniques, artificial hearts, and laser surgery.

  5. College Physics with Biomedical Applications

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zurcher, Ulrich; Kaufman, Miron; Bergen, Zakiyyha; Ferguson, Robert

    2004-10-01

    As team members of the Northeast Ohio Center of Excellence for Mathematics and Science Teachers Education [NEOCEx], we prepared some innovative lesson plans aimed in particular for students majoring in Biology and PreMed. We discuss several examples involving the high-jump, baseball, hydrostatic pressure, and swimming [buoyancy]. We find that applications from biology and medicine provide a source of context-rich problems for algebra-based introductory physics.

  6. Correlations of Students' Grades, Expectations, Epistemological Beliefs and Demographics in a Problem-Based Introductory Physics Course

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Sahin, Mehmet

    2009-01-01

    The purpose of this study was to determine the predictors of student grades in introductory physics courses utilizing problem-based learning (PBL) approach and traditional lecturing. The study employed correlational/predictive methods to investigate and describe/explain relationships of students' physics grades with their expectations, attitudes,…

  7. Relationships between Undergraduates' Argumentation Skills, Conceptual Quality of Problem Solutions, and Problem Solving Strategies in Introductory Physics

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Rebello, Carina M.

    2012-01-01

    This study explored the effects of alternative forms of argumentation on undergraduates' physics solutions in introductory calculus-based physics. A two-phase concurrent mixed methods design was employed to investigate relationships between undergraduates' written argumentation abilities, conceptual quality of problem solutions, as well…

  8. Assessing Student Expertise in Introductory Physics with Isomorphic Problems. II. Effect of Some Potential Factors on Problem Solving and Transfer

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Chandralekha; Singh

    2008-01-01

    In this paper, we explore the use of isomorphic problem pairs (IPPs) to assess introductory physics students' ability to solve and successfully transfer problem-solving knowledge from one context to another in mechanics. We call the paired problems "isomorphic" because they require the same physics principle to solve them. We analyze written…

  9. Evaluating Introductory Physics Classes in Light of the ABET Criteria: An Example from the SCALE-UP Project.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Saul, Jeffery M.; Deardorff, Duane L.; Abbott, David S.; Allain, Rhett J.; Beichner, Robert J.

    The Student-Centered Activities for Large Enrollment University Physics (SCALE-UP) project at North Carolina State University (NCSU) is developing a curriculum to promote learning through in-class group activities in introductory physics classes up to 100 students. The authors are currently in Phase II of the project using a specially designed…

  10. How Clinical Instructors Can Enhance the Learning Experience of Physical Therapy Students in an Introductory Clinical Placement

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Cole, Beverley; Wessel, Jean

    2008-01-01

    Purpose: There is little understanding of how physical therapy students are influenced by clinical instructors (CIs) particularly at the outset of their clinical learning. The purpose of this study was to evaluate physical therapy students' perceptions of their learning experiences during an introductory clinical placement. Methods: Subjects were…

  11. Using a dual safeguard web-based interactive teaching approach in an introductory physics class

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Li, Lie-Ming; Li, Bin; Luo, Ying

    2015-06-01

    We modified the Just-in-Time Teaching approach and developed a dual safeguard web-based interactive (DGWI) teaching system for an introductory physics course. The system consists of four instructional components that improve student learning by including warm-up assignments and online homework. Student and instructor activities involve activities both in the classroom and on a designated web site. An experimental study with control groups evaluated the effectiveness of the DGWI teaching method. The results indicate that the DGWI method is an effective way to improve students' understanding of physics concepts, develop students' problem-solving abilities through instructor-student interactions, and identify students' misconceptions through a safeguard framework based on questions that satisfy teaching requirements and cover all of the course material. The empirical study and a follow-up survey found that the DGWI method increased student-teacher interaction and improved student learning outcomes.

  12. Social network analysis of a project-based introductory physics course

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Oakley, Christopher

    2016-03-01

    Research suggests that students benefit from peer interaction and active engagement in the classroom. The quality, nature, effect of these interactions is currently being explored by Physics Education Researchers. Spelman College offers an introductory physics sequence that addresses content and research skills by engaging students in open-ended research projects, a form of Project-Based Learning. Students have been surveyed at regular intervals during the second semester of trigonometry-based course to determine the frequency of interactions in and out of class. These interactions can be with current or past students, tutors, and instructors. This line of inquiry focuses on metrics of Social Network analysis, such as centrality of participants as well as segmentation of groups. Further research will refine and highlight deeper questions regarding student performance in this pedagogy and course sequence.

  13. Student performance in computer modeling and problem solving in a modern introductory physics course

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kohlmyer, Matthew Adam

    Matter & Interactions, an innovative introductory physics curriculum developed by Ruth Chabay and Bruce Sherwood, emphasizes computer modeling and fundamental physical principles. Two think-aloud protocol studies were conducted to investigate the performance of students from this curriculum in solving physics problems that require computer modeling. Experiment 1 examined whether Matter & Interactions students would, given the choice, use computer modeling to solve difficult problems that required predicting motion, and how their solution approaches differed from those of students from a traditional introductory physics course. Though they did not overwhelmingly choose computer modeling, some M&I students did write computer models successfully or apply the iterative algorithm by hand. The solution approaches of M&I students and traditional course students differed qualitatively in their use of the momentum principle and pre-derived special case formulas. In experiment 2, Matter & Interactions students were observed while they wrote programs in the VPython language in order to examine their difficulties with computer modeling. Areas of difficulty included determining initial conditions, distinguishing between simulated time and the time step, and updating momentum and position. Especially troublesome for students was the multistep procedure for calculating a force that changes with time. Students' understanding of the structure of a computer model improved by the end of the semester as shown by their performance on a line sorting task. Students with fewer difficulties proceeded through the computer model in a more linear, straightforward fashion. Instruction was revised based on initial findings from the first phase of the experiment. Students in the second phase of the experiment, who had used the revised instruction, had fewer difficulties on the same tasks, though other factors may have been involved in the improvement.

  14. From Random Walks to Brownian Motion, from Diffusion to Entropy: Statistical Principles in Introductory Physics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Reeves, Mark

    2014-03-01

    Entropy changes underlie the physics that dominates biological interactions. Indeed, introductory biology courses often begin with an exploration of the qualities of water that are important to living systems. However, one idea that is not explicitly addressed in most introductory physics or biology textbooks is dominant contribution of the entropy in driving important biological processes towards equilibrium. From diffusion to cell-membrane formation, to electrostatic binding in protein folding, to the functioning of nerve cells, entropic effects often act to counterbalance deterministic forces such as electrostatic attraction and in so doing, allow for effective molecular signaling. A small group of biology, biophysics and computer science faculty have worked together for the past five years to develop curricular modules (based on SCALEUP pedagogy) that enable students to create models of stochastic and deterministic processes. Our students are first-year engineering and science students in the calculus-based physics course and they are not expected to know biology beyond the high-school level. In our class, they learn to reduce seemingly complex biological processes and structures to be described by tractable models that include deterministic processes and simple probabilistic inference. The students test these models in simulations and in laboratory experiments that are biologically relevant. The students are challenged to bridge the gap between statistical parameterization of their data (mean and standard deviation) and simple model-building by inference. This allows the students to quantitatively describe realistic cellular processes such as diffusion, ionic transport, and ligand-receptor binding. Moreover, the students confront ``random'' forces and traditional forces in problems, simulations, and in laboratory exploration throughout the year-long course as they move from traditional kinematics through thermodynamics to electrostatic interactions. This talk

  15. Comparing and contrasting different methods for probing student epistemology and epistemological development in introductory physics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McCaskey, Timothy L.

    In this dissertation, I perform and compare three different studies of introductory physics students' epistemological views -- their views about the nature of knowledge and how it is learned. Physics education research (PER) shows that epistemological views affect how students learn, so they are important to understand and diagnose. The first study uses a Likert-scale instrument, adapted from the Maryland Physics Expectation Survey, designed to assess to what extent students see physics knowledge as coherent (rather than piecemeal), conceptual (rather than just formulas), and constructed (rather than absorbed). Using this survey, I documented several results, including that (i) a large lecture class can produce favorable changes in students' epistemological views, at least in the context of the class, and (ii) teaching a rushed modern physics unit at the end of an introductory sequence can lead to negative epistemological effects. The second study uses the Force Concept Inventory with modified instructions: students indicated both the answer they think a scientist would give and the answer that makes the most sense to them personally. A "split" between these two answers shows that the student does not think she has reconciled her common sense with the formal physics concepts. This study showed that attention to reconciliation in a course allows students to see initially-counterintuitive ideas as making sense. Finally, I did a detailed study of one student by (i) watching video of her in tutorial, where she and three other students answered a structured series of conceptual and quantitative physics questions, (ii) formulating interviews based largely on what I observed in the video, and (iii) interviewing her while the tutorial was still fresh in her head. I repeated this cycle every week for a semester. I found that her tendency to focus on the multiple and ambiguous meanings of words like "force" hampered her ability to reconcile physics concepts with common sense

  16. Teaching quantum interpretations: Revisiting the goals and practices of introductory quantum physics courses

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Baily, Charles; Finkelstein, Noah D.

    2015-12-01

    [This paper is part of the Focused Collection on Upper Division Physics Courses.] Most introductory quantum physics instructors would agree that transitioning students from classical to quantum thinking is an important learning goal, but may disagree on whether or how this can be accomplished. Although (and perhaps because) physicists have long debated the physical interpretation of quantum theory, many instructors choose to avoid emphasizing interpretive themes; or they discuss the views of scientists in their classrooms, but do not adequately attend to student interpretations. In this synthesis and extension of prior work, we demonstrate the following: (i) instructors vary in their approaches to teaching interpretive themes; (ii) different instructional approaches have differential impacts on student thinking; and (iii) when student interpretations go unattended, they often develop their own (sometimes scientifically undesirable) views. We introduce here a new modern physics curriculum that explicitly attends to student interpretations, and provide evidence-based arguments that doing so helps them to develop more consistent interpretations of quantum phenomena, more sophisticated views of uncertainty, and greater interest in quantum physics.

  17. Interdisciplinary reasoning about energy in an introductory physics course for the life sciences

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dreyfus, Benjamin William

    Energy is a unifying concept that cuts across physics, chemistry, and biology. However, students who study all three disciplines can end up with a fragmented understanding of energy. This dissertation sits at the intersection of two active areas of current research: the teaching and learning of energy, and interdisciplinary science education (particularly the intersection of physics and biology). The context for this research is an introductory physics course for undergraduate life sciences majors that is reformed to build stronger interdisciplinary connections between physics, biology, and chemistry. An approach to energy that incorporates chemical bonds and chemical reactions is better equipped to meet the needs of life sciences students than a traditional introductory physics approach that focuses primarily on mechanical energy, and so we present a curricular thread for chemical energy in the physics course. Our first set of case studies examines student reasoning about ATP hydrolysis, a biochemically significant reaction that powers various processes in the cell. We observe students expressing both that an energy input is required to break a chemical bond (which they associate with physics) and that energy is released when the phosphate bond is broken in ATP (which they associate with biology). We use these case studies to articulate a model of interdisciplinary reconciliation: building coherent connections between concepts from different disciplines while understanding each concept in its own disciplinary context and justifying the modeling choices in deciding when to use each disciplinary model. Our second study looks at ontological metaphors for energy: metaphors about what kind of thing energy is. Two ontological metaphors for energy that have previously been documented include energy as a substance and energy as a location. We argue for the use of negative energy in modeling chemical energy in an interdisciplinary context, and for the use of a blended

  18. Investigating the effectiveness of the tutorials in introductory physics in multiple instructional settings

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Slezak, C.; Koenig, K. M.; Endorf, R. J.; Braun, G. A.

    2011-12-01

    This paper examines the educational impact of the implementation of the tutorial activity “Changes in Energy and Momentum” from The Tutorials in Introductory Physics in five different instructional settings. These settings include (1) a completely computer-based learning environment and (2) use of cooperative learning groups with varying levels of instructor support. Pre- and post-tests provide evidence that a computer-based implementation falls significantly short of classroom implementations which involve both collaborative learning groups and interactions with a teaching assistance. Other findings provide insight into the importance of certain elements of instructor training and the appropriate use of the tutorial as an initial introduction to a new concept.

  19. Developing, deploying, and analyzing exam wrappers in a large introductory physics class

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Greco, Edwin

    2012-03-01

    In a typical semester, approximately 2000 students are registered into a calculus based introductory physics course at Georgia Tech. In each course, approximately 75 percent of a student's final grade is based on exam performance. Our goal was to encourage students into the feedback cycle of self-regulated learning by asking them to complete exam wrappers; post examination assignments that ask student to reflect on their study habits and errors made during an exam. We cluster students into groups based on how they partitioned their study time. We analyze exam and overall course performance for each group. In addition, we compare the performance of students who completed exam wrappers with those that did not. We find that exam wrappers are useful tool for both the instructor and student.

  20. Computer problem-solving coaches for introductory physics: Design and usability studies

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ryan, Qing X.; Frodermann, Evan; Heller, Kenneth; Hsu, Leonardo; Mason, Andrew

    2016-06-01

    The combination of modern computing power, the interactivity of web applications, and the flexibility of object-oriented programming may finally be sufficient to create computer coaches that can help students develop metacognitive problem-solving skills, an important competence in our rapidly changing technological society. However, no matter how effective such coaches might be, they will only be useful if they are attractive to students. We describe the design and testing of a set of web-based computer programs that act as personal coaches to students while they practice solving problems from introductory physics. The coaches are designed to supplement regular human instruction, giving students access to effective forms of practice outside class. We present results from large-scale usability tests of the computer coaches and discuss their implications for future versions of the coaches.

  1. Promoting and Studying Deep-Level Discourse During Large-Lecture Introductory Physics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Li, Sissi; Demaree, Dedra

    2010-10-01

    At Oregon State University, the introductory calculus-based physics sequence utilizes social engagement as a learning tool. The reformed curriculum is modeled after the Interactive Science Learning Environment from Rutgers University, and makes use of Peer Instruction as a pedagogical tool to facilitate interactions. Over the past two years we have utilized a number of techniques to understand how to facilitate activities that promote productive discussion within the large lecture classroom. We specifically seek student discussion that goes beyond agreement on conceptual questions, encouraging deeper discussions such as what assumptions are appropriate, or how different assumptions would change the chosen answer to a given question. We have quantitative analysis of engagement based on video data, qualitative analysis of dialogue from audio data, and classroom observations by an external researcher. In this paper we share a subset of what we have learned about how to engage students in deep-level discussions during lecture.

  2. Preliminary investigation of instructor effects on gender gap in introductory physics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kreutzer, Kimberley; Boudreaux, Andrew

    2012-06-01

    Gender differences in student learning in the introductory, calculus-based electricity and magnetism course were assessed by administering the Conceptual Survey of Electricity and Magnetism pre- and postcourse. As expected, male students outgained females in traditionally taught sections as well as sections that incorporated interactive engagement (IE) techniques. In two of the IE course sections, however, the gains of female students were comparable to those of male students. Classroom observations of the course sections involved were made over an extended period. In this paper, we characterize the observed instructor-student interactions using a framework from educational psychology referred to as wise schooling. Results suggest that instructor practices affect differential learning, and that wise schooling techniques may constitute an effective strategy for promoting gender equity in the physics classroom.

  3. Coupling Conceptual and Quantitative Problems to Develop Expertise in Introductory Physics Students

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Singh, Chandralekha

    2008-10-01

    We discuss the effect of administering conceptual and quantitative isomorphic problem pairs (CQIPP) back to back vs. asking students to solve only one of the problems in the CQIPP in introductory physics courses. Students who answered both questions in a CQIPP often performed better on the conceptual questions than those who answered the corresponding conceptual questions only. Although students often took advantage of the quantitative counterpart to answer a conceptual question of a CQIPP correctly, when only given the conceptual question, students seldom tried to convert it into a quantitative question, solve it and then reason about the solution conceptually. Even in individual interviews, when students who were only given conceptual questions had difficulty and the interviewer explicitly encouraged them to convert the conceptual question into the corresponding quantitative problem by choosing appropriate variables, a majority of students were reluctant and preferred to guess the answer to the conceptual question based upon their gut feeling.

  4. Assessing gender differences in response system questions for an introductory physics course

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Richardson, Chris T.; O'Shea, Brian W.

    2013-03-01

    In this work, we investigate whether gender differences are present in the iClicker student response system during introductory physics lectures in an engaged environment. We find that men and women are equally likely to respond to questions correctly and in the same amount of time. We also find that both genders make use of multiple responses in the same timescale, however, the average number of responses for a given question is significantly higher for men than women. Upon analyzing these responses, we also find men are slightly more likely than women to change their response, while the response base station is open. Both genders benefit from peer instruction by answering more quickly and correctly. The connection between previously documented timescale differences, differences in ungraded responses, and their implications for the classroom environment are discussed.

  5. Landing spacecraft on Mars and other planets: An opportunity to apply introductory physics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Withers, Paul

    2013-08-01

    The Curiosity rover safely landed on Mars after "seven minutes of terror" passing through the Martian atmosphere. In order to land safely, Curiosity had to decelerate from speeds of several kilometers per second and reach zero speed exactly upon touching down on the surface. This was accomplished by a combination of atmospheric drag on the enclosed spacecraft during the initial hypersonic entry, deployment of a large parachute, and retrorockets. Here, we use the familiar concepts of introductory physics to explain why all three of these factors were necessary to ensure a safe landing. In particular, we analyze the initial deceleration of a spacecraft at high altitudes, its impact speed if a parachute is not used, its impact speed if a parachute is used, and the duration of its descent on a parachute, using examples from Curiosity and other missions.

  6. Using the tutorial approach to improve physics learning from introductory to graduate level

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    DeVore, Seth

    In this thesis, I discuss the development and evaluation of tutorials ranging from introductory to graduate level. Tutorials were developed based upon research on student difficulties in learning relevant concepts and findings of cognitive research. Tutorials are a valuable resource when used either in-class or as a self-study tool. They strive to help students develop a robust knowledge structure of relevant topics and improve their problem solving skills. I discuss the development of a tutorial on the Lock-in amplifier (LIA) for use as both an on-ramp to ease the transition of students entering into the research lab and to improve student understanding of the operation of the LIA for those already making use of this device. The effectiveness of this tutorial was evaluated using think aloud interviews with graduate students possessing a wide range of experience with the LIA and the findings were uniformly positive. I also describe the development and evaluation of a Quantum Interactive Learning Tutorial (QuILT) that focuses on quantum key distribution using two protocols for secure key distribution. One protocol used in the first part of the QuILT is administered to students working collaboratively in class while the second protocol used in the second part of the QuILT was administered as homework. Evaluation of student understanding of the two protocols used in this QuILT shows that it was effective at improving student understanding both immediately after working on the QuILT and two months later. Finally, I discuss the development and evaluation of four web-based tutorials focusing on quantitative problem solving intended to aid introductory students in the learning of effective problem-solving heuristics while helping them learn physics concepts. Findings suggest that while these tutorials are effective when administered in one-on-one think-aloud interviews, this effectiveness is greatly diminished when students are asked to use the tutorials as a self

  7. Interactive-Engagement vs. Traditional Methods: A Six-Thousand-Student Survey of Mechanics Test Data for Introductory Physics Courses.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Hake, Richard R.

    A survey of pre/post test data using the Halloun-Hestenes Mechanics Diagnostic test or more recent Force Concept Inventory is reported for 62 introductory physics courses enrolling a total number of students N=6542. A consistent analysis over diverse student populations in high schools, colleges, and universities is obtained if a rough measure of…

  8. An Exciting Experiment for Pre-Engineering and Introductory Physics Students: Creating a DC Motor Using the Lorentz Force

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Abdul-Razzaq, Wathiq N.; Boehm, Manfred H.; Bushey, Ryan K.

    2008-01-01

    Introductory physics laboratories have been demonstrated in some instances to be difficult or uninteresting to students at the collegiate level. We have developed a laboratory that introduces the concept of the Lorentz force and allows students to build a non-traditional DC motor out of easily acquired materials. Basic electricity and magnetism…

  9. Energy and Matter: Differences in Discourse in Physical and Biological Sciences Can Be Confusing for Introductory Biology Students

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Hartley, Laurel M.; Momsen, Jennifer; Maskiewicz, April; D'Avanzo, Charlene

    2012-01-01

    Biology majors often take introductory biology, chemistry, and physics courses during their first two years of college. The various and sometimes conflicting discourse about and explanations of matter and energy in these courses may contribute to confusion and alternative conceptions (those that differ from scientific consensus) in biology…

  10. A Study of Motivation and Other Factors as Relating to Course Achievement in Introductory College Biology, Chemistry, and Physics.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Pridmore, Brooke M.; Halyard, Rebecca A.

    Results of a preliminary study that examined various factors relating to achievement in introductory level biology, chemistry, and physics classes at a public junior college are presented. Background variables, including age, sex, college major, grade point average, SAT-Verbal and SAT-Quantitative, and the sixteen-part scores of Academic…

  11. Making Sense of Confusion: Relating Performance, Confidence, and Self-Efficacy to Expressions of Confusion in an Introductory Physics Class

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Dowd, Jason E.; Araujo, Ives; Mazur, Eric

    2015-01-01

    Although confusion is generally perceived to be negative, educators dating as far back as Socrates, who asked students to question assumptions and wrestle with ideas, have challenged this notion. Can confusion be productive? How should instructors interpret student expressions of confusion? During two semesters of introductory physics that…

  12. Illustrations and Supporting Texts for Sound Standing Waves of Air Columns in Pipes in Introductory Physics Textbooks

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Zeng, Liang; Smith, Chris; Poelzer, G. Herold; Rodriguez, Jennifer; Corpuz, Edgar; Yanev, George

    2014-01-01

    In our pilot studies, we found that many introductory physics textbook illustrations with supporting text for sound standing waves of air columns in open-open, open-closed, and closed-closed pipes inhibit student understanding of sound standing wave phenomena due to student misunderstanding of how air molecules move within these pipes. Based on…

  13. Development and Calibration of a Concept Inventory to Measure Introductory College Astronomy and Physics Students' Understanding of Newtonian Gravity

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Williamson, Kathryn Elizabeth

    2013-01-01

    The topic of Newtonian gravity offers a unique vantage point from which to investigate and encourage conceptual change because it is something with which everyone has daily experience, and because it is taught in two courses that reach a wide variety of students--introductory-level college astronomy ("Astro 101") and physics ("Phys…

  14. Conceptual Mobility and Entrenchment in Introductory Geoscience Courses: New Questions Regarding Physics' and Chemistry's Role in Learning Earth Science Concepts

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Anderson, Steven W.; Libarkin, Julie C.

    2016-01-01

    Nationwide pre- and posttesting of introductory courses with the Geoscience Concept Inventory (GCI) shows little gain for many of its questions. Analysis of more than 3,500 tests shows that 22 of the 73 GCI questions had gains of <0.03, and nearly half of these focused on basic physics and chemistry. We also discovered through an assessment of…

  15. Assessing student written problem solutions: A problem-solving rubric with application to introductory physics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Docktor, Jennifer L.; Dornfeld, Jay; Frodermann, Evan; Heller, Kenneth; Hsu, Leonardo; Jackson, Koblar Alan; Mason, Andrew; Ryan, Qing X.; Yang, Jie

    2016-06-01

    Problem solving is a complex process valuable in everyday life and crucial for learning in the STEM fields. To support the development of problem-solving skills it is important for researchers and curriculum developers to have practical tools that can measure the difference between novice and expert problem-solving performance in authentic classroom work. It is also useful if such tools can be employed by instructors to guide their pedagogy. We describe the design, development, and testing of a simple rubric to assess written solutions to problems given in undergraduate introductory physics courses. In particular, we present evidence for the validity, reliability, and utility of the instrument. The rubric identifies five general problem-solving processes and defines the criteria to attain a score in each: organizing problem information into a Useful Description, selecting appropriate principles (Physics Approach), applying those principles to the specific conditions in the problem (Specific Application of Physics), using Mathematical Procedures appropriately, and displaying evidence of an organized reasoning pattern (Logical Progression).

  16. Automated analysis of short responses in an interactive synthetic tutoring system for introductory physics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nakamura, Christopher M.; Murphy, Sytil K.; Christel, Michael G.; Stevens, Scott M.; Zollman, Dean A.

    2016-06-01

    Computer-automated assessment of students' text responses to short-answer questions represents an important enabling technology for online learning environments. We have investigated the use of machine learning to train computer models capable of automatically classifying short-answer responses and assessed the results. Our investigations are part of a project to develop and test an interactive learning environment designed to help students learn introductory physics concepts. The system is designed around an interactive video tutoring interface. We have analyzed 9 with about 150 responses or less. We observe for 4 of the 9 automated assessment with interrater agreement of 70% or better with the human rater. This level of agreement may represent a baseline for practical utility in instruction and indicates that the method warrants further investigation for use in this type of application. Our results also suggest strategies that may be useful for writing activities and questions that are more appropriate for automated assessment. These strategies include building activities that have relatively few conceptually distinct ways of perceiving the physical behavior of relatively few physical objects. Further success in this direction may allow us to promote interactivity and better provide feedback in online learning systems. These capabilities could enable our system to function more like a real tutor.

  17. Using Video Analysis and Biomechanics to Engage Life Science Majors in Introductory Physics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stephens, Jeff

    There is an interest in Introductory Physics for the Life Sciences (IPLS) as a way to better engage students in what may be their only physical science course. In this talk I will present some low cost and readily available technologies for video analysis and how they have been implemented in classes and in student research projects. The technologies include software like Tracker and LoggerPro for video analysis and low cost high speed cameras for capturing real world events. The focus of the talk will be on content created by students including two biomechanics research projects performed over the summer by pre-physical therapy majors. One project involved assessing medial knee displacement (MKD), a situation where the subject's knee becomes misaligned during a squatting motion and is a contributing factor in ACL and other knee injuries. The other project looks at the difference in landing forces experienced by gymnasts and cheer-leaders while performing on foam mats versus spring floors. The goal of this talk is to demonstrate how easy it can be to engage life science majors through the use of video analysis and topics like biomechanics and encourage others to try it for themselves.

  18. Reducing gender differences in performance in introductory college physics through values affirmation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kost-Smith, Lauren

    2011-04-01

    Despite males and females being equally represented at the college level in several STEM disciplines (including biology, chemistry and mathematics), females continue to be under-represented in physics. Our research documents and addresses this participation gender gap in the introductory, calculus-based physics courses at the University of Colorado. We characterize gender differences in performance, psychological factors (including attitudes and beliefs) and retention that exist in Physics 1 and 2 [L. E. Kost, et al., Phys. Rev. ST Phys. Educ. Res. 5, 010101 (2009); L. E. Kost-Smith, et al., Phys. Rev. ST Phys. Educ. Res. 6, 020112 (2010)]. We find that the gender differences in performance can largely be accounted for by measurable differences in the physics and mathematics backgrounds and incoming attitudes and beliefs of males and females. But these background factors do not completely account for the gender gaps. We hypothesize, based on gender differences in responses to survey questions about students' sense of physics identity and confidence levels, that identity threat (the fear of confirming a negative characterization about one's identity) is playing a role in our courses. Working with researchers in psychology, we implemented an intervention where students either wrote about their most important values or not, twice at the beginning of the course [A. Miyake, et al., Science, 330, 1234 (2010)]. This ``values affirmation'' activity reduced the male-female performance difference substantially and elevated women's modal grades from the C to B range. Benefits were strongest for women who tended to endorse the stereotype that men do better than women in physics. This brief psychological intervention may be a promising way to address the gender gap in science performance.

  19. Introductory Physics Laboratories for Life Scientists - Hands on Physics of Complex Systems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Losert, Wolfgang; Moore, Kim

    2015-03-01

    We have developed a set of laboratories and hands on activities to accompany a new two-semester interdisciplinary physics course that has been successfully implemented as the required physics course for premeds at the University of Maryland. The laboratories include significant content on physics relevant to cellular scales, from chemical interactions to random motion and charge screening in fluids. We also introduce the students to research-grade equipment and modern physics analysis tools in contexts relevant to biology, while maintaining the pedagogically valuable open-ended laboratory structure of reformed laboratories.

  20. The effect of research-based instruction in introductory physics on a common cognitive bias

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Galloway, Ross K.; Bates, Simon P.; Parker, Jonathan; Usoskina, Evguenia

    2013-01-01

    Inspired by a paper at last year's PERC conference, in which Rebello [1] compared students' individual and cohort mean score estimations with their actual assessment scores, we present results of a study in which students in an introductory physics class were asked to predict their scores on two assessments, one delivered at the start of the course (pre-instruction) and one at the end of the course (post-instruction). Our results show that, pre-instruction, the academically strongest students tend to underestimate their score slightly, whereas the weakest overestimate their performance significantly, consistent with the findings of Rebello and demonstrating a well-known cognitive bias (the Dunning-Kruger effect). Post-instruction, we find that the ability of the original weakest quartile cohort to accurately predict their own assessment score has improved significantly, but a flux of students between quartiles from one assessment to the other reveals that the least able students continue to over-estimate their performance, but with a reduced mean discrepancy. We discuss the implications these results have for instruction and for development of enhanced metacognition amongst physics students.

  1. Measuring the impact of an instructional laboratory on the learning of introductory physics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wieman, Carl; Holmes, N. G.

    2015-11-01

    We have analyzed the impact of taking an associated lab course on the final exam scores in two large introductory physics courses. Performance between students who did and did not take the lab course was compared using final exam questions from the associated courses that related to concepts from the lab courses. The population of students who took the lab in each case was somewhat different from those who did not enroll in the lab course in terms of background and major. Those differences were taken into account by normalizing their performance on the lab-related questions with scores on the exam questions that did not involve material covered in the lab. The average benefit on lab-related questions for students who took the lab, in both courses, was within 0.6% of the score of students who did not, with an uncertainty of less than 2%. This result raises questions as to the effectiveness of labs at supporting mastery of physics content.

  2. Probing Student Online Discussion Behavior with a Course Blog in Introductory Physics

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    Duda, Gintaras; Garrett, Katherine

    2008-10-01

    Since fall of 2005 a course blog has been used in introductory physics courses at Creighton University to discuss real-world applications of physics and engage students in discussion and thinking outside of class. Specifically, the blog was created to address elements of the "hidden curriculum" that are difficult to cover in class, and a previous work showed that students who posted to and read the blog did not suffer a deterioration in attitude/expectations as seen elsewhere using the MPEX or CLASS instrument. Here we analyze the content of student posts to the blog along several dimensions: student interactivity, the introduction of new knowledge, application of knowledge to real-life situations or other disciplines, self-disclosure of prior knowledge, and fascination/interest. Students' online discussion behavior is analyzed and compared to results on the FMCE (The Force and Motion Conceptual Evaluation) to determine if certain types of discussion behavior are correlated with student learning. We also present several interesting gender differences in students' online discussion behaviors.

  3. Implementing Interactive Lecture Experiments in Large Introductory Physics Courses (Part I)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Moll, Rachel; Milner-Bolotin, M. M.; McPhee, K.; Zhdanovich, S.; Kotlicki, A.; Rieger, G.; Bates, F.

    2006-12-01

    This presentation describes a pedagogical approach, Interactive Lecture Experiments (ILE), which builds on Interactive Lecture Demonstrations proposed by Sokoloff and Thornton (2004) and extends it by providing students with the opportunity to analyze experiments demonstrated in the lecture outside of the classroom and report the result of their analysis suing Peer Response System during the following lecture. Real time experimental data is collected, using Logger Pro technology combined with digital video recording. Then the data is uploaded to the Internet and made available to the students for further analysis. Student understanding of the experiment is assessed in the following lecture using clickers and conceptual questions. The goal of this project is to use ILE activities to make large lectures more interactive and to promote student interest in science, critical thinking and data analysis skills. Sokoloff, D.R. and R.K. Thornton (2004). Interactive Lecture Demonstrations: Active Learning in Introductory Physics, John Wiley and Sons, INC. Interactive Lecture Experiments at the University of British Columbia: http://www.physics.ubc.ca/ year1lab/p100/LectureLabs/lectureLabs.html

  4. Use of camera drive in stereoscopic display of learning contents of introductory physics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Matsuura, Shu

    2011-03-01

    Simple 3D physics simulations with stereoscopic display were created for a part of introductory physics e-Learning. First, cameras to see the 3D world can be made controllable by the user. This enabled to observe the system and motions of objects from any position in the 3D world. Second, cameras were made attachable to one of the moving object in the simulation so as to observe the relative motion of other objects. By this option, it was found that users perceive the velocity and acceleration more sensibly on stereoscopic display than on non-stereoscopic 3D display. Simulations were made using Adobe Flash ActionScript, and Papervison 3D library was used to render the 3D models in the flash web pages. To display the stereogram, two viewports from virtual cameras were displayed in parallel in the same web page. For observation of stereogram, the images of two viewports were superimposed by using 3D stereogram projection box (T&TS CO., LTD.), and projected on an 80-inch screen. The virtual cameras were controlled by keyboard and also by Nintendo Wii remote controller buttons. In conclusion, stereoscopic display offers learners more opportunities to play with the simulated models, and to perceive the characteristics of motion better.

  5. Correlation Study of Physics Achievement, Learning Strategy, Attitude and Gender in an Introductory Physics Course

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Sezgin Selcuk, Gamze

    2010-01-01

    This study investigates the relationship between multiple predictors of physics achievement including reported use of four learning strategy clusters (elaboration, organization, comprehension monitoring and rehearsal), attitudes towards physics (sense of care and sense of interest) and a demographic variable (gender) in order to determine the…

  6. Student Understanding of Probability and Introductory Statistical Physics in Upper-division Courses on Thermal Physics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Loverude, Michael E.

    2006-12-01

    This talk describes part of an ongoing investigation of student learning in the context of upper-division courses in thermal physics. In particular, we will examine student understanding of the fundamental concepts of statistical physics, and the underlying mathematics of probability. Our results suggest that students lack a deep understanding of the statistics of binary systems like coin flips, calling into question their ability to apply these results to simple physical systems. We will provide examples of student responses and written explanations and discuss implications for instruction.

  7. A comparison of pre and post FCI results for innovative and traditional introductory calculus-based physics classes *

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Saul, Jeff; Redish, Edward F.

    1999-11-01

    As part of an evaluation of implementations of three research-based introductory physics curricula at the schools that developed them and at schools that adopted the curricula, pre/post Force Concept Inventory (FCI) [1] data was collected and analyzed from over 2000 matched students at eight undergraduate institutions. In particular, we looked at the Hake factor[2] (the fraction of the possible gain) for both the overall FCI and for questions explicitly addressing Newton's third law for each of the four curricula. We found that the average fractional gains for classes taught with Washington Tutorials [3] (35error), Minnesota Group Problem Solving [4] (34Workshop Physics [5] (41than those for traditional lecture classes (16Similar results were found for the Newton's third law cluster. 1 D. Hestenes, M. Wells, and G. Swackhammer, "Force Concept Inventory," Phys. Teach. 30 (3), 141-159 (1991). 2 R.R. Hake, "Interactive-engagement versus traditional methods: A six-thousand student survey of mechanics test data for introductory physics courses," Am. J. Phys. 66 (1), 64-74 (1998). 3 L.C. McDermott and P. S. Shaffer, Tutorials in Introductory Physics (Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River NJ, 1997). 4 P. Heller, T. Foster, and K Heller, in AIP Conf. Proc. 399, 913-934 (AIP Press, Sunnyvale NY, 1997). 5 P. Laws, Workshop Physics Activity Guide (John Wiley and Sons, New York, 1997).

  8. Scaffolded problem-solving, learning approaches and understanding of concepts in an introductory college physics class

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Haack, Constance

    This study was an exploration of students' use of scaffolded problems as part of their homework in an introductory calculus-based physics class. The study included consideration of the possible relationship of students' meaningful and rote learning approaches. The sample was comprised of 48 students who had completed all study instruments. Of this number, 23 did homework assignments that included scaffolded problems that had been divided into multiple steps that simplify, highlight, and organize the knowledge associated with the problem solving process. The other 25 students did non-scaffolded homework assignments. The Mechanics Baseline Test, given at the beginning of the study, measured students' prior knowledge of physics concepts. The Learning Approach Questionnaire, also given at the beginning of the study, measured students' meaningful and rote approaches to learning. Student responses to 6 qualitative physics problems and their selection of concepts associated with 4 quantitative physics problems was a gauge of their understanding of physics concepts. These 10 problems were distributed between 2 classroom examinations given during the study. At the end of the study 4 students who had done scaffolded homework problems and 4 students who had done non-scaffolded homework problems participated in think aloud protocols. They verbalized their thoughts as they attempted to solve 2 physics problems. Characterizations of individual problem solving approaches emerged from the think aloud protocols. An analysis of statistical data showed that students who did scaffolded problems attained significantly greater understanding of physics concepts than students who did non-scaffolded assignments. There were no significant differences by learning approaches, and no significant interactions. This indicates that scaffolded homework problems may benefit students regardless of learning orientation. Think aloud protocols revealed patterns of difference between students who had

  9. Impact of simulator-based instruction on diagramming in geometrical optics by introductory physics students

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Reiner, Miriam; Pea, Roy D.; Shulman, Daniel J.

    1995-09-01

    We examine the conceptual development resulting from an instructional experiment with an interactive learning environment in geometrical optics for introductory high school physics. How did teaching-learning processes come to change the ways in which students depicted various everyday optical situations in paper and pencil graphical representations? We view conceptual development as a process resulting in part from increasingly aligning one's practices to a target community by means of participating in a community of practice that uses the target concepts. For formal science learning, this participation requires changes in concepts, epistemological attitude, and in the development and use of representational tools, including diagrams and technical language, as a means of communication. Results of our instructional experiment indicated that students went through major conceptual developments as reflected in the diagrams they constructed and supported by other representational tools and as judged in terms of several perspectives: in identifying the formation of shadows and images, in recognizing the eye as a participating factpr in the optical system, and in changing the types of justifications they provided in their optical reasoning from presuppositional to causal.

  10. Analyzing the impact of course structure on electronic textbook use in blended introductory physics courses

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Seaton, Daniel T.; Kortemeyer, Gerd; Bergner, Yoav; Rayyan, Saif; Pritchard, David E.

    2014-12-01

    We investigate how elements of course structure (i.e., the frequency of assessments as well as the sequencing and weight of course resources) influence the usage patterns of electronic textbooks (e-texts) in introductory physics courses. Specifically, we analyze the access logs of courses at Michigan State University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, each of which deploy e-texts as primary or secondary texts in combination with different formative assessments (e.g., embedded reading questions) and different summative assessment (exam) schedules. As such studies are frequently marred by arguments over what constitutes a "meaningful" interaction with a particular page (usually judged by how long the page remains on the screen), we consider a set of different definitions of "meaningful" interactions. We find that course structure has a strong influence on how much of the e-texts students actually read, and when they do so. In particular, courses that deviate strongly from traditional structures, most notably by more frequent exams, show consistently high usage of the materials with far less "cramming" before exams.

  11. Students' pre-knowledge as a guideline in the teaching of introductory thermal physics at university

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Leinonen, Risto; Räsänen, Esa; Asikainen, Mervi; Hirvonen, Pekka E.

    2009-05-01

    This study concentrates on analysing university students' pre-knowledge of thermal physics. The students' understanding of the basic concepts and of the adiabatic compression of an ideal gas was studied at the start of an introductory level course. A total of 48 students participated in a paper-and-pencil test, and analysis of the responses revealed that they had several kinds of problems. They did not differentiate between concepts, confusing in particular the concepts of temperature, internal energy and heat. The students also seemed to have serious problems in applying the first law of thermodynamics: they were frequently more likely to use the ideal gas law rather than the first law, e.g., in the case of adiabatic compression, even though it cannot provide a proper explanation of the phenomenon. More detailed analysis revealed that the underlying reasons for many of the problems detected were based on an inadequate understanding of micro-level models of substance. At the upper secondary level, students have acquired an impression of how particles move, vibrate and interact, but they have not learnt how to apply the ideas and concepts of the micro-models in a scientific manner. All of this means that university teachers need to exercise great care in designing their teaching. Explicit recommendations for teachers to take into account both the findings of this research project and also students' pre-knowledge are presented in the discussion section at the end of this paper.

  12. Assessing The Effectiveness Of A Computer Simulation In Conjunction With Tutorials In Introductory Physics In Undergraduate Physics Recitations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Keller, C. J.; Finkelstein, N. D.; Perkins, K. K.; Pollock, S. J.

    2006-02-01

    We present two studies documenting the effectiveness of the use of a computer simulation with Tutorials in Introductory Physics in a transformed college physics course. An interactive computer simulation, entitled the Circuit Construction Kit (CCK), was introduced to investigate its possible impact on students' conceptual understanding. The first study compared students using either CCK or real laboratory equipment to complete two Tutorials on DC circuits. The second study investigated the impact of the simulation's explicit representation for visualizing current flow by removing this feature for a subset of students. In the first study, students using CCK with Tutorials performed slightly better on measures of conceptual understanding compared to real equipment, as measured by exam performance soon after the intervention. In the second study, students using CCK with and without the explicit visualization of current performed similarly to students using real equipment, though on some specific questions we note significant variation in student performance. We discuss the implications of adding (or removing) such representations within computer simulations.

  13. The Vocabulary of Introductory Physics and Its Implications for Learning Physics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Itza-Ortiz, Salomon F.; Rebello, N. Sanjay; Zollman, Dean A.; Rodriguez-Achach, Manuel

    2003-09-01

    In science new words might be "invented" to name or describe new processes, discoveries, or inventions. However, for the most part, the scientific vocabulary is formed from words we use throughout our lives in everyday language. When we begin studying science we learn new meanings of words we had previously used. Sometimes these new meanings may contradict everyday meanings or seem counterintuitive. We often learn words in association with objects and situations. Due to these associations that students bring to class, they may not interpret the physics meaning correctly. This misinterpretation of language leads students to confusion that is sometimes classified as a misconception.2-6 Research about the semantics used in physics textbooks7-9 and the meaning of words has been done,10-12 but the problem seems to go beyond semantics.8 The linguistic relativity hypothesis, sometimes referred to as the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, says that "we see and hear and otherwise experience very largely as we do because the language habits of our community predispose certain choices of interpretation." An upshot of this hypothesis is that language may not determine thought, but it certainly may influence thought. We have to make students conscious of the fact that though the words may remain the same, their everyday meaning is no longer a figure of speech, but a technical meaning (physics meaning). That is, we need to change the way students may "think" about words. In spite of the close relationship between language and thought, most research does not address the semantics used in physics textbooks7-9 and the meaning of words.10-12 This study, however, will address that relationship.

  14. Relationships between undergraduates' argumentation skills, conceptual quality of problem solutions, and problem solving strategies in introductory physics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rebello, Carina M.

    This study explored the effects of alternative forms of argumentation on undergraduates' physics solutions in introductory calculus-based physics. A two-phase concurrent mixed methods design was employed to investigate relationships between undergraduates' written argumentation abilities, conceptual quality of problem solutions, as well as approaches and strategies for solving argumentative physics problems across multiple physics topics. Participants were assigned via stratified sampling to one of three conditions (control, guided construct, or guided evaluate) based on gender and pre-test scores on a conceptual instrument. The guided construct and guided evaluate groups received tasks and prompts drawn from literature to facilitate argument construction or evaluation. Using a multiple case study design, with each condition serving as a case, interviews were conducted consisting of a think-aloud problem solving session paired with a semi-structured interview. The analysis of problem solving strategies was guided by the theoretical framework on epistemic games adapted by Tuminaro and Redish (2007). This study provides empirical evidence that integration of written argumentation into physics problems can potentially improve the conceptual quality of solutions, expand their repertoire of problem solving strategies and show promise for addressing the gender gap in physics. The study suggests further avenues for research in this area and implications for designing and implementing argumentation tasks in introductory college physics.

  15. A comparative evaluation of teaching methods in an introductory neuroscience course for physical therapy students

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Willett, Gilbert M.

    Background and purpose. Use of computer based instruction (CBI) in physical therapy (P.T.) education is growing. P.T. educators have reported few studies regarding the effectiveness of CBI compared to lecture based instruction, and none have specifically addressed the area of neuroscience. The purpose of this study was to determine whether CBI would be a better alternative than lecture for teaching introductory neuroscience information to first year P.T. students. Subjects. This study was conducted over two years, with 28 participants in 2003 and 34 in 2004. Methods. A randomized, cross-over design was employed for this investigation. The course in which the study took place was divided into two sections with an exam after each. Both sections included 5 one hour lectures (or 5 equivalent CBI modules) and a two hour laboratory experience. Exams consisted of 30 multiple choice questions. Students in one group participated in CBI during the first half of the course and lecture during the second half. The order of participation was reversed for students in the other group. A review exam (60 multiple choice questions) was also taken by participants six months post-participation in the course. Exam scores, study time, course development costs, and student opinions regarding teaching methods were collected after each section of the course and analyzed using quantitative and qualitative methods. Results. There were no statistically significant differences in "within course" or review exam scores between participant groups based on instructional method, however, CBI taught students spent less time studying. Student opinions did not distinguish a major preference for either instruction method. Many students preferred that CBI be used as a complimentary rather than mutually exclusive instructional method. Lecture based instruction was clearly more cost effective than CBI. Conclusion. In this study, lecture based instruction was clearly the better choice of teaching method in

  16. The effect of introducing computers into an introductory physics problem-solving laboratory

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McCullough, Laura Ellen

    2000-10-01

    Computers are appearing in every type of classroom across the country. Yet they often appear without benefit of studying their effects. The research that is available on computer use in classrooms has found mixed results, and often ignores the theoretical and instructional contexts of the computer in the classroom. The University of Minnesota's physics department employs a cooperative-group problem solving pedagogy, based on a cognitive apprenticeship instructional model, in its calculus-based introductory physics course. This study was designed to determine possible negative effects of introducing a computerized data-acquisition and analysis tool into this pedagogy as a problem-solving tool for students to use in laboratory. To determine the effects of the computer tool, two quasi-experimental treatment groups were selected. The computer-tool group (N = 170) used a tool, designed for this study (VideoTool), to collect and analyze motion data in the laboratory. The control group (N = 170) used traditional non-computer equipment (spark tapes and Polaroid(TM) film). The curriculum was kept as similar as possible for the two groups. During the ten week academic quarter, groups were examined for effects on performance on conceptual tests and grades, attitudes towards the laboratory and the laboratory tools, and behaviors within cooperative groups. Possible interactions with gender were also examined. Few differences were found between the control and computer-tool groups. The control group received slightly higher scores on one conceptual test, but this difference was not educationally significant. The computer-tool group had slightly more positive attitudes towards using the computer tool than their counterparts had towards the traditional tools. The computer-tool group also perceived that they spoke more frequently about physics misunderstandings, while the control group felt that they discussed equipment difficulties more often. This perceptual difference interacted

  17. "Web-book modules for teaching nanotechnology in introductory physics, chemistry, and engineering courses"

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Maleki, Seyffie; Hagerman, Michael E.; Kosky, Philip G.

    2004-03-01

    We have developed stand alone web-book modules for teaching an interdisciplinary sophomore-level course titled: "Frontiers of Nanotechnology and Nanomaterials." This course is aimed at science and engineering students and is team-taught by a chemist, a mechanical engineer and a physicist. Our currently developed web-book modules include: Introduction to Nanotechnology; Scaling Laws; Quantum dots, wires, and wells; Characterization tools for nanomaterials; Magnetic nanomaterials and spintronics; Inorganic/organic nanocomposites; and Bionanomaterials. We believe that our modules could be used in other introductory courses on nanotechnology, as well as in traditional introductory science or engineering courses.

  18. Interpreting Assessments of Student Learning in the Introductory Physics Classroom and Laboratory

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dowd, Jason Edward

    Assessment is the primary means of feedback between students and instructors. However, to effectively use assessment, the ability to interpret collected information is essential. We present insights into three unique, important avenues of assessment in the physics classroom and laboratory. First, we examine students' performance on conceptual surveys. The goal of this research project is to better utilize the information collected by instructors when they administer the Force Concept Inventory (FCI) to students as a pre-test and post-test of their conceptual understanding of Newtonian mechanics. We find that ambiguities in the use of the normalized gain, g, may influence comparisons among individual classes. Therefore, we propose using stratagrams, graphical summaries of the fraction of students who exhibit "Newtonian thinking," as a clearer, more informative method of both assessing a single class and comparing performance among classes. Next, we examine students' expressions of confusion when they initially encounter new material. The goal of this research project is to better understand what such confusion actually conveys to instructors about students' performance and engagement. We investigate the relationship between students' self-assessment of their confusion over material and their performance, confidence in reasoning, pre-course self-efficacy and several other measurable characteristics of engagement. We find that students' expressions of confusion are negatively related to initial performance, confidence and self-efficacy, but positively related to final performance when all factors are considered together. Finally, we examine students' exhibition of scientific reasoning abilities in the instructional laboratory. The goal of this research project is to explore two inquiry-based curricula, each of which proposes a different degree of scaffolding. Students engage in sequences of these laboratory activities during one semester of an introductory physics

  19. Towards a model of educational transformation: Documenting the changing educational practices of professors, institutions, and students in introductory physics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Turpen, Chandra Anne

    While research-based curricula and instructional strategies in introductory physics are becoming more widespread, how these strategies are implemented by educators is less well understood. Understanding classroom implementation of these strategies is further complicated by the fact that they are being used beyond the institutions at which they were developed. This thesis examines how educational innovations are taken up, take root, and transform educational practice. Data is analyzed from two case studies in educational change at the University of Colorado: the use of Peer Instruction (PI) and the use of the Tutorials in Introductory Physics. Our research studies on PI establish that (1) professors' actual practices involving the use of PI differ strikingly, thus exposing students to different scientific practices, (2) variations in classroom practices create different classroom norms, and (3) students perceive PI classrooms differently in ways that are associated with corresponding PI implementation. Investigations into the use of the Tutorials in Introductory Physics (Tutorials) reveal that focusing purely on individual faculty members' experiences does not fully capture the complexity of the change processes associated with Tutorials adoption. Although individual faculty members play important roles in the adoption and institutionalization process, other changes occur simultaneously throughout the educational system (i.e. shifts in internal and external funding, as well as expanding partnerships between the physics department, other STEM departments, the School of Education, and other university programs). By examining faculty within the situations that they work, we have found that structural changes in how institutions operate are coupled with changes in how individual faculty members' teach their courses. These findings call into question the common assumption of dissemination approaches that focus solely on individual faculty members' adoption and individual

  20. Incorporating an Introductory Service-Learning Experience in a Physical Geography Course

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Jurmu, Michael

    2015-01-01

    Even as service-learning has become more prevalent in higher education as a high-impact teaching methodology, barriers still exist to its implementation by some instructors. One concern is the perception of these types of activities infringing upon course content. This article outlines an example of an introductory service-learning project for an…

  1. Preliminary Investigation of Instructor Effects on Gender Gap in Introductory Physics

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Kreutzer, Kimberley; Boudreaux, Andrew

    2012-01-01

    Gender differences in student learning in the introductory, calculus-based electricity and magnetism course were assessed by administering the Conceptual Survey of Electricity and Magnetism pre- and postcourse. As expected, male students outgained females in traditionally taught sections as well as sections that incorporated interactive engagement…

  2. A Novel Interdisciplinary Science Experience for Undergraduates across Introductory Biology, Chemistry, and Physics Courses

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Murray, Joelle L.; Atkinson, Elizabeth J. O.; Gilbert, Brian D.; Kruchten, Anne E.

    2014-01-01

    Successfully creating and implementing interdisciplinary curricula in introductory science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) courses is challenging, but doing so is increasingly more important as current problems in science become more interdisciplinary. Opening up the silos between science disciplines and overcoming common…

  3. Three pedagogical approaches to introductory physics labs and their effects on student learning outcomes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chambers, Timothy

    This dissertation presents the results of an experiment that measured the learning outcomes associated with three different pedagogical approaches to introductory physics labs. These three pedagogical approaches presented students with the same apparatus and covered the same physics content, but used different lab manuals to guide students through distinct cognitive processes in conducting their laboratory investigations. We administered post-tests containing multiple-choice conceptual questions and free-response quantitative problems one week after students completed these laboratory investigations. In addition, we collected data from the laboratory practical exam taken by students at the end of the semester. Using these data sets, we compared the learning outcomes for the three curricula in three dimensions of ability: conceptual understanding, quantitative problem-solving skill, and laboratory skills. Our three pedagogical approaches are as follows. Guided labs lead students through their investigations via a combination of Socratic-style questioning and direct instruction, while students record their data and answers to written questions in the manual during the experiment. Traditional labs provide detailed written instructions, which students follow to complete the lab objectives. Open labs provide students with a set of apparatus and a question to be answered, and leave students to devise and execute an experiment to answer the question. In general, we find that students performing Guided labs perform better on some conceptual assessment items, and that students performing Open labs perform significantly better on experimental tasks. Combining a classical test theory analysis of post-test results with in-lab classroom observations allows us to identify individual components of the laboratory manuals and investigations that are likely to have influenced the observed differences in learning outcomes associated with the different pedagogical approaches. Due to

  4. Student Responses to a Flipped Introductory Physics Class with built-in Post-Video Feedback Quizzes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ramos, Roberto

    We present and analyze student responses to multiple Introductory physics classes in a university setting, taught in a ''flipped'' class format. The classes included algebra- and calculus-based introductory physics. Outside class, students viewed over 100 online video lectures on Classical Mechanics, Electricity and Magnetism, and Modern Physics prepared by this author and in some cases, by a third-party lecture package available over YouTube. Inside the class, students solved and discussed problems and conceptual issues in greater detail. A pre-class online quiz was deployed as an important source of feedback. I will report on the student reactions to the feedback mechanism, student responses using data based on anonymous surveys, as well as on learning gains from pre-/post- physics diagnostic tests. The results indicate a broad mixture of responses to different lecture video packages that depend on learning styles and perceptions. Students preferred the online quizzes as a mechanism to validate their understanding. The learning gains based on FCI and CSEM surveys were significant.

  5. Illustrations and supporting texts for sound standing waves of air columns in pipes in introductory physics textbooks

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zeng, Liang; Smith, Chris; Poelzer, G. Herold; Rodriguez, Jennifer; Corpuz, Edgar; Yanev, George

    2014-12-01

    In our pilot studies, we found that many introductory physics textbook illustrations with supporting text for sound standing waves of air columns in open-open, open-closed, and closed-closed pipes inhibit student understanding of sound standing wave phenomena due to student misunderstanding of how air molecules move within these pipes. Based on the construct of meaningful learning from cognitive psychology and semiotics, a quasiexperimental study was conducted to investigate the comparative effectiveness of two alternative approaches to student understanding: a traditional textbook illustration approach versus a newly designed air molecule motion illustration approach. Thirty volunteer students from introductory physics classes were randomly assigned to two groups of 15 each. Both groups were administered a presurvey. Then, group A read the air molecule motion illustration handout, and group B read a traditional textbook illustration handout; both groups were administered postsurveys. Subsequently, the procedure was reversed: group B read the air molecule motion illustration handout and group A read the traditional textbook illustration handout. This was followed by a second postsurvey along with an exit research questionnaire. The study found that the majority of students experienced meaningful learning and stated that they understood sound standing wave phenomena significantly better using the air molecule motion illustration approach. This finding provides a method for physics education researchers to design illustrations for abstract sound standing wave concepts, for publishers to improve their illustrations with supporting text, and for instructors to facilitate deeper learning in their students on sound standing waves.

  6. Implementing 'The Math You Need' in an Introductory Physical Geology Course at California State University East Bay

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Moran, J. E.

    2011-12-01

    The wide range of abilities in the student population at California State University East Bay, with a significant fraction of students under-prepared and requiring mathematics remediation, is a challenge to including mathematical concepts and exercises in our introductory geoscience courses. Student expectations that a geoscience course will not include quantitative work may result in math-phobics choosing the course and resisting quantitative work when presented with it. Introductory courses that are required for Geology and Environmental Science majors are also designated as General Education, which gives rise to a student group with a wide range of abilities and expectations. This presentation will focus on implementation of a series of online math tutorials for students in introductory geoscience courses called 'The Math You Need' (TMYN; http://serc.carleton.edu/mathyouneed/index.html). The program is implemented in a Physical Geology course, in which 2/3 of the students are typically non-majors. The Physical Geology course has a three hour lab each week and the lab exercises and lab manual offer several opportunities for application of TMYN. Many of the lab exercises include graphing, profiling, working with map scales, converting units, or using equations to calculate some parameter or solve for an unknown. Six TMYN modules covering topics using density calculations as applied to mineral properties and isostasy, graphing as applied to rock properties, earthquake location, and radiometric dating, and calculation of rates as applied to plate movement, stream discharge, and groundwater flow, are assigned as pre-labs to be completed before lab classes. TMYN skills are reinforced during lectures and lab exercises, as close in time as possible to students' exposure via TMYN. Pre- and post-tests give a measure of the effectiveness of TMYN in improving students' quantitative literacy.

  7. Use of Bratwurst Sausage as a Model Cadaver in Introductory Physics for the Life Sciences Lab Experiments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sidebottom, David

    2015-09-01

    The general physics course that is taught in most departments as a service course for pre-med or pre-health students is undergoing a large shift in course content to better appeal to this group of learners. This revision also extends to the laboratory component, where more emphasis is being placed on teaching physics through biological examples. Here, two undergraduate-level lab experiments, one dealing with buoyancy and the other with heat transfer, are described. The two labs were designed specifically to appeal to pre-med students taking introductory physics, and their novelty arises from the use of a bratwurst sausage as a miniature model cadaver. Results suggest that the sausage provides a suitable approximation to the mass density and thermal properties of the human body.

  8. Assessing the flexibility of research-based instructional strategies: Implementing tutorials in introductory physics in the lecture environment

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kryjevskaia, Mila; Boudreaux, Andrew; Heins, Dustin

    2014-03-01

    Materials from Tutorials in Introductory Physics, originally designed and implemented by the Physics Education Group at the University of Washington, were used in modified form as interactive lectures under conditions significantly different from those suggested by the curriculum developers. Student learning was assessed using tasks drawn from the physics education research literature. Use of tutorials in the interactive lecture format yielded gains in student understanding comparable to those obtained through the canonical tutorial implementation at the University of Washington, suggesting that student engagement with the intellectual steps laid out in the tutorials, rather than the specific strategies used in facilitating such engagement, plays the central role in promoting student learning. We describe the implementation details and assessment of student learning for two different tutorials: one focused on mechanical waves, used at North Dakota State University, and one on Galilean relativity, used at Western Washington University. Also discussed are factors that may limit the generalizability of the results.

  9. Effective Inclusion of e-Learning in a Subject of Physics Experiments: Introductory Electronics Laboratory

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Okuno, T.; Abe, K.; Yamazaki, N.; Ooe, A.; Igarashi, K.; Hayashi, S.; Suzuki, M.

    2010-07-01

    A Web-based e-Learning homework system was introduced in the undergraduate subject of the introductory electronics experiment; "Introductory Electronics Laboratory". This homework is appended to practical trainings and face-to-face guidance in the laboratory (blended-type e-Learning). The e-Learning is mainly prepared to teach basic electronics and to guide necessary apparatus before the practical training. The overall impression about this subject in students' questionnaires has improved from 3.5 for 2005/2006 (e-Learning not introduced) to 3.9 2007/2008 (e-Learning introduced) (5 for good, 3 for average, and 1 for bad). Students understanding of the experiments has also improved from 3.43 for 2005/2006 to 3.45 for 2007/2008 (5, 4, 3, 2 for S, A, B, C grade). This subject is compulsory for all second-year students in our department (˜120 students). The e-Learning system in our case is considered to be effective especially for required subjects of experiments and large classes.

  10. Newton's Bridge Learning Community: Can Student Learning in Introductory Physics and Calculus be a Pathway to Undergraduate Research?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Li, Eugene

    2014-03-01

    A pathway to undergraduate research for freshman level physics through interdisciplinary pairings of physics and calculus courses is examined. Through ``pairing courses,'' active learning approaches, and jointly constructed inquiry-based course activities, students formulate and investigate a ``research problem.'' Some effects of a student-peer-mentor program is also examined. The use of technology incorporated into ``theme-focused'' activities is outlined. Some of the technological components include the iPad, Vernier sensors with related software, and introductory MATLAB. This presentation analyzes some of the outcomes of the learning community pairing of calculus-based Physics I (Mechanics and Heat) and Math (Calculus II), called a ``A Journey Across Newton's Bridge,'' and also the follow-up course pairing calculus-based Physics II (Electricity and Magnetism) and Multi-variable calculus called ``Multi-Dimensional Experiences'' which are being offered at Montgomery College. Acknowledge support of the Department of Physics, Engineering and Geoscience, Montgomery College, Noyce TPOD-STEM, and GT-STEP Grants.

  11. Work Habits of Students in Traditional and Online Sections of an Introductory Physics Course: A Case Study

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kortemeyer, Gerd

    2016-05-01

    The study compares the work habits of two student groups in an introductory physics course, one in traditional and one in online sections. Both groups shared the same online materials and online homework, as well as the same discussion boards and examinations, but one group in addition had traditional lectures. The groups were compared with respect to amount and frequency of access to different online course resources. It was found that with few exceptions, both groups exhibited very similar work habits. Students in the online sections more frequently accessed content pages and more frequently contributed to course discussions. It was also found that regular access of the materials throughout the week, rather than only on homework deadline nights, is a predictor of success on examinations, and that this indicator is more reliable for students in the online sections. Overall, though, the effect of traditional lectures is minimal.

  12. Making sense of confusion: Relating performance, confidence, and self-efficacy to expressions of confusion in an introductory physics class

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dowd, Jason E.; Araujo, Ives; Mazur, Eric

    2015-06-01

    Although confusion is generally perceived to be negative, educators dating as far back as Socrates, who asked students to question assumptions and wrestle with ideas, have challenged this notion. Can confusion be productive? How should instructors interpret student expressions of confusion? During two semesters of introductory physics that involved Just-in-Time Teaching (JiTT) and research-based reading materials, we evaluated performance on reading assignments while simultaneously measuring students' self-assessment of their confusion over the preclass reading material (N =137 ; Nfall=106 , Nspring=88 ). We examined the relationship between confusion and correctness, confidence in reasoning, and (in the spring) precourse self-efficacy. We find that student expressions of confusion before coming to class are negatively related to correctness on preclass content-related questions, confidence in reasoning on those questions, and self-efficacy, but weakly positively related to final grade when controlling for these factors (β =0.23 , p =0.03 ).

  13. Using Research-Based Interactive Video Vignettes to Enhance Out-of-Class Learning in Introductory Physics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Laws, Priscilla W.; Willis, Maxine C.; Jackson, David P.; Koenig, Kathleen; Teese, Robert

    2015-02-01

    Ever since the first generalized computer-assisted instruction system (PLATO1) was introduced over 50 years ago, educators have been adding computer-based materials to their classes. Today many textbooks have complete online versions that include video lectures and other supplements. In the past 25 years the web has fueled an explosion of online homework and course management systems, both as blended learning and online courses. Meanwhile, introductory physics instructors have been implementing new approaches to teaching based on the outcomes of Physics Education Research (PER). A common theme of PER-based instruction has been the use of active-learning strategies designed to help students overcome alternative conceptions that they often bring to the study of physics.2 Unfortunately, while classrooms have become more active, online learning typically relies on passive lecture videos or Kahn-style3 tablet drawings. To bring active learning online, the LivePhoto Physics Group has been developing Interactive Video Vignettes (IVVs) that add interactivity and PER-based elements to short presentations. These vignettes incorporate web-based video activities that contain interactive elements and typically require students to make predictions and analyze real-world phenomena.

  14. Web-Based vs. Paper-Based Homework to Evaluate Students' Performance in Introductory Physics Courses and Students' Perceptions: Two Years Experience

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Demirci, Neset

    2010-01-01

    The main aim of this study was to assess and compare undergraduate students' homework performance using a web-based testing system with paper-based, hand-graded one in introductory physics courses. Students' perceptions about each method were then investigated. Every semester during the two-year period, one of the two identical sections of…

  15. Gender Differences in the High School and Affective Experiences of Introductory College Physics Students

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Hazari, Zahra; Sadler, Philip M.; Tai, Robert H.

    2008-01-01

    The disparity in persistence between males and females studying physics has been a topic of concern to physics educators for decades. Overall, while female students perform as well as or better than male students, they continue to lag considerably in terms of persistence. The most significant drop in females studying physics occurs between high…

  16. Gender Differences in the High School and Affective Experiences of Introductory College Physics Students

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hazari, Zahra; Sadler, Philip M.; Tai, Robert H.

    2008-10-01

    The disparity in persistence between males and females studying physics has been a topic of concern to physics educators for decades. Overall, while female students perform as well as or better than male students, they continue to lag considerably in terms of persistence. The most significant drop in females studying physics occurs between high school and college.2 Since most female physicists report that they became attracted to physics and decided to study it further while in high school, according to the International Study of Women in Physics,3 it is problematic that high school is also the stage at which females begin to opt out at much higher rates than males. Although half of the students taking one year of physics in high school are female, females are less likely than males to take a second or Advanced Placement (AP) physics course.4 In addition, the percentage of females taking the first physics course in college usually falls between 30% and 40%. In other words, although you may see gender parity in a first high school physics course, this parity does not usually persist to the next level of physics course. In addition, even if there is parity in a high school physics course, it does not mean that males and females experience the course in the same way. It is this difference in experience that may help to explain the drop in persistence of females.

  17. Physics of Health Sciences

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Baublitz, Millard; Goldberg, Bennett

    A one-semester algebra-based physics course is being offered to Boston University students whose major fields of study are in allied health sciences: physical therapy, athletic training, and speech, language, and hearing sciences. The classroom instruction incorporates high-engagement learning techniques including worksheets, student response devices, small group discussions, and physics demonstrations instead of traditional lectures. The use of pre-session exercises and quizzes has been implemented. The course also requires weekly laboratory experiments in mechanics or electricity. We are using standard pre- and post-course concept inventories to compare this one-semester introductory physics course to ten years of pre- and post-course data collected on students in the same majors but who completed a two-semester course.

  18. Interactive online optics modules for the college physics course

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hoeling, Barbara M.

    2012-04-01

    A new learning tool for geometrical optics is presented which has been developed for an algebra based introductory college physics course for life science majors. The interactive online learning module contains images, videos of problem solutions, short animated videos, and interactive animations, which allow students to actively explore the physics content beyond the pictures in a textbook. These elements are accompanied by narration and a transcript to guide the students while allowing them to navigate freely between the different parts of the module. The results of student learning, a comparison with a control group, and a survey of student attitudes toward this new instruction method are discussed.

  19. Variation of Instructor-Student Interactions in an Introductory Interactive Physics Course

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    West, Emily A.; Paul, Cassandra A.; Webb, David; Potter, Wendell H.

    2013-01-01

    The physics instruction at UC Davis for life science majors takes place in a long-standing reformed large-enrollment physics course in which the discussion or laboratory instructors (primarily graduate student teaching assistants) implement the interactive-engagement (IE) elements of the course. Because so many different instructors participate in…

  20. Electromagnetism Unit of an Introductory University Physics Course: The Influence of a Reform-Based Tutorial

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Barrett, Sarah Elizabeth; Hazari, Zahra; Fatholahzadeh, Baharak; Harrison, David M.

    2012-01-01

    Many students enrolled in university physics have little interest in the subject matter, a trend more pronounced in females. This study assesses students' conceptual understanding and interest during the electrochemistry unit of a physics course for nonphysics majors that was revised in light of consistently low ratings from its students. The…

  1. Measurement of the magnetic field of small magnets with a smartphone: a very economical laboratory practice for introductory physics courses

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Arribas, Enrique; Escobar, Isabel; Suarez, Carmen P.; Najera, Alberto; Beléndez, Augusto

    2015-11-01

    In this work, we propose an inexpensive laboratory practice for an introductory physics course laboratory for any grade of science and engineering study. This practice was very well received by our students, where a smartphone (iOS, Android, or Windows) is used together with mini magnets (similar to those used on refrigerator doors), a 20 cm long school rule, a paper, and a free application (app) that needs to be downloaded and installed that measures magnetic fields using the smartphone’s magnetic field sensor or magnetometer. The apps we have used are: Magnetometer (iOS), Magnetometer Metal Detector, and Physics Toolbox Magnetometer (Android). Nothing else is needed. Cost of this practice: free. The main purpose of the practice is that students determine the dependence of the component x of the magnetic field produced by different magnets (including ring magnets and sphere magnets). We obtained that the dependency of the magnetic field with the distance is of the form x-3, in total agreement with the theoretical analysis. The secondary objective is to apply the technique of least squares fit to obtain this exponent and the magnetic moment of the magnets, with the corresponding absolute error.

  2. A Statistical Analysis of Activity-Based and Traditional Introductory Algebra Physics Using the Force and Motion Conceptual Evaluation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Trecia Markes, Cecelia

    2006-03-01

    With a three-year FIPSE grant, it has been possible at the University of Nebraska at Kearney (UNK) to develop and implement activity- based introductory physics at the algebra level. It has generally been recognized that students enter physics classes with misconceptions about motion and force. Many of these misconceptions persist after instruction. Pretest and posttest responses on the ``Force and Motion Conceptual Evaluation'' (FMCE) are analyzed to determine the effectiveness of the activity- based method of instruction relative to the traditional (lecture/lab) method of instruction. Data were analyzed to determine the following: student understanding at the beginning of the course, student understanding at the end of the course, how student understanding is related to the type of class taken, student understanding based on gender and type of class. Some of the tests used are the t-test, the chi-squared test, and analysis of variance. The results of these tests will be presented, and their implications will be discussed.

  3. Inclusion of the energy thread in the introductory physics curriculum: An example of long-term conceptual and thematic coherence

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Brewe, Eric Thomas

    The energy thread is a logical outgrowth of the modeling theory of physics instruction; it exemplifies a conceptually and pedagogically coherent theme designed to enhance connections between models inherent in the introductory curriculum. Implementation of the energy thread requires restructuring and reorganization of the existing curriculum. The reorganization and restructuring of the curriculum is designed to reinforce expert characteristics of physicists including, coordination of representation, qualitative analysis, and flexibility of method guided by a rich knowledge base organized around a small set of general models. In-depth descriptions of the modeling tools, instructional design, and methodology are included. Comparisons based on the Force Concept Inventory, as well as on problem solutions, are made between two university physics courses, one taught with an included energy thread and another with a traditional treatment of energy concepts. The energy thread course compared favorably on all instruments. Student interviews further characterize students' use of modeling tools and problem-solving approaches as encouraged by the energy thread.

  4. The dynamics of variability in introductory physics students' thinking: Examples from kinematics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Frank, Brian W.

    Physics education research has long emphasized the need for physics instruction to address students' existing intuitions about the physical world as an integral part of learning physics. Researchers, however, have not reached a consensus-view concerning the nature of this intuitive knowledge or the specific role that it does (or might) play in physics learning. While many early characterizations of student misconceptions cast students' intuitive thinking as largely static, unitary in structure, and counter-productive for the purpose of learning correct physics, much of contemporary research supports a conceptualization of intuitive thought as dynamic, manifold in structure, and generative in the development of expertise. This dissertation contributes to ongoing inquiry into the nature of students' intuitive thought and its role in learning physics through the pursuit of dynamic systems characterizations of student reasoning, with a particular focus on how students settle into and shift among multiple patterns of reasoning about motion. In one thread of this research, simple experimental designs are used to demonstrate how individual students can be predictably biased toward and away from different ways of thinking about the same physical situation when specific parameters of questions posed to students are varied. I qualitatively model students' thinking in terms of the activations and interactions among fine-grained intuitive knowledge and static features of the context. In a second thread of this research, case studies of more dynamic shifts in students' conceptual reasoning are developed from videos of student discussions during collaborative classroom activities. These show multiple local stabilities of students' thinking as well, with evidence of group-level dynamics shifting on the time scale of minutes. This work contributes to existing research paradigms that aim to characterize student thinking in physics education in two important ways: (1) through the

  5. Sex differences in physics learning and evaluations in an introductory course

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Blue, Jennifer Marie

    On a national level, boys and men score higher than girls and women on science and math tests. There have been several investigations into the reasons for these differences, with some believing that they are caused by innate biological sex differences and some that they are caused by social and cultural gender differences. In addition, women who plan to major in science and engineering drop out of those majors at higher rates than men do. This study was designed to contribute to the ongoing discussion about why these differences between women and men exist. This study compared post-test physics scores of a matched sample of men and women to see whether there were differences in how much physics had been learned at the end of a course when there were few differences at the beginning of the course. The study also looked at the ratings that men and women gave to the problem solving method and the sections of the course that used cooperative grouping. It was found that, although the population of students taking Physics 1251 showed differences in performance on physics tests both at the beginning and at the end of the course, when students were matched according to their high school background and their physics pretest scores there was no difference in their post-test scores. It was also found that women liked the relevant aspects of the course more than men did. Implications of these results are discussed.

  6. Diffusion Phenomena and Other WWW Applications for An Introductory Physics Course

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cattani, G.; Coperchio, M. C.; Navarria, F.-L.; Rovelli, T.

    The World Wide Web originated within the high-energy physics community from the need to exchange documentation in an efficient way. It can be used easily to produce and maintain didactic material for teaching physics. The material can be made accessible via the network in hypertext form, comprising text, pictures, animations, audio files. For didactic applications in physics, the capability of an interactive link, beyond the use of simple electronic forms is necessary. This was not foreseen in the original WWW protocol, and it has been developed in an application presented here to simulate a series of measurements in a diffusion process in solutions. The recent introduction of the Java language offers a natural way to create new powerful interactive Internet applications. We are currently developing and testing Java powered didactic applications.

  7. The use of multiple representations and visualizations in student learning of introductory physics: An example from work and energy

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zou, Xueli

    collisions. The research and curriculum development was conducted in the context of the introductory calculus-based physics course. Investigations were carried out using common physics education research tools, including open-ended surveys, written test questions, and individual student interviews.

  8. Implementation of Inquiry-Based Tutorials in AN Introductory Physics Course: the Role of the Graduate Teaching Assistant.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Thoresen, Carol Wiggins

    1994-01-01

    This study determined if the training provided physics teaching assistants was sufficient to accomplish the objectives of inquiry-based tutorials for an introductory physics course. Qualitative research methods were used: (1) to determine if the Physics by Inquiry method was modeled; (2) to describe the process from the teaching assistant perspective; (3) to determine TA opinions on training methods; (4) to develop a frame of reference to better understand the role of TA's as instructional support staff. The study determined that the teaching assistants verbalized appropriate instructional actions, but were observed to use a predominantly didactic teaching style. TA's held a variety of perceptions and beliefs about inquiry -based learning and how science is learned. They felt comfortable in the role of tutorial instructor. They were satisfied with the training methods provided and had few suggestions to change or improve training for future tutorial instructors. A concurrent theme of teacher action dependent on teacher beliefs was sustained throughout the study. The TA's actions, as tutorial instructors, reflected their educational beliefs, student background and learning experiences. TA's performance as tutorial instructors depended on what they think and believe about learning science. Practical implications exist for training teaching assistants to be tutorial instructors. Some recommendations may be appropriate for TA's required to use instructional methods that they have not experienced as students. Interview prospective teaching assistants to determine educational experience and beliefs. Employ inexperienced teaching assistants whose perspectives match the proposed instructional role and who might be more receptive to modeling. Incorporate training into staff meetings. Provide time for TA's to experience the instructional model with simulation or role play as students and as instructors, accompanied by conference discussion. Use strategies known to enhance

  9. The Role of Online Homework in Low-Enrollment College Introductory Physics Courses

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Lazarova, Krassi

    2015-01-01

    Studying physics for nonphysics majors at college level is usually a process of learning new problem-solving skills and sometimes seems a frustrating experience. In an attempt to provide students with more learning resources, online homework was required to supplement the instruction. This study reveals the role of the online homework assignments…

  10. Investigating the Usability and Efficacy of Customizable Computer Coaches for Introductory Physics Problem Solving

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Aryal, Bijaya

    2016-03-01

    We have studied the impacts of web-based Computer Coaches on educational outputs and outcomes. This presentation will describe the technical and conceptual framework related to the Coaches and discuss undergraduate students' favorability of the Coaches. Moreover, its impacts on students' physics problem solving performance and on their conceptual understanding of physics will be reported. We used a qualitative research technique to collect and analyze interview data from 19 undergraduate students who used the Coaches in the interview setting. The empirical results show that the favorability and efficacy of the Computer Coaches differ considerably across students of different educational backgrounds, preparation levels, attitudes and epistemologies about physics learning. The interview data shows that female students tend to have more favorability supporting the use of the Coach. Likewise, our assessment suggests that female students seem to benefit more from the Coaches in their problem solving performance and in conceptual learning of physics. Finally, the analysis finds evidence that the Coach has potential for increasing efficiency in usage and for improving students' educational outputs and outcomes under its customized usage. This work was partially supported by the Center for Educational Innovation, Office of the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost, University of Minnesota.

  11. Design and Reflection Help Students Develop Scientific Abilities: Learning in Introductory Physics Laboratories

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Etkina, Eugenia; Karelina, Anna; Ruibal-Villasenor, Maria; Rosengrant, David; Jordan, Rebecca; Hmelo-Silver, Cindy E.

    2010-01-01

    Design activities, when embedded in an inquiry cycle and appropriately scaffolded and supplemented with reflection, can promote the development of the habits of mind (scientific abilities) that are an important part of scientific practice. Through the Investigative Science Learning Environment ("ISLE"), students construct physics knowledge by…

  12. New Pedagogy in Introductory Physics and Upper-level AMO Courses

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wieman, Carl

    2005-05-01

    In recent decades the need for science education has expanded in its scope and grown in its importance. We need to reevaluate science teaching to see how it can better meet these needs. Scientists often abandon the powerful intellectual tools they routinely use in their science when they go to teach science. They fall back on tradition and highly subjective judgments of the instructor (known in other contexts as ``superstition"). I will discuss the advantages of approaching the teaching of physics like a physics experiment. This approach includes: collecting and utilizing valid quantitative data (both one's own and those from the research of others), using quantitative statistical analysis to extract information from experiments involving imperfectly controlled degrees of freedom, and taking advantage of useful new technology. This discussion will include a review of some of the key findings of researchers about how people learn in general and how they learn physics specifically, and how these findings can be used to improve teaching practices. As time permits, I will also cover some surprising results my education research group has found on the study of how student beliefs shape and are shaped by their physics classes and the effective use of technology.

  13. Tarzan's Dilemma: A Challenging Problem for Introductory Physics Students

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Rave, Matthew; Sayers, Marcus

    2013-01-01

    The following kinematics problem was given to several students as a project in conjunction with a first-semester calculus-based physics course. The students were asked to keep a journal of all their work and were encouraged to keep even their scrap paper. The goal of the project was to expose the students to the process of doing theoretical…

  14. Interpreting Assessments of Student Learning in the Introductory Physics Classroom and Laboratory

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Dowd, Jason Edward

    2012-01-01

    Assessment is the primary means of feedback between students and instructors. However, to effectively use assessment, the ability to interpret collected information is essential. We present insights into three unique, important avenues of assessment in the physics classroom and laboratory. First, we examine students' performance on conceptual…

  15. Implementing Comprehensive Reform of Introductory Physics at a Primarily Undergraduate Institution: A Longitudinal Case Study

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Rogers, Michael; Keller, Luke D .; Price, Matthew F.; Crouse, Andrew

    2015-01-01

    Education research provides a range of curricular reform options that can lead to improved student course outcomes. These options can appear easy to implement with the hope of immediate increases in student learning. In 2006 the Ithaca College Physics Department went down this path by moving all of their 100-level courses out of lecture halls and…

  16. Building Shared Understandings in Introductory Physics Tutorials through Risk, Repair, Conflict & Comedy

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Conlin, Luke D.

    2012-01-01

    Collaborative inquiry learning environments, such as "The Tutorials in Physics Sensemaking," are designed to provide students with opportunities to partake in the authentic disciplinary practices of argumentation and sensemaking. Through these practices, groups of students in tutorial can build shared conceptual understandings of the…

  17. Use of Microscale Landforms to Teach Introductory Physical Geography: Planning a Local Field Exercise.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Luft, Edward R.

    1990-01-01

    States that firsthand observations of the dynamic process that shapes landforms are important to understanding physical geography. Posits that locally planned, short-duration field exercises to study miniature or fourth-order landforms will enhance instruction about these fundamental geographic concepts. (DB)

  18. Technology Enabled Active Learning (TEAL) in Introductory Physics: Impact on Genders and Achievement Levels

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Shieh, Ruey S.; Chang, Wheijen; Liu, Eric Zhi-Feng

    2011-01-01

    This study explored the impact of "Technology Enabled Active Learning" (TEAL) on students learning general physics, focusing on differences between genders and among various achievement levels. A quasi-experimental investigation was conducted on two semesters of courses offered in 2008. Data sources consisted of pre-tests, post-tests, self-report…

  19. Learning Introductory Quantum Physics: Sensori-Motor Experiences and Mental Models

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Ke, Jiun-Liang; Monk, Martin; Duschl, Richard

    2005-01-01

    This paper reports a cross-sectional study of Taiwanese physics students' understanding of subatomic phenomena that are explained by quantum mechanics. The study uses students' explanations of their answers to items in a questionnaire as a proxy for students' thinking. The variation in students' explanations is discussed as is the development in…

  20. Effective Student Teams for Collaborative Learning in an Introductory University Physics Course

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Harlow, Jason J. B.; Harrison, David M.; Meyertholen, Andrew

    2016-01-01

    We have studied the types of student teams that are most effective for collaborative learning in a large freshman university physics course. We compared teams in which the students were all of roughly equal ability to teams with a mix of student abilities, we compared teams with three members to teams with four members, and we examined teams with…

  1. Resource Letter TTSM-1: Teaching Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics in Introductory Physics, Chemistry, and Biology

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dreyfus, Benjamin W.; Geller, Benjamin D.; Meltzer, David E.; Sawtelle, Vashti

    2015-01-01

    This Resource Letter draws on discipline-based education research from physics, chemistry, and biology to collect literature on the teaching of thermodynamics and statistical mechanics in the three disciplines. While the overlap among the disciplinary literatures is limited at present, we hope this Resource Letter will spark more interdisciplinary interaction.

  2. Disciplinary Authenticity: Enriching the Reforms of Introductory Physics Courses for Life-Science Students

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Watkins, Jessica; Coffey, Janet E.; Redish, Edward F.; Cooke, Todd J.

    2012-01-01

    Educators and policy makers have advocated for reform of undergraduate biology education, calling for greater integration of mathematics and physics in the biology curriculum. While these calls reflect the increasingly interdisciplinary nature of biology research, crossing disciplinary boundaries in the classroom carries epistemological challenges…

  3. A 21st Century Perspective as a Primer to Introductory Physics

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Curtis, Lorenzo J.

    2011-01-01

    Much effort over many years has been devoted to the reform of the teaching of physics. This has led to many new and imaginative approaches in the content and delivery of material. Great strides have been made in the delivery, and the content has been continually supplemented. However, attempts to modernize the basic structure of the presentation…

  4. Experiments That Walk: Four Self-Study Units with Portable Kits for Introductory Physics.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Brunschwig, Fernand

    This is a report of the development of four self-study units in physics for college nonscience majors. The topics of the units are Waves and Sound, The Radiant Energy of Sunlight, Infrared Radiation, and Acceleration. Each unit includes an inexpensive, portable kit; a student manual containing all requisite background information, self-test,…

  5. The impact of computer-based interactive instruction (CBII) in improving the teaching-learning process in introductory college physics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jawad, Afif A.

    Institutes are incorporating computer-assisted instruction (CAI) into their classrooms in an effort to enhance learning. The implementation of computers into the classroom is parallel with education's role of keeping abreast with societal demands. The number of microcomputers in schools has increased tremendously. Computer Based Interactive Instruction (CBBI) software is available for the language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, etc. The traditional instruction, supplemented with CAI, seems to be more effective than traditional instruction alone. Although there is a large quantity of research regarding specific aspects of learning through computers, there seems to be a lack of information regarding the impact of computers upon student success. The goal of this study is to determine how much of CAI is implemented in higher education in the USA. Instructors from 38 states were surveyed to compare between the institutes that use Computer Based Interactive Instruction and the ones that do not and are still applying traditional delivery method. Based on the analysis of the data gathered during this study, it is concluded that the majority of instructors are now using computers in one form or another. This study has determined that the computer is a major component in the teaching of introductory physics, and therefore, may be a suitable substitute for the traditional delivery system. Computers as an instructional delivery system are an alternative that may result in a higher level of student learning for many higher education courses.

  6. Interactive-engagement versus traditional methods: A six-thousand-student survey of mechanics test data for introductory physics courses

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hake, Richard R.

    1998-01-01

    A survey of pre/post-test data using the Halloun-Hestenes Mechanics Diagnostic test or more recent Force Concept Inventory is reported for 62 introductory physics courses enrolling a total number of students N=6542. A consistent analysis over diverse student populations in high schools, colleges, and universities is obtained if a rough measure of the average effectiveness of a course in promoting conceptual understanding is taken to be the average normalized gain . The latter is defined as the ratio of the actual average gain to the maximum possible average gain (100-%). Fourteen "traditional" (T) courses (N=2084) which made little or no use of interactive-engagement (IE) methods achieved an average gain T-ave=0.23±0.04 (std dev). In sharp contrast, 48 courses (N=4458) which made substantial use of IE methods achieved an average gain IE-ave=0.48±0.14 (std dev), almost two standard deviations of IE-ave above that of the traditional courses. Results for 30 (N=3259) of the above 62 courses on the problem-solving Mechanics Baseline test of Hestenes-Wells imply that IE strategies enhance problem-solving ability. The conceptual and problem-solving test results strongly suggest that the classroom use of IE methods can increase mechanics-course effectiveness well beyond that obtained in traditional practice.

  7. Student understanding of entropy and the second law of thermodynamics in an introductory physics course

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Christensen, Warren M.

    2005-03-01

    We are investigating students' thinking regarding entropy and the second law of thermodynamics in a calculus-based general physics course. Most students enrolled in the class have had previous exposure to thermodynamics in chemistry courses or in high-school physics, and so many of them have specific ideas about these concepts even before instruction begins. To explore these ideas we administered a series of free-response pretest questions during the first week of class, before any instruction on thermodynamics had taken place. The questions probed student conceptions about entropy and its relationship with other thermodynamic properties. We will present an analysis of these data, as well as follow-up interview data that shed additional light on students' thinking.

  8. Exercises are problems too: implications for teaching problem-solving in introductory physics courses

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zuza, Kristina; Garmendia, Mikel; Barragués, José-Ignacio; Guisasola, Jenaro

    2016-09-01

    Frequently, in university-level general physics courses, after explaining the theory, exercises are set based on examples that illustrate the application of concepts and laws. Traditionally formulated numerical exercises are usually solved by the teacher and students through direct replacement of data in formulae. It is our contention that such strategies can lead to the superficial and erroneous resolution of such exercises. In this paper, we provide an example that illustrates that students tend to solve problems in a superficial manner, without applying fundamental problem-solving strategies such as qualitative analysis, hypothesis-forming and analysis of results, which prevents them from arriving at a correct solution. We provide evidence of the complexity of an a priori simple exercise in physics, although the theory involved may seem elementary at first sight. Our aim is to stimulate reflection among instructors to follow these results when using examples and solving exercises with students.

  9. Experience, gender, and performance: Connecting high school physics experience and gender differences to introductory college physics performance

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tai, Robert H.

    Current science educational practice is coming under heavy criticism based on the dismaying results of the Third International Mathematics and Science Study of 1998, the latest in a series of large scale surveys; and from research showing the appallingly low representation of females in science-related fields. These critical evaluations serve to draw attention to science literacy in general and lack of persistence among females in particular, two issues that relate closely to the "preparation for future study" goal held by many high school science teachers. In other words, these teachers often seek to promote future success and to prevent future failure in their students' academic careers. This thesis studies the connection between the teaching practices recommended by reformers and researchers for high school teachers, and their students' subsequent college physics performance. The teaching practices studied were: laboratory experiences, class discussion experiences, content coverage, and reliance on textbooks. This study analyzed a survey of 1500 students from 16 different lecture-format college physics courses at 14 different universities. Using hierarchical linear modeling, this study accounted for course-level variables (Calculus-based/Non-calculus course type, professor's gender, and university selectivity). This study controlled for the student's parents education, high school science/mathematics achievement, high school calculus background, and racial background. In addition, the interactions between gender and both pedagogical/curricular and course-level variables were analyzed. The results indicated that teaching fewer topics in greater depth in high school physics appeared to be helpful to college physics students. An interaction between college course type and content coverage showed that students in Calculus-based physics reaped even greater benefits from a depth-oriented curriculum. Also students with fewer labs per month in high school physics

  10. Self-efficacy in introductory physics in students at single-sex and coeducational colleges

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Blue, Jennifer; Mills, Mary Elizabeth; Yezierski, Ellen

    2013-01-01

    We surveyed 88 students at four colleges: one men's college, two women's colleges, and one coeducational college. The questions, modified from Reid (2007), asked about in-class participation, how fulfilled they were by their achievement in their calc-based physics class, their attitude toward their class, and their self-efficacy (Bandura 1994) in the class. While a t-test showed no difference between men and women, an ANOVA showed a significant interaction between sex and type of school. Detailed results will be presented and discussed.

  11. Basic ideas and concepts in hot wire anemometry: an experimental approach for introductory physics students

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    El Abed, Mohamed

    2016-01-01

    The purpose of hot wire anemometry is to measure the speed of an air stream. The classical method is based on the measure of the value of a temperature dependant resistor inserted in a Wheatstone bridge (Lomas 1986 Fundamentals of Hot Wire Anemometry (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press)). In this paper we exhibit the physics behind this method and show that by using a wire whose resistance does not vary on the field of temperature explored (from 20 °C to 200 °C), it is however possible to make accurate measurements. Finally, limitations of the method are discussed.

  12. Building shared understandings in introductory physics tutorials through risk, repair, conflict & comedy

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Conlin, Luke D.

    Collaborative inquiry learning environments, such as The Tutorials in Physics Sensemaking, are designed to provide students with opportunities to partake in the authentic disciplinary practices of argumentation and sensemaking. Through these practices, groups of students in tutorial can build shared conceptual understandings of the mechanisms behind physical phenomena. In order to do so, they must also build a shared epistemological understanding of what they are doing together, such that their activity includes collaboratively making sense of mechanisms. Previous work (Conlin, Gupta, Scherr, & Hammer, 2007; Scherr & Hammer, 2009) has demonstrated that tutorial students do not settle upon only one way of understanding their activity together, but instead build multiple shared ways of understanding, or framing (Scherr & Hammer, 2009; Tannen, 1993a), their activity. I build upon this work by substantiating a preliminary finding that one of these shared ways of framing corresponds with increased evidence of the students' collaboratively making sense of physical mechanisms. What previous research has not yet addressed is how the students come to understand their activity as including collaborative sensemaking discussions in the first place, and how that understanding develops over the course of the semester. In this dissertation, I address both of these questions through an in-depth video analysis of three groups' discussions throughout the semester. To build shared understandings through scientific argumentation and collaborative sensemaking, the students need to continually make repairs of each other's understanding, but this comes with the risk of affective damage that can shut down further sensemaking discussions. By analyzing the discourse of the three groups' discussions throughout the semester, I show how each group is able to manage this essential tension as they each build and maintain a safe space to sensemake together. I find that the three groups differ in

  13. Learning of introductory physics concept recognition and concept articulation by vocational-technical high school students

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schulze, Sharon Kay

    2000-10-01

    Thirty-three high school students who attended a half-day vocational-technical school and were enrolled in a modified Principles of Technology course engaged in a variety of course activities including teacher-made quizzes, a published objective test, and written projects about main topics of the course. Both in-class measures and written projects were analyzed for evidence of students' recognition of major concepts, articulation of concepts as presented in class, and articulation of concepts in the context of real-world examples selected by students based on their personal experiences in their vocational class or other everyday pursuit. Results of analysis showed that students were generally good at recognizing instances of the main course topics. In addition, objective tests failed to demonstrate distinctions among theoretical and real-world explanations that were obviously present in written projects. There were distinct tendencies among the number and quality of ideas presented that differed by course unit and there was a strong tendency among students to offer completely correct statements of course concepts in theoretical explanation sections of written projects but not in real-world explanation sections. Furthermore, theoretical explanation sections tended to include a wider variety of ideas mentioned only once or twice each while real-world explanations tended to include a smaller number of ideas used over and over. Students' lack of precision in explanations may be due to a lack of understanding about the main organizing principles of physics as well as the interference of misconceived beliefs with more accurate information learned in class. The misconceptions and misunderstanding of the nature of physics may be related to the organization of knowledge held by students as well as a lack of procedural knowledge. Students may know bits of information that are correct but be unable to access that information because they lack the procedural knowledge to

  14. Effective student teams for collaborative learning in an introductory university physics course

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Harlow, Jason J. B.; Harrison, David M.; Meyertholen, Andrew

    2016-06-01

    We have studied the types of student teams that are most effective for collaborative learning in a large freshman university physics course. We compared teams in which the students were all of roughly equal ability to teams with a mix of student abilities, we compared teams with three members to teams with four members, and we examined teams with only one female student and the rest of the students male. We measured team effectiveness by the gains on the Force Concept Inventory and by performance on the final examination. None of the factors that we examined had significant impact on student learning. We also investigated student satisfaction as measured by responses to an anonymous evaluation at the end of the term, and found small but statistically significant differences depending on how the nine teams in the group were constructed.

  15. Development and Assessment of a Preliminary Randomization-Based Introductory Statistics Curriculum

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Tintle, Nathan; VanderStoep, Jill; Holmes, Vicki-Lynn; Quisenberry, Brooke; Swanson, Todd

    2011-01-01

    The algebra-based introductory statistics course is the most popular undergraduate course in statistics. While there is a general consensus for the content of the curriculum, the recent Guidelines for Assessment and Instruction in Statistics Education (GAISE) have challenged the pedagogy of this course. Additionally, some arguments have been made…

  16. Influences of Learning Environment Characteristics on Student Learning During Authentic Science Inquiry in an Introductory Physical Geology Course

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Miller, H. R.; Sell, K. S.; Herbert, B. E.

    2004-12-01

    Shifts in learning goals in introductory earth science courses to greater emphasis on critical thinking and the nature of science has led to the adoption of new pedagogical techniques, including inquiry-based learning (IBL). IBL is thought to support understanding of the nature of science and foster development of scientific reasoning and critical thinking skills by modeling authentic science inquiry. Implementation of new pedagogical techniques do not occur without influence, instruction and learning occurs in a complex learning environment, referring to the social, physical, mental, and pedagogical contexts. This study characterized the impact of an IBL module verses a traditionally structured laboratory exercise in an introductory physical geology class at Texas A&M University. Student activities in this study included manipulation of large-scale data sets, use of multiple representations, and exposure to ill-constrained problems common to the Texas Gulf Coast system. Formative assessment data collected included an initial survey of self efficacy, student demographics, content knowledge and a pre-mental model expression. Summative data collected included a post-test, post-mental model expression, final laboratory report, and a post-survey on student attitudes toward the module. Mental model expressions and final reports were scored according to a validated rubric instrument (Cronbrach alpha: 0.84-0.98). Nine lab sections were randomized into experimental and control groups. Experimental groups were taught using IBL pedagogical techniques, while the control groups were taught using traditional laboratory "workbook" techniques. Preliminary assessment based on rubric scores for pre-tests using Student's t-test (N ˜ 140) indicated that the experimental and control groups were not significantly different (ρ > 0.05), therefore, the learning environment likely impacted student's ability to succeed. A non-supportive learning environment, including student attitudes

  17. Development and calibration of a concept inventory to measure introductory college astronomy and physics students' understanding of Newtonian gravity

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Williamson, Kathryn Elizabeth

    The topic of Newtonian gravity offers a unique vantage point from which to investigate and encourage conceptual change because it is something with which everyone has daily experience, and because it is taught in two courses that reach a wide variety of students - introductory-level college astronomy ("Astro 101") and physics ("Phys 101"). Informed by the constructivist theory of learning, this study characterizes and measures Astro 101 and Phys 101 students' understanding of Newtonian gravity within four conceptual domains - Directionality, Force Law, Independence of Other Forces, and Threshold. A phenomenographic analysis of Astro 101 student-supplied responses to open-ended questions about gravity results in the characterization of students' alternative mental models and misapplications of the scientific model. These student difficulties inform the development of a multiple-choice assessment instrument, the Newtonian Gravity Concept Inventory (NGCI). Classical Test Theory (CTT) statistics, student interviews, and expert review show that the NGCI is a reliable and valid tool for assessing both Astro 101 and Phys 101 students' understanding of gravity. Furthermore, the NGCI can provide extensive and robust information about differences between Astro 101 and Phys 101 students and curricula. Comparing and contrasting the Astro 101 and Phys 101 CTT values and student response patterns shows qualitative differences in each of the four conceptual domains. Additionally, performing an Item Response Theory (IRT) analysis of NGCI student response data calibrates item parameters for all Astro 101 and Phys 101 courses and provides Newtonian gravity ability estimates for each student. Physics students show significantly higher pre-instruction and post-instruction IRT abilities than astronomy students, but they show approximately equal gains. To investigate the differential effect of Astro 101 compared to Phys 101 curricula on students' overall post-instruction Newtonian

  18. Patterns in Nature Forming Patterns in Minds: An Evaluation of an Introductory Physics Unit

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sheaffer, Christopher Ryan

    Educators are increasingly focused on the process over the content. In science especially, teachers want students to understand the nature of science and investigation. The emergence of scientific inquiry and engineering design teaching methods have led to the development of new teaching and evaluation methods that concentrate on steps in a process rather than facts in a topic. Research supports the notion that an explicit focus on the scientific process can lead to student science knowledge gains. In response to new research and standards many teachers have been developing teaching methods that seem to work well in their classrooms, but lack the time and resources to test them in other classroom environments. A high school Physics teacher (Bradford Hill) has developed a unit called Patterns in Nature (PIN) with objectives relating mathematical modeling to the scientific process. Designed for use in his large public school classroom, the unit was taken and used in a charter school with small classes. This study looks at specifically whether or not the PIN unit effectively teaches students how to graph the data they gather and fit an appropriate mathematical pattern, using that model to predict future measurements. Additionally, the study looks at the students' knowledge and views about the nature of science and the process of scientific investigation as it is affected by the PIN unit. Findings show that students are able to identify and apply patterns to data, but have difficulties explaining the meaning of the math. Students' show increases in their knowledge of the process of science, and the majority develop positive views about science in general. A major goal of this study is to place this unit in the cyclical process of Design-Based Research and allow for Pattern in Nature's continuous improvement, development and evaluation. Design-Based Research (DBR) is an approach that can be applied to the implementation and evaluation of classroom materials. This method

  19. The effectiveness of using multimedia computer simulations coupled with social constructivist pedagogy in a college introductory physics classroom

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chou, Chiu-Hsiang

    Electricity and Magnetism is legendarily considered a subject incomprehensible to the students in the college introductory level. From a social constructivist perspective, learners are encouraged to assess the quantity and the quality of prior knowledge in a subject domain and to co-construct shared knowledge and understanding by implementing and building on each other's ideas. They become challenged by new data and perspectives thus stimulate a reconceptualization of knowledge and to be actively engaged in discovering new meanings based on experiences grounded in the real-world phenomena they are expected to learn. This process is categorized as a conceptual change learning environment and can facilitate learning of E & M. Computer simulations are an excellent tool to assist the teacher and leaner in achieving these goals and were used in this study. This study examined the effectiveness of computer simulations within a conceptual change learning environment and compared it to more lecture-centered, traditional ways of teaching E & M. An experimental and control group were compared and the following differences were observed. Statistic analyses were done with ANOVA (F-test). The results indicated that the treatment group significantly outperformed the control group on the achievement test, F(1,54) = 12.34, p <.05 and the treatment group had a higher rate of improvement than the control group on two subscales: Isolation of Variables and Abstract Transformation. The results from the Maryland Physics Expectations Survey (MPEX) showed that the treatment students became more field independent and were aware of more fundamental role played by physics concepts in complex problem solving. The protocol analysis of structured interviews revealed that students in the treatment group tended to visualize the problem from different aspects and articulated what they thought in a more scientific approach. Responses to the instructional evaluation questionnaire indicated

  20. How are learning physics and student beliefs about learning physics connected? Measuring epistemological self-reflection in an introductory course and investigating its relationship to conceptual learning

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    May, David B.

    2002-11-01

    To explore students' epistemological beliefs in a variety of conceptual domains in physics, and in a specific and novel context of measurement, this Dissertation makes use of Weekly Reports, a class assignment in which students reflect in writing on what they learn each week and how they learn it. Reports were assigned to students in the introductory physics course for honors engineering majors at The Ohio State University in two successive years. The Weekly Reports of several students from the first year were analyzed for the kinds of epistemological beliefs exhibited therein, called epistemological self-reflection, and a coding scheme was developed for categorizing and quantifying this reflection. The connection between epistemological self-reflection and conceptual learning in physics seen in a pilot study was replicated in a larger study, in which the coded reflections from the Weekly Reports of thirty students were correlated with their conceptual learning gains. Although the total amount of epistemological self-reflection was not found to be related to conceptual gain, different kinds of epistemological self-reflection were. Describing learning physics concepts in terms of logical reasoning and making personal connections were positively correlated with gains; describing learning from authority figures or by observing phenomena without making inferences were negatively correlated. Linear regression equations were determined in order to quantify the effects on conceptual gain of specific ways of describing learning. In an experimental test of this model, the regression equations and the Weekly Report coding scheme developed from the first year's data were used to predict the conceptual gains of thirty students from the second year. The prediction was unsuccessful, possibly because these students were not given as much feedback on their reflections as were the first-year students. These results show that epistemological beliefs are important factors affecting

  1. Lessons learned: A case study of an integrated way of teaching introductory physics to at-risk students at Rutgers University

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Etkina, E.; Gibbons, K.; Holton, B. L.; Horton, G. K.

    1999-09-01

    In order to provide a physics instructional environment in which at-risk students (particularly women and minorities) can successfully learn and enjoy introductory physics, we have introduced Extended General Physics as an option for science, science teaching, and pre-health professions majors at Rutgers University. We have taught the course for the last five years. In this new course, we have used many elements that have been proven to be successful in physics instruction. We have added a new component, the minilab, stressing qualitative experiments performed by the students. By integrating all the elements, and structuring the time the students invest in the course, we have created a successful program for students-at-risk, indeed for all students. Our aim was not only to foster successful mastery of the traditional physics syllabus by the students, but to create a sense of community through the cooperation of students with each other and their instructors. We present a template for implementation of our program elsewhere.

  2. Promoting Success in the Physical Sciences: The University of Wisconsin's Physics Learning Program

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nossal, S. M.; Jacob, A. T.

    2002-05-01

    The Physics Learning Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison provides small group, academic and mentoring support for students enrolled in algebra-based introductory physics courses. Those students accepted into our program are potentially at-risk academically in their physics course or for feeling isolated at the University. They include, among others, students who have not taken high school physics, returning adults, minority students, students with disabilities, and students with English as a second language. A core component of the program is the peer-lead teaching and mentoring groups that match upper level undergraduate physics majors with students potentially at-risk in introductory physics. The tutors receive ongoing training and supervision throughout the year. The program has expanded over the years to include staff tutors, the majority of whom are scientists who seek additional teaching experience. The Physics Peer Mentor Tutor Program is run in collaboration with a similar chemistry program at the University of Wisconsin's Chemistry Learning Center. We will describe our Physics Learning Programs and discuss some of the challenges, successes, and strategies used to work with our tutors and students.

  3. NUCLEAR SCIENCE, AN INTRODUCTORY COURSE.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    SULCOSKI, JOHN W.

    THIS CURRICULUM GUIDE DESCRIBES A TWELFTH-GRADE INTERDISCIPLINARY, INTRODUCTORY NUCLEAR SCIENCE COURSE. IT IS BELIEVED TO FILL THE NEED FOR AN ADVANCED COURSE THAT IS TIMELY, CHALLENGING, AND APPROPRIATE AS A SEQUENTIAL ADDITION TO THE BIOLOGY-CHEMISTRY-PHYSICS SEQUENCE. PRELIMINARY INFORMATION COVERS SUCH MATTERS AS (1) RADIOISOTOPE WORK AREAS,…

  4. PREPARATION AND EVALUATION IN USE OF A SERIES OF BRIEF FILMS OF SELECTED DEMONSTRATIONS FROM THE INTRODUCTORY COLLEGE PHYSICS COURSE.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    TENDAM, D.J.; AND OTHERS

    AN ATTEMPT WAS MADE TO ASCERTAIN WHETHER MOTION PICTURE FILMS OF SELECTED PHYSICS DEMONSTRATION EXPERIMENTS WERE AS EFFECTIVE AS DEMONSTRATIONS PERFORMED DURING COLLEGE PHYSICS LECTURES. A SECOND OBJECTIVE WAS TO DETERMINE WHETHER STUDENTS WOULD TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE OPPORTUNITY TO VIEW SOME EXPERIMENTS ON FILM OUTSIDE OF CLASS ON A VOLUNTARY…

  5. Use of Bratwurst Sausage as a Model Cadaver in Introductory Physics for the Life Sciences Lab Experiments

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Sidebottom, David

    2015-01-01

    The general physics course that is taught in most departments as a service course for pre-med or pre-health students is undergoing a large shift in course content to better appeal to this group of learners. This revision also extends to the laboratory component, where more emphasis is being placed on teaching physics through biological examples.…

  6. Correlating Student Interest and High School Preparation with Learning and Performance in an Introductory University Physics Course

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Harlow, Jason J.?B.; Harrison, David M.; Meyertholen, Andrew

    2014-01-01

    We have studied the correlation of student performance in a large first year university physics course with their reasons for taking the course and whether or not the student took a senior-level high school physics course. Performance was measured both by the Force Concept Inventory and by the grade on the final examination. Students who took the…

  7. Exploring Algebra Based Problem Solving Methods and Strategies of Spanish-Speaking High School Students

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Hernandez, Andrea C.

    2013-01-01

    This dissertation analyzes differences found in Spanish-speaking middle school and high school students in algebra-based problem solving. It identifies the accuracy differences between word problems presented in English, Spanish and numerically based problems. The study also explores accuracy differences between each subgroup of Spanish-speaking…

  8. Investigation of students' reasoning regarding heat, work, and the first law of thermodynamics in an introductory calculus-based general physics course

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Meltzer, David E.

    2004-11-01

    Students in an introductory university physics course were found to share many substantial difficulties related to learning fundamental topics in thermal physics. Responses to written questions by 653 students in three separate courses were consistent with the results of detailed individual interviews with 32 students in a fourth course. Although most students seemed to acquire a reasonable grasp of the state-function concept, it was found that there was a widespread and persistent tendency to improperly over-generalize this concept to apply to both work and heat. A large majority of interviewed students thought that net work done or net heat absorbed by a system undergoing a cyclic process must be zero, and only 20% or fewer were able to make effective use of the first law of thermodynamics even after instruction. Students' difficulties seemed to stem in part from the fact that heat, work, and internal energy share the same units. The results were consistent with those of previously published studies of students in the U.S. and Europe, but portray a pervasiveness of confusion regarding process-dependent quantities that has been previously unreported. Significant enhancements of current standard instruction may be required for students to master basic thermodynamic concepts.

  9. Demonstrations in Introductory Geophysics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schramm, K. A.; Stein, S.; van der Lee, S.; Swafford, L.; Klosko, E.; Delaughter, J.; Wysession, M.

    2005-12-01

    Geophysical concepts are challenging to teach at introductory levels, because students need to understand both the underlying physics and its geological application. To address this, our introductory courses include class demonstrations and experiments to demonstrate underlying physical principles and their geological applications. Demonstrations and experiments have several advantages over computer simulations. First, computer simulations "work" even if the basic principle is wrong. In contrast, simple demonstrations show that a principle is physically correct, rather than a product of computer graphics. Second, many students are unfamiliar with once-standard experiments demonstrating ideas of classical physics used in geophysics. Demonstrations are chosen that we consider stimulating, relevant, inexpensive, and easy to conduct in a non-lab classroom. These come in several groups. Many deal with aspects of seismic waves, using springs, light beams, and other methods such as talking from outside the room to illustrate the frequency dependence of diffraction (hearing but not seeing around a corner). Others deal with heat and mass transfer, such as illustrating fractional crystallization with apple juice and the surface/volume effect in planetary evolution with ice. Plate motions are illustrated with paper cutouts showing effects like motion on transform faults and how the Euler vector geometry changes a plate boundary from spreading, to strike-slip, to convergence along the Pacific-North America boundary from the Gulf of California to Alaska. Radioactive decay is simulated by having the class rise and sit down as a result of coin flips (one tail versus two gives different decay rates and hence half lives). This sessions' goal of exchanging information about demonstrations is an excellent idea: some of ours are described on http://www.earth.nwu.edu/people/seth/202.

  10. Correlating student interest and high school preparation with learning and performance in an introductory university physics course

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Harlow, Jason J. B.; Harrison, David M.; Meyertholen, Andrew

    2014-06-01

    We have studied the correlation of student performance in a large first year university physics course with their reasons for taking the course and whether or not the student took a senior-level high school physics course. Performance was measured both by the Force Concept Inventory and by the grade on the final examination. Students who took the course primarily for their own interest outperformed students who took the course primarily because it was required, both on the Force Concept Inventory and on the final examination; students who took a senior-level high school physics course outperformed students who did not, also both on the Force Concept Inventory and on the final exam. Students who took the course for their own interest and took high school physics outperformed students who took the course because it was required and did not take high school physics by a wide margin. However, the normalized gain on the Force Concept Inventory was the same within uncertainties for all groups and subgroups of students.

  11. Use of Research-Based Instructional Strategies in Introductory Physics: Where Do Faculty Leave the Innovation-Decision Process?

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Henderson, Charles; Dancy, Melissa; Niewiadomska-Bugaj, Magdalena

    2012-01-01

    During the fall of 2008 a web survey, designed to collect information about pedagogical knowledge and practices, was completed by a representative sample of 722 physics faculty across the United States (50.3% response rate). This paper presents partial results to describe how 20 potential predictor variables correlate with faculty knowledge about…

  12. Evaluating the ability of novices to identify and quantify physical demand elements following an introductory education session: A pilot study.

    PubMed

    Coffey, Brendan; VanderGriendt, Curtis; Fischer, Steven L

    2016-05-01

    A Physical Demands Description (PDD) is a resource that describes the physical demands of a job in a systematic way. PDD data are commonly used to make legal, medical, and monetary decisions related to work. Despite the fundamental importance of a PDD, data are often gathered by novice or early career ergonomists, where we have limited knowledge regarding their proficiency in performing PDDs. The purpose of this pilot study was to evaluate novices' proficiency in identifying and quantifying physical demands elements embedded within three job simulations, following a formal PDD education session. The education session was based on the revised Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers (OHCOW, 2014) PDD Handbook. Participants were able to identify physical demands elements with an average success rate of 80%, but were often unable to accurately quantify measures related to each element within a prescribed error threshold of 10%. These data suggest that practitioners should exercise caution when sending novice ergonomists out on their own to complete PDDs. PMID:26851462

  13. How to Teach Yourself Physical Skills: An Audio Tape for College Students with Some Introductory Comments and a Detailed Outline.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Hodges, Daniel L.

    This guide provides a detailed summary of the information, techniques, and examples offered in an audiotape developed to help students teach themselves physical skills. After section I introduces the topic and the objectives of the tape, section II provides concrete examples of adults learning motor skills. Section III presents and discusses nine…

  14. Using In-class Group Exercises to Enhance Lectures and Provide Introductory Physics Students an Opportunity to Perfect Problem Solving Skills through Interactions with Fellow Students

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Trout, Joseph; Bland, Jared

    2013-03-01

    In this pilot project, one hour of lecture time was replaced with one hour of in-class assignments, which groups of students collaborated on. These in-class assignments consisted of problems or projects selected for the calculus-based introductory physics students The first problem was at a level of difficulty that the majority of the students could complete with a small to moderate amount of difficulty. Each successive problem was increasingly more difficult, the last problem being having a level of difficulty that was beyond the capabilities of the majority of the students and required some instructor intervention. The students were free to choose their own groups. Students were encouraged to interact and help each other understand. The success of the in-class exercises were measured using pre-tests and post-tests. The pre-test and post-test were completed by each student independently. Statistics were also compiled on each student's attendance record and the amount of time spent reading and studying, as reported by the student. Statistics were also completed on the student responses when asked if they had sufficient time to complete the pre-test and post-test and if they would have completed the test with the correct answers if they had more time. The pre-tests and post-tests were not used in the computation of the grades of the students.

  15. University Students Explaining Adiabatic Compression of an Ideal Gas—A New Phenomenon in Introductory Thermal Physics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Leinonen, Risto; Asikainen, Mervi A.; Hirvonen, Pekka E.

    2012-12-01

    This study focuses on second-year university students' explanations and reasoning related to adiabatic compression of an ideal gas. The phenomenon was new to the students, but it was one which they should have been capable of explaining using their previous upper secondary school knowledge. The students' explanations and reasoning were investigated with the aid of paper and pencil tests ( n = 86) and semi-structured interviews ( n = 5) at the start of a thermal physics course at the University of Eastern Finland. The paper and pencil test revealed that the students had difficulties in applying content taught during earlier education in a new context: only a few of them were able to produce a correct explanation for the phenomenon. A majority of the students used either explanations with invalid but physically correct models, such as the ideal gas law or a microscopic model, or erroneous dependencies between quantities. The results also indicated that students had problems in seeing deficiencies or inconsistencies in their reasoning, in both test and interview situations. We suggest in our conclusion that the contents of upper secondary school thermal physics courses should be carefully examined to locate the best emphases for different laws, principles, concepts, and models. In particular, the limitations of models should be made explicit in teaching and students should be guided towards critical scientific thinking, including metaconceptual awareness.

  16. Taking inquiry to the next level: Tablet PC's to stimulate active learning and unify introductory physics curriculum

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bykov, Tikhon; Kosheleva, Yelena

    2009-03-01

    A project has been started in 2005 to design innovative curriculum for the intro physics courses at McMurry University. The project is rooted in science education research and ideas from the NFW. The goal is to achieve better integration of traditional course components by means of instructional design and technology. First, a system of flexible curriculum modules with emphasis on inquiry-based teaching has been introduced. Second, technology is used to improve continuity among module components (lecture/lab/discussion) and stimulate active learning. Enabling technology suite incorporates Tablet PC's and software applications including java-based Physlets, tablet-adapted personal response systems, and PASCO data acquisition systems. Lab curriculum has been modified to accommodate for different learning styles, and levels of baseline knowledge. Activity options and pre-lab Physlet-based assignments were added. To enhance knowledge generalization, multiple experiments are used to illustrate different aspects of the same physics phenomenon. Physlet-based problems were adapted for student peer group discussions. Student feedback showed that modifications were beneficial. Student knowledge assessment, performed with the FCI test, indicated improvement in student learning.

  17. Clifford algebra-based spatio-temporal modelling and analysis for complex geo-simulation data

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Luo, Wen; Yu, Zhaoyuan; Hu, Yong; Yuan, Linwang

    2013-10-01

    The spatio-temporal data simulating Ice-Land-Ocean interaction of Antarctic are used to demonstrate the Clifford algebra-based data model construction, spatio-temporal query and data analysis. The results suggest that Clifford algebra provides a powerful mathematical tool for the whole modelling and analysis chains for complex geo-simulation data. It can also help implement spatio-temporal analysis algorithms more clearly and simply.

  18. Students' confidence in the ability to transfer basic math skills in introductory physics and chemistry courses at a community college

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Quinn, Reginald

    2013-01-01

    The purpose of this study was to examine the confidence levels that community college students have in transferring basic math skills to science classes, as well as any factors that influence their confidence levels. This study was conducted with 196 students at a community college in central Mississippi. The study was conducted during the month of November after all of the students had taken their midterm exams and received midterm grades. The instrument used in this survey was developed and validated by the researcher. The instrument asks the students to rate how confident they were in working out specific math problems and how confident they were in working problems using those specific math skills in physics and chemistry. The instrument also provided an example problem for every confidence item. Results revealed that students' demographics were significant predictors in confidence scores. Students in the 18-22 year old range were less confident in solving math problems than others. Students who had retaken a math course were less confident than those who had not. Chemistry students were less confident in solving math problems than those in physics courses. Chemistry II students were less confident than those in Chemistry I and Principals of Chemistry. Students were least confident in solving problems involving logarithms and the most confident in solving algebra problems. In general, students felt that their math courses did not prepare them for the math problems encountered in science courses. There was no significant difference in confidence between students who had completed their math homework online and those who had completed their homework on paper. The researcher recommends that chemistry educators find ways of incorporating more mathematics in their courses especially logarithms and slope. Furthermore, math educators should incorporate more chemistry related applications to math class. Results of hypotheses testing, conclusions, discussions, and

  19. Use of research-based instructional strategies in introductory physics: Where do faculty leave the innovation-decision process?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Henderson, Charles; Dancy, Melissa; Niewiadomska-Bugaj, Magdalena

    2012-12-01

    During the fall of 2008 a web survey, designed to collect information about pedagogical knowledge and practices, was completed by a representative sample of 722 physics faculty across the United States (50.3% response rate). This paper presents partial results to describe how 20 potential predictor variables correlate with faculty knowledge about and use of research-based instructional strategies (RBIS). The innovation-decision process was conceived of in terms of four stages: knowledge versus no knowledge, trial versus no trial, continuation versus discontinuation, and high versus low use. The largest losses occur at the continuation stage, with approximately 1/3 of faculty discontinuing use of all RBIS after trying one or more of these strategies. Nine of the predictor variables were statistically significant for at least one of these stages when controlling for other variables. Knowledge and/or use of RBIS are significantly correlated with reading teaching-related journals, attending talks and workshops related to teaching, attending the physics and astronomy new faculty workshop, having an interest in using more RBIS, being female, being satisfied with meeting instructional goals, and having a permanent, full-time position. The types of variables that are significant at each stage vary substantially. These results suggest that common dissemination strategies are good at creating knowledge about RBIS and motivation to try a RBIS, but more work is needed to support faculty during implementation and continued use of RBIS. Also, contrary to common assumptions, faculty age, institutional type, and percentage of job related to teaching were not found to be barriers to knowledge or use at any stage. High research productivity and large class sizes were not found to be barriers to use of at least some RBIS.

  20. The Use of Research-Based Instructional Strategies in Introductory Physics: Where do Faculty Leave the Innovation-Decision Process?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Henderson, Charles; Dancy, Melissa; Niewiadomska-Bugaj, Magdalena

    2013-03-01

    During the Fall of 2008 a web survey was completed by a representative sample of 722 United States physics faculty. In this talk we will briefly present summary statistics to describe faculty knowledge about and use of 24 specific research-based instructional strategies (RBIS). We will then analyze the results based on a four stage model of the innovation-decision process: knowledge, trial, continuation, and high use. The largest losses occur at the continuation stage, with approximately 1/3 of faculty discontinuing use of all RBIS after trying one or more of these strategies. These results suggest that common dissemination strategies are good at creating knowledge about RBIS and motivation to try a RBIS, but more work is needed to support faculty during implementation and continued use of RBIS. Based on a logistic regression analysis, only nine of the 20 potential predictor variables measured were statistically significant when controlling for other variables. Faculty age, institutional type, and percentage of job related to teaching were not found to be correlated with knowledge or use at any stage. High research productivity and large class sizes were not found to be barriers to use of at least some RBIS. Supported by NSF #0715698.

  1. PREFACE: Introductory remarks Introductory remarks

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bowler, D. R.; Alfe, D.

    2010-02-01

    This special issue contains papers related to the 2009 Thomas Young Centre Workshop at University College London 'Accessing large length and time scales with accurate quantum methods', in celebration of Professor Michael Gillan's 65th birthday. Mike Gillan won the 2006 Institute of Physics Dirac Medal and Prize, the citation reading: 'For his contributions to the development of atomic-scale computer simulations, which have greatly extended their power and effectiveness over an immense range of applications'. This rightly highlights Mike's seminal work on materials modelling, but misses out some of the many other areas he has enriched. After taking his PhD at the Department of Theoretical Physics, Oxford University, Mike went as a post-doc to Minneapolis. He then joined the Statistical Physics Group in the Theoretical Physics Division, Harwell, where he stayed for over 20 years, with a brief interlude in Saclay. In the late 1980s, Mike made a transition to become Professor of Physics at the University of Keele, where he stayed for a decade until University College London was fortunate in being able to tempt him to join the Condensed Matter and Material Physics Group, where there was already a significant materials modelling initiative. Over the years, Mike has made many important contributions, some with impact on other areas of science, others with significance in technology areas such as nuclear safety. Thus, he developed a form of quantum transition-state theory, generalizing Eyring's well-known classical transition-state theory to the case of quantum particles, such as hydrogen, diffusing in condensed matter. He pioneered quantum methods for calculating defect energetics in solids, and then molecular processes on surfaces. He synthesised these approaches into very general ways to calculate thermodynamic free energies of condensed matter from first principles, drawing on his early experience of statistical physics. These methods led to rapid advances in the study

  2. Introductory remarks

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Oka, Takeshi

    2006-11-01

    In February and March 1990 the US Army Corps of Engineers Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory (CRREL) made measurements of superstructure ice on a US Coast Guard cutter in the Bering Sea. Twenty-three ice samples were removed from bulkheads, decks and icicles during two icing events. Ice crystal measurements included crystal size, shape, orientation, brine-pocket location, size and shape, internal layering, and air-bubble sizes. Ice property measurements included salinity, density and temperature, with computed estimates of air and brine volume. This paper describes crystal and physical properties of the accreted ice and their relationship to ice sample position on the ship. Texturally, accreted ice resembled frazil ice that forms from the consolidation of freely nucleated ice crystals in sea water. This resemblance is also reflected in bulk salinities, ranging from 24° to 7°, compared with frazil formed during the initial stages of freezing of sea water, where bulk salinities can exceed 10°. Crystalline structures of accreted ice ranged from rounded to polygonal. Generally, rounded crystals would be expected for ice formed from sea-spray droplets, polygonal crystals may be attributed to thermally driven modification. No trend towards reorientation of crystallographic c-axes in either freshly accreted or thermally modified ice was observed. Mean crystal sizes ranged from 0.56 mm to 1.15 mm, with even larger crystals in icicles. Ice salinity averaged ca.12° on bulkheads and ca.21° on decks. Ice densities ranged from 0.69 to 0.92 Mg m-3 and were generally higher on decks. Bulkhead ice had larger computed total porosity and air volume and lower brine volume than deck ice. Samples taken from decks and bulkheads generally compared well with Russian and Japanese measurements. Keywords: SALINE SPRAY ICE SHIP ICING ICE CRYSTALS POROSITY SALINITY DENSITY Full Text Access Full Text Available The full text of this article is available. You may view the

  3. Implementing and Assessing Computational Modeling in Introductory Mechanics

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Caballero, Marcos D.; Kohlmyer, Matthew A.; Schatz, Michael F.

    2012-01-01

    Students taking introductory physics are rarely exposed to computational modeling. In a one-semester large lecture introductory calculus-based mechanics course at Georgia Tech, students learned to solve physics problems using the VPython programming environment. During the term, 1357 students in this course solved a suite of 14 computational…

  4. Accelerator-based Experiments For Introductory-level Undergraduates

    SciTech Connect

    Sanders, Justin M.

    2009-03-10

    Although accelerator based experiments for undergraduates are often considered only for junior or senior physics majors, introductory students can also benefit from them. Rutherford backscattering and a {sup 12}C(p,p){sup 12}C elastic scattering resonance can be presented in ways that are well-suited for students who have taken only an introductory physics course.

  5. Integrating Mathematics into the Introductory Biology Laboratory Course

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    White, James D.; Carpenter, Jenna P.

    2008-01-01

    Louisiana Tech University has an integrated science curriculum for its mathematics, chemistry, physics, computer science, biology-research track and secondary mathematics and science education majors. The curriculum focuses on the calculus sequence and introductory labs in biology, physics, and chemistry. In the introductory biology laboratory…

  6. The Introductory Sociology Survey

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Best, Joel

    1977-01-01

    The Introductory Sociology Survey (ISS) is designed to teach introductory students basic skills in developing causal arguments and in using a computerized statistical package to analyze survey data. Students are given codebooks for survey data and asked to write a brief paper predicting the relationship between at least two variables. (Author)

  7. From Everyday Life Experiences to Physics Understanding Occurring in Small Group Work with Context Rich Problems during Introductory Physics Work at University

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Enghag, Margareta; Gustafsson, Peter; Jonsson, Gunnar

    2007-01-01

    How do students bridge everyday life views into physics understanding? We report from in-depth analysis of one group of four students, video-recorded over 135 min solving a context rich problem (CRP). Through transcripts of the group's conversations and from flow-charts made of the group talk we have categorised how students' experiences develop…

  8. Diversifying the Introductory Physics Laboratory.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Jewett, John W., Jr.; Lessie, Douglas

    1983-01-01

    Describes a two-semester laboratory program designed to motivate students. The program consists of computer-oriented modules and discovery approach laboratory exercises. Students complete similar computer/laboratory material during the first semester but elect one of three tracks during the second semester (computer, every-day life, and…

  9. Free Energy in Introductory Physics

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Prentis, Jeffrey J.; Obsniuk, Michael J.

    2016-01-01

    Energy and entropy are two of the most important concepts in science. For all natural processes where a system exchanges energy with its environment, the energy of the system tends to decrease and the entropy of the system tends to increase. Free energy is the special concept that specifies how to balance the opposing tendencies to minimize energy…

  10. The Physics Learning Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nossal, S. M.; Watson, L. E.; Hooper, E.; Huesmann, A.; Schenker, B.; Timbie, P.; Rzchowski, M.

    2013-03-01

    The Physics Learning Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison provides academic support and small-group supplemental instruction to students studying introductory algebra-based and calculus-based physics. These classes are gateway courses for majors in the biological and physical sciences, pre-health fields, engineering, and secondary science education. The Physics Learning Center offers supplemental instruction groups twice weekly where students can discuss concepts and practice with problem-solving techniques. The Center also provides students with access on-line resources that stress conceptual understanding, and to exam review sessions. Participants in our program include returning adults, people from historically underrepresented racial/ethnic groups, students from families in lower-income circumstances, students in the first generation of their family to attend college, transfer students, veterans, and people with disabilities, all of whom might feel isolated in their large introductory course and thus have a more difficult time finding study partners. We also work with students potentially at-risk for having academic difficulty (due to factors academic probation, weak math background, low first exam score, or no high school physics). A second mission of the Physics Learning Center is to provide teacher training and leadership experience for undergraduate Peer Mentor Tutors. These Peer Tutors lead the majority of the weekly group sessions in close supervision by PLC staff members. We will describe our work to support students in the Physics Learning Center, including our teacher-training program for our undergraduate Peer Mentor Tutors

  11. Facilitating Case Reuse during Problem Solving in Algebra-Based Physics

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Mateycik, Frances Ann

    2010-01-01

    This research project investigates students' development of problem solving schemata while using strategies that facilitate the process of using solved examples to assist with a new problem (case reuse). Focus group learning interviews were used to explore students' perceptions and understanding of several problem solving strategies. Individual…

  12. Scoring Student-Generated Concept Maps in Introductory College Chemistry.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Schreiber, Deborah A.; Abegg, Gerald L.

    This study presents a quantitative method for scoring concept maps generated by students learning introductory college chemistry. Concept maps measure the amount of chemical information the student possesses, reasoning ability in chemistry, and specific misconceptions about introductory and physical chemistry concepts. They provide a visualization…

  13. Microbiology in Introductory Biology.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Callery, Michael L.; And Others

    1980-01-01

    Describes a microbiology unit developed for an introductory college biology course in which the identity of an unknown bacterium is determined. Also described is an interactive taxonomy computer program which aids in the identity of the unknown organism. (CS)

  14. A New Approach to Analyzing the Cognitive Load in Physics Problems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Teodorescu, Raluca

    2010-02-01

    I will present a Taxonomy of Introductory Physics Problems (TIPP), which relates physics problems to the cognitive processes and the knowledge required to solve them. TIPP was created for designing and clarifying educational objectives, for developing assessments to evaluate components of the problem-solving process, and for guiding curriculum design in introductory physics courses. To construct TIPP, I considered processes that have been identified either by cognitive science and expert-novice research or by direct observation of students' behavior while solving physics problems. Based on Marzano and Kendall's taxonomy [1], I developed a procedure to classify physics problems according to the cognitive processes that they involve and the knowledge to which they refer. The procedure is applicable to any physics problem and its validity and reliability have been confirmed. This algorithm was then used to build TIPP, which is a database that contains text-based and research-based physics problems and explains their relationship to cognitive processes and knowledge. TIPP has been used in the years 2006--2009 to reform the first semester of the introductory algebra-based physics course at The George Washington University. The reform targeted students' cognitive development and attitudes improvement. The methodology employed in the course involves exposing students to certain types of problems in a variety of contexts with increasing complexity. To assess the effectiveness of our approach, rubrics were created to evaluate students' problem-solving abilities and the Colorado Learning Attitudes about Science Survey (CLASS) was administered pre- and post-instruction to determine students' shift in dispositions towards learning physics. Our results show definitive gains in the areas targeted by our curricular reform.[4pt] [1] R.J. Marzano and J.S. Kendall, The New Taxonomy of Educational Objectives, 2^nd Ed., (Corwin Press, Thousand Oaks, 2007). )

  15. Computational templates for introductory nuclear science using mathcad

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sarantites, D. G.; Sobotka, L. G.

    2013-01-01

    Computational templates used to teach an introductory course in nuclear chemistry and physics at Washington University in St. Louis are presented in brief. The templates cover both basic and applied topics.

  16. Reaching Out: The Bachelor of Arts Degree In Physics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hobson, Art

    1996-05-01

    Physics degrees are not only for physicists. Our department believes that it would be healthy if attorneys, physicians, journalists, politicians, businesspeople, and others had undergraduate degrees in physics. Thus, we have begun offering a Bachelor of Arts degree in physics, for students who want to study physics as a background for other fields such as law (patents, environmental law), medical school, business (high-tech firms), journalism (science reporting, environmental reporting), music (accoustics, electronic music), and essentially any other profession. The program reaches outward, outside of physics, rather than pointing toward further work in physics. It begins with the algebra-based introductory course rather than the calculus-based course for future physicists and engineers. Two new courses are being created to provide these pre-professional students with broad science literacy and knowledge of physics-related technologies. The program is more flexible and less technical than the traditional Bachelor of Science program, allowing students time for outside electives and professional requirements in other fields.

  17. Mythology in Introductory Biology.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Vogel, Steve

    1987-01-01

    Argues that introductory courses in college biology do a poor job of encouraging students to enter a career in biology. Cites examples of poorly written textbooks and treatments of various aspects of biology including basic definitions, cells and their operations, the mechanics of life, the nervous system, evolution and sex. (TW)

  18. Introductory Spanish: Part I.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Dade County Public Schools, Miami, FL.

    This introductory conversational course in Spanish is intended primarily for classroom instruction. The student learns to speak contemporary Spanish through the use of short dialogs which take him from simple school activities to talk about the new student in class. Performance objectives are prescribed for culture study, listening, speaking,…

  19. Introductory Materials Laboratory.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Ritter, John E., Jr.

    Described is an introductory materials science laboratory program which emphasizes crystal structure both on the atomistic and microscopic scale and the dependence of materials properties on structure. The content of this program is classified into four major areas: (1) materials science, (2) mechanical behavior of materials, (3) materials testing…

  20. At the Very Root of the Development of Interest: Using Human Body Contexts to Improve Women's Emotional Engagement in Introductory Physics

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Allaire-Duquette, Geneviève; Charland, Patrick; Riopel, Martin

    2014-01-01

    In physics, women find contexts concerning human biology, medical applications, or natural phenomena highly relevant (Hoffmann, 2002), and the rareness or absence of these in physics curricula may make it more difficult for women to develop and maintain their interest in physics. To date, research in physics education addressing student's…

  1. Clifford algebra-based structure filtering analysis for geophysical vector fields

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yu, Z.; Luo, W.; Yi, L.; Hu, Y.; Yuan, L.

    2013-07-01

    A new Clifford algebra-based vector field filtering method, which combines amplitude similarity and direction difference synchronously, is proposed. Firstly, a modified correlation product is defined by combining the amplitude similarity and direction difference. Then, a structure filtering algorithm is constructed based on the modified correlation product. With custom template and thresholds applied to the modulus and directional fields independently, our approach can reveal not only the modulus similarities but also the classification of the angular distribution. Experiments on exploring the tempo-spatial evolution of the 2002-2003 El Niño from the global wind data field are used to test the algorithm. The results suggest that both the modulus similarity and directional information given by our approach can reveal the different stages and dominate factors of the process of the El Niño evolution. Additional information such as the directional stability of the El Niño can also be extracted. All the above suggest our method can provide a new powerful and applicable tool for geophysical vector field analysis.

  2. Lessons for Introductory Chemistry

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Martin, John S.; Blackburn, Edward V.

    2000-07-01

    These twelve lessons, and an introductory lesson, are tutorials in basic topics of introductory chemistry. They are suitable for school use, individual study, or distance learning. They are particularly valuable as review material for students in more advanced courses who may have been away from the subject for some time. They contain a great variety of problems and exercises driven by random-number generators, so that the same problem never repeats exactly. The lessons are, for the most part, Socratic dialogues in which the student is required to answer questions and perform simulated experiments in order to discover chemical principles. They are organized in an intuitive chapter and page structure. One may move readily around each lesson. There are many on-screen facilities such as help, data tables, and a calculator.

  3. Physics Notes

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    School Science Review, 1976

    1976-01-01

    Described are 13 physics experiments/demonstrations applicable to introductory physics courses. Activities include: improved current balance, division circuits, liquid pressure, convection, siphons, oscillators and modulation, electrical resistance, soap films, Helmholtz coils, radioactive decay, and springs. (SL)

  4. Conceptual physics differences by pedagogy and gender: Questioning the deficit model

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Majors, Twanelle Deann Walker

    The differences in physics performance between males and females have been studied extensively (Blue & Heller, 2003; Coletta, 2015; Madsen, McKagan, & Sayre 2013; McCullough, 2002, 2004, 2011; Pollock, Finkelstein, & Kost, 2007; Zohar & Sela, 2003). The purpose of this study was to look at the ways teaching methods and assessment choices have fabricated a gender gap. Deficit ways of thinking have further marginalized women by renegotiating prior acts of power that initiated and perpetuated marginalization. Outside of the deficit model, the blame for the underperformance of females has been attributed to discourses of power as well as less-than-critical ways of evaluating learning and schooling. Students in introductory algebra-based physics courses from 2008-2014 at Tennessee Technological University were self-enrolled in PHYS2010 sections that were taught using either a traditional or constructivist, interactive-engagement Learner-centered Environment for Algebra-based Physics (LEAP) pedagogy. Propensity scoring on all feasible and relevant independent variables was used to adjust for the probability of students choosing either LEAP or traditional sections. The Force Concept Inventory (FCI) and Gender Force Concept Inventory (GFCI) were used as the measures to gauge students' performance on physics concepts. The results showed that there were no differences in the FCI or GFCI performance of males and females. Results also showed that when accounting for pretest performance and the likelihood of choosing a LEAP section, LEAP pedagogy accounted for roughly 30% of performance differences. Not only was this true on the average, it was true for both genders. This meant that the main effect of LEAP pedagogy was even stronger and more generalizable. Gender did not moderate pedagogy, indicating that a pedagogy gap focus was more appropriate for evaluating physics learners.

  5. Plasma medicine: an introductory review

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kong, M. G.; Kroesen, G.; Morfill, G.; Nosenko, T.; Shimizu, T.; van Dijk, J.; Zimmermann, J. L.

    2009-11-01

    This introductory review on plasma health care is intended to provide the interested reader with a summary of the current status of this emerging field, its scope, and its broad interdisciplinary approach, ranging from plasma physics, chemistry and technology, to microbiology, biochemistry, biophysics, medicine and hygiene. Apart from the basic plasma processes and the restrictions and requirements set by international health standards, the review focuses on plasma interaction with prokaryotic cells (bacteria), eukaryotic cells (mammalian cells), cell membranes, DNA etc. In so doing, some of the unfamiliar terminology—an unavoidable by-product of interdisciplinary research—is covered and explained. Plasma health care may provide a fast and efficient new path for effective hospital (and other public buildings) hygiene—helping to prevent and contain diseases that are continuously gaining ground as resistance of pathogens to antibiotics grows. The delivery of medically active 'substances' at the molecular or ionic level is another exciting topic of research through effects on cell walls (permeabilization), cell excitation (paracrine action) and the introduction of reactive species into cell cytoplasm. Electric fields, charging of surfaces, current flows etc can also affect tissue in a controlled way. The field is young and hopes are high. It is fitting to cover the beginnings in New Journal of Physics, since it is the physics (and non-equilibrium chemistry) of room temperature atmospheric pressure plasmas that have made this development of plasma health care possible.

  6. Propagations of the AAPT New Faculty Workshop: A case study of the infusion of student-centered technological and pedagogical innovations in the introductory physics program at West Point

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sones, Bryndol

    2009-03-01

    Since 2002, the Department of Physics at West Point has been the fortunate recipient of yearly attendance at the AAPT New Faculty Workshop. This sustained involvement has contributed directly to enhancements in our two-semester introductory physics program. Two aspects of West Point's environment make our involvement with the workshop especially fruitful: our diverse students and our frequent faculty turn-over. We teach to over 1100 students with majors across the entire spectrum. The majority of our faculty is an active duty Army officer here for just three years. At West Point, we rely on the workshop as a wellspring for faculty development, technological innovation, and pedagogical refinement. In the past few years, we have incorporated aspects of peer instruction, activity-based learning, and tutorials for student discovery. On the technological side, we now have TabletPCs for faculty, rf response cards (TurningPoint), high speed video analysis (LoggerPro) projects, and video tutoring capabilities (Camtashia). Student achievement is measured through our traditional course evaluation tools as well as nationally recognized standardize tests. Results will are discussed in the presentation.

  7. Introductory Courses and the Search

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Schaffer, Dennis R.; Purohit, Anal

    1975-01-01

    This study surveyed 363 undergraduate students to determine the extent that introductory courses affected their selection of majors, minors, and career goals. The results indicated a significant relationship between an instructor perceived by students as better than average in teaching an introductory course and the selection of a major. (Author)

  8. Surveying Turkish high school and university students' attitudes and approaches to physics problem solving

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Balta, Nuri; Mason, Andrew J.; Singh, Chandralekha

    2016-06-01

    Students' attitudes and approaches to physics problem solving can impact how well they learn physics and how successful they are in solving physics problems. Prior research in the U.S. using a validated Attitude and Approaches to Problem Solving (AAPS) survey suggests that there are major differences between students in introductory physics and astronomy courses and physics experts in terms of their attitudes and approaches to physics problem solving. Here we discuss the validation, administration, and analysis of data for the Turkish version of the AAPS survey for high school and university students in Turkey. After the validation and administration of the Turkish version of the survey, the analysis of the data was conducted by grouping the data by grade level, school type, and gender. While there are no statistically significant differences between the averages of various groups on the survey, overall, the university students in Turkey were more expertlike than vocational high school students. On an item by item basis, there are statistically differences between the averages of the groups on many items. For example, on average, the university students demonstrated less expertlike attitudes about the role of equations and formulas in problem solving, in solving difficult problems, and in knowing when the solution is not correct, whereas they displayed more expertlike attitudes and approaches on items related to metacognition in physics problem solving. A principal component analysis on the data yields item clusters into which the student responses on various survey items can be grouped. A comparison of the responses of the Turkish and American university students enrolled in algebra-based introductory physics courses shows that on more than half of the items, the responses of these two groups were statistically significantly different, with the U.S. students on average responding to the items in a more expertlike manner.

  9. Developing Web-Oriented Homework System to Assess Students' Introductory Physics Course Performance and Compare to Paper-Based Peer Homework

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Demirci, Neset

    2006-01-01

    The World Wide Web influences education and our lives in many ways. Nowadays, Web-based homework has been becoming widespread practice in physics courses and some other courses as well. Although are some disputes whether this is an encouraging or risky development for student learning, there is limited research assessing the pedagogical effect of…

  10. Naive Students' Conceptual Development and Beliefs: The Need for Multiple Analyses to Determine What Contributes to Student Success in a University Introductory Physics Course

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Chu, Hye-Eun; Treagust, David F.; Chandrasegaran, A. L.

    2008-01-01

    This research involved naive physics learners who were interested in majoring in science or engineering. In a semester-long quasi-experimental study, open-ended pretests and weekly interviews were used to analyse the progressive development of students' conceptions relating to sound and wave motion. Semi-structured interviews were also conducted…

  11. Comparative Analysis of a MOOC and a Residential Community Using Introductory College Physics: Documenting How Learning Environments Are Created, Lessons Learned in the Process, and Measurable Outcomes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Olsen, Jack Ryan

    Higher education institutions, such as the University of Colorado Boulder (CU-Boulder), have as a core mission to advance their students' academic performance. On the frontier of education technologies that hold the promise to address our educational mission are Massively Open Online Courses (MOOCs) which are new enough to not be fully understood or well-researched. MOOCs, in theory, have vast potential for being cost-effective and for reaching diverse audiences across the world. This thesis examines the implementation of one MOOC, Physics 1 for Physical Science Majors, implemented in the augural round of institutionally sanctioned MOOCs in Fall 2013. While comparatively inexpensive to a brick-and-mortar course and while it initially enrolled audience of nearly 16,000 students, this MOOC was found to be time-consuming to implement, and only roughly 1.5% of those who enrolled completed the course---approximately 1/4 of those who completed the standard brick and mortar course that the MOOC was designed around. An established education technology, residential communities, contrast the MOOCs by being high-touch and highly humanized, but by being expensive and locally-based. The Andrews Hall Residential College (AHRC) on the CU campus fosters academic success and retention by engaging and networking students outside of the standard brick and mortar courses and enculturating students into an environment with vertical integration through the different classes: freshman, sophomore, junior, etc. The physics MOOC and the AHRC were studied to determine how the environments were made and what lessons were learned in the process. Also, student performance was compared for the physics MOOC, a subset of the AHRC students enrolled in a special physics course, and the standard CU Physics 1 brick and mortar course. All yielded similar learning gains for physics 1 performance, for those who completed the courses. These environments are presented together to compare and contrast their

  12. Life after Introductory Astronomy

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McNamara, B.; Hameed, S.

    2000-12-01

    Beginning astronomy is a popular class for undergraduates, and a fair percentage of these students would take another nontechnical class in this field if one were available. What other courses exist for students to take after introductory astronomy? At NMSU we offer three classes that enroll large numbers of juniors/seniors who are nonscience majors. These classes are (1) Into the Final Frontier: the Human Exploration of Space, (2) The Search for Life in the Universe, (3) and Revolutionary Ideas in Science. Curricula for these classes, teaching strategies, and course materials will be provided in this poster presentation for those wishing to offer similar classes at their institutions. Some of th work presented in this poster was support by the NSF and NASA

  13. A Evaluation of a Learning Cycle Intervention Method in Introductory Physical Science Laboratories in Order to Promote Formal Operational thought Process.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shadburn, Randy Glen

    Jean Piaget describes the formal level of reasoning as the most complex. The dissertation examines the Learning Cycle Intervention effectiveness in transferring students from the concrete to the formal level of reasoning required in most science courses. Four major hypotheses were developed to guide the study. The study consisted of 67 physical science students at a two-year community college divided into a control and experimental group. Data were collected in a pretest-posttest format using four different data gathering instruments. Data were then analyzed with t-tests on those four hypotheses. Findings and conclusions of this study were: (1) the learning cycle did not cause a significant difference between groups on the improvement of formal reasoning ability at the established level of significance (alpha =.05), however, there was a difference that was worthy to note; (2) there was a significant difference between groups on the amount of physics content learned with the experimental group achieving better; (3) there was no significant difference between groups in their attitude toward science; and (4) there was a significant difference between groups in their attitude and value of their laboratory experience. The learning cycle showed promise in promoting the transition to the formal level of reasoning. However, the formal reasoning level is difficult to measure and may be a reason for further study. Overall, the students in the experimental group had a better attitude toward the laboratory experience, achieving better on physics content learned. This was attributed to the learning cycle since all other variables were controlled by learning in the classroom. Recommendations include the need for studies of prolonged length to investigate the effects of the learning cycle, particularly on formal reasoning abilities. This study should be replicated using a different subject area to examine the effectiveness of the learning cycle on other disciplines. In addition

  14. 16 CFR 502.101 - Introductory offers.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2010 CFR

    2010-01-01

    ... 16 Commercial Practices 1 2010-01-01 2010-01-01 false Introductory offers. 502.101 Section 502.101... FAIR PACKAGING AND LABELING ACT Retail Sale Price Representations § 502.101 Introductory offers. (a) The term introductory offer means any printed matter consisting of the words “introductory offer”...

  15. Statistical Analysis of Students' Evaluation and Analysis of its Correlation with their Exam Scores on the Teaching of Fundamental Physics in an Introductory Technology Course

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nishida, Masahiko

    Student evaluations of instruction have been conducted through questionnaires in a freshman class for fundamental physics at Kanazawa Institute of Technology. The data from the evaluations are analyzed by principal-component analysis, which reveals three components with an eigenvalue greater than 1. The first and second components are interpreted as the quality of the instruction and the basic scholastic ability of the students evaluating the instruction, respectively. We find that the first component can be controlled by the instructor, but the second one cannot be. Correlation between the data from the student evaluations and students' exam scores is analyzed by multiple-regression analysis, showing that the first two components in the data are significant predictors of the exam scores. The analysis shows that the instructor's effort of improving the quality of the teaching (first component) would be able to significantly raise the students' exam scores.

  16. What Makes Physics Difficult?

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Ornek, Funda; Robinson, William R.; Haugan, Mark P.

    2008-01-01

    According to many students, introductory physics is difficult. We are investigating what students believe makes physics difficult and what can be done to overcome these difficulties. Our investigation includes an initial free-response survey given to approximately 1400 students in an introductory physics course and a second survey, which was given…

  17. What Makes Physics Difficult?

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Ornek, Funda; Robinson, William R.; Haugan, Mark R.

    2007-01-01

    According to many students, introductory physics is difficult. We investigated what students believe makes physics difficult and what can be done to overcome these difficulties. Our investigation included an initial free-response survey given to approximately 1400 students in an introductory physics course and a second survey, which was given to…

  18. Analysis of Student-Evaluation Data on the Teaching of Fundamental Physics in an Introductory Technology Course, Paying Attention to Students‧ Earnestness to Learn

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nishida, Masahiko

    How student evaluations of the teaching of fundamental physics for engineering relate to teaching strategy from academic 2004 to 2006 has been studied, focusing on students‧ earnestness to learn. The teaching emphasized instructing theoretical concepts for 2004 and solving problems for 2005. The instruction during 2006 offered a good balance between the strategy for 2004 and that for 2005. The first and second components produced by principal-component analysis of the evaluation data have indicated the quality of instruction and the scholastic ability of students, respectively, independent of the teaching strategy. While correlation between the second component and the degree of earnestness was positive for 2004 and negative for 2005, the correlation for 2006 has been negligible, as expected. Multiple-regression analysis between the evaluation data and students‧ exam scores has shown little correlation for 2006, in contrast to that for 2004, but similar to that for 2005. Finally, we can say that the teaching strategy for 2006 would lead to educational effects similar to those in 2005 when the exam scores were notably improved.

  19. Introductory lecture: nanoplasmonics.

    PubMed

    Brongersma, Mark L

    2015-01-01

    Nanoplasmonics or nanoscale metal-based optics is a field of science and technology with a tremendously rich and colourful history. Starting with the early works of Michael Faraday on gold nanocolloids and optically-thin gold leaf, researchers have been fascinated by the unusual optical properties displayed by metallic nanostructures. We now can enjoy selecting from over 10 000 publications every year on the topic of plasmonics and the number of publications has been doubling about every three years since 1990. This impressive productivity can be attributed to the significant growth of the scientific community as plasmonics has spread into a myriad of new directions. With 2015 being the International Year of Light, it seems like a perfect moment to review some of the most notable accomplishments in plasmonics to date and to project where the field may be moving next. After discussing some of the major historical developments in the field, this article will analyse how the most successful plasmonics applications are capitalizing on five key strengths of metallic nanostructures. This Introductory Lecture will conclude with a brief look into the future. PMID:25968246

  20. Reinventing college physics for biologists: Explicating an epistemological curriculum

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Redish, Edward F.; Hammer, David

    2009-07-01

    The University of Maryland Physics Education Research Group has done a five-year project to rethink, observe, and reform introductory algebra-based (college) physics, which primarily serves life-science majors. We refocused the class on helping the students learn to think scientifically—to build coherence, think in terms of mechanisms, and to follow the implications of assumptions. We designed the course to tap into students' productive conceptual and epistemological resources, based on a theoretical framework from research on learning. The reformed class retains its traditional structure in terms of time and instructional personnel, but we modified existing best-practices curricular materials. We provided class-controlled spaces for student collaboration, which allowed us to observe and record students learning directly. We also scanned all written homework and examinations and administered pre-post conceptual and epistemological surveys. The reformed class enhanced the strong gains on pre-post conceptual tests produced by the best-practices materials while obtaining unprecedented pre-post gains on epistemological surveys instead of the traditional losses.

  1. Introductory labs; what they don't, should, and can teach (and why)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wieman, Carl

    2016-03-01

    Introductory physics labs are widely used and expensive. They have a wide variety of potential learning goals, but these are seldom specified and less often measured if they are achieved. We cover three different research projects on introductory labs: 1) We have done cognitive task analyses of both experimental research in physics and instructional labs. The striking differences explain much of the unhappiness expressed by students with labs: 2) We have measured the effectiveness of two introductory physics lab courses specifically intended to teach the physics content covered in standard introductory courses on mechanics and E & M. As measured by course exams, the benefit is 0 +/-2% for both. 3) We show how it is possible to use lab courses to teach students to correctly evaluate physical models with uncertain data. Such quantitative critical thinking is an important skill that is not learned in typical lab courses, but is well learned by our modified lab instruction.

  2. Characterizing the Gender Gap in Introductory Physics

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Kost, Lauren E.; Pollock, Steven J.; Finkelstein, Noah D.

    2009-01-01

    Previous research [S. J. Pollock et al., Phys. Rev. ST Phys. Educ. Res. 3, 1 (2007)] showed that despite the use of interactive engagement techniques, the gap in performance between males and females on a conceptual learning survey persisted from pretest to post-test at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Such findings were counter to…

  3. Using the Wiimote in Introductory Physics Experiments

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Ochoa, Romulo; Rooney, Frank G.; Somers, William J.

    2011-01-01

    The Wii is a very popular gaming console. An important component of its appeal is the ease of use of its remote controller, popularly known as a Wiimote. This simple-looking but powerful device has a three-axis accelerometer and communicates with the console via Bluetooth protocol. We present two experiments that demonstrate the feasibility of…

  4. Facilitating Students' Problem Solving across Multiple Representations in Introductory Mechanics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nguyen, Dong-Hai; Gire, Elizabeth; Rebello, N. Sanjay

    2010-10-01

    Solving problems presented in multiple representations is an important skill for future physicists and engineers. However, such a task is not easy for most students taking introductory physics courses. We conducted teaching/learning interviews with 20 students in a first-semester calculus-based physics course on several topics in introductory mechanics. These interviews helped identify the common difficulties students encountered when solving physics problems posed in multiple representations as well as the hints that help students overcome those difficulties. We found that most representational difficulties arise due to the lack of students' ability to associate physics knowledge with corresponding mathematical knowledge. Based on those findings, we developed, tested and refined a set of problem-solving exercises to help students learn to solve problems in graphical and equational representations. We present our findings on students' common difficulties with graphical and equational representations, the problem-solving exercises and their impact on students' problem solving abilities.

  5. The Nature of Introductory Economics Courses.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Koscielniak, James

    This survey provides information about the content of introductory economic courses. Responses from 62 midwestern college and university instructors of introductory economics characterize the content, methods, texts, and conceptual approaches currently used. Results of the study show that introductory courses teach supply and demand, product…

  6. Information Literacy in Introductory Biology

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Firooznia, Fardad; Andreadis, Debra K.

    2006-01-01

    Incorporating information literacy exercises into the science curriculum will help students to navigate through the myriad of information available in different formats, and to become better scientific thinkers and writers. Here we describe how we incorporated such exercises in introductory biology and evaluate their effectiveness in achieving our…

  7. A Unified Introductory Chemistry Laboratory

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Splittgerber, A. G.; And Others

    1971-01-01

    Laboratory procedures are explained for taking benzoic acid and using it or one of its derivatives throughout an introductory lab course. Synthesis, purification, weight determination, identification of an acid, equilibrium constant, salt preparation, salt analysis, and salt solubility measurements are involved in the semester's experience. (DS)

  8. An Introductory Level Kinetics Investigation.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    McGarvey, J. E. B.; Knipe, A. C.

    1980-01-01

    Provides a list of the reactions commonly used for introductory kinetics studies. These reactions illustrate the kinetics concepts of rate law, rate constant, and reaction order. Describes a kinetic study of the hydrolysis of 3-bromo-3-phenylpropanoic acid which offers many educational advantages. (CS)

  9. Student Misconceptions in Introductory Biology.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Fisher, Kathleen M.; Lipson, Joseph I.

    Defining a "misconception" as an error of translation (transformation, correspondence, interpolation, interpretation) between two different kinds of information which causes students to have incorrect expectations, a Taxonomy of Errors has been developed to examine student misconceptions in an introductory biology course for science majors. Two…

  10. Concept Maps in Introductory Statistics

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Witmer, Jeffrey A.

    2016-01-01

    Concept maps are tools for organizing thoughts on the main ideas in a course. I present an example of a concept map that was created through the work of students in an introductory class and discuss major topics in statistics and relationships among them.

  11. Introductory Statistics and Fish Management.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Jardine, Dick

    2002-01-01

    Describes how fisheries research and management data (available on a website) have been incorporated into an Introductory Statistics course. In addition to the motivation gained from seeing the practical relevance of the course, some students have participated in the data collection and analysis for the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department. (MM)

  12. Photoelectrochemistry: Introductory Concepts.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Finklea, Harry O.

    1983-01-01

    Photoelectrochemistry is based on the semiconductor electrode. It is the semiconductor's ability to absorb light and convert it to electrical and/or chemical energy that forms the basis for the semiconductor liquid-junction solar cell. To understand how this occurs, solid-state physics concepts are discussed. (Author/JN)

  13. Physics in the Ionosphere.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Murket, A. J.

    1979-01-01

    Develops a simple model of radio wave propagation and illustrates how basic physical concepts such as refractive index, refraction, reflection and dispersion can be applied to a situation normally not met in introductory physics courses. (Author/GA)

  14. Student representational competence and self-assessment when solving physics problems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kohl, Patrick B.; Finkelstein, Noah D.

    2005-12-01

    Student success in solving physics problems is related to the representational format of the problem. We study student representational competence in two large-lecture algebra-based introductory university physics courses with approximately 600 participants total. We examined student performance on homework problems given in four different representational formats (mathematical, pictorial, graphical, verbal), with problem statements as close to isomorphic as possible. In addition to the homeworks, we examine students’ assessment of representations by providing follow-up quizzes in which they chose between various problem formats. As a control, some parts of the classes were assigned a random-format follow-up quiz. We find that there are statistically significant performance differences between different representations of nearly isomorphic statements of quiz and homework problems. We also find that allowing students to choose which representational format they use improves student performance under some circumstances and degrades it in others. Notably, one of the two courses studied shows much greater performance differences between the groups that received a choice of format and those that did not, and we consider possible causes. Overall, we observe that student representational competence is tied to both micro- and macrolevel features of the task and environment.

  15. PREFACE: Wetting: introductory note

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Herminghaus, S.

    2005-03-01

    The discovery of wetting as a topic of physical science dates back two hundred years, to one of the many achievements of the eminent British scholar Thomas Young. He suggested a simple equation relating the contact angle between a liquid surface and a solid substrate to the interfacial tensions involved [1], γlg cos θ = γsg - γsl (1) In modern terms, γ denotes the excess free energy per unit area of the interface indicated by its indices, with l, g and s corresponding to the liquid, gas and solid, respectively [2]. After that, wetting seems to have been largely ignored by physicists for a long time. The discovery by Gabriel Lippmann that θ may be tuned over a wide range by electrochemical means [3], and some important papers about modifications of equation~(1) due to substrate inhomogeneities [4,5] are among the rare exceptions. This changed completely during the seventies, when condensed matter physics had become enthusiastic about critical phenomena, and was vividly inspired by the development of the renormalization group by Kenneth Wilson [6]. This had solved the long standing problem of how to treat fluctuations, and to understand the universal values of bulk critical exponents. By inspection of the critical exponents of the quantities involved in equation~(1), John W Cahn discovered what he called critical point wetting: for any liquid, there should be a well-defined transition to complete wetting (i.e., θ = 0) as the critical point of the liquid is approached along the coexistence curve [7]. His paper inspired an enormous amount of further work, and may be legitimately viewed as the entrance of wetting into the realm of modern physics. Most of the publications directly following Cahn's work were theoretical papers which elaborated on wetting in relation to critical phenomena. A vast amount of interesting, and in part quite unexpected, ramifications were discovered, such as the breakdown of universality in thin film systems [8]. Simultaneously, a number

  16. Static Friction Unsung Hero of Everyday Introductory Biomechanics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Beverly, Nancy

    2006-12-01

    The ability of static friction to accelerate systems does not usually get the attention it deserves in introductory physics. Everyday human contexts abound in our grasp of objects to move them, in our being moved as passengers, and in our own locomotion. Student laboratory, classroom and homework activities have been developed which enable students to explore the vital role of static friction in various biomechanical contexts. Examples will be demonstrated.

  17. PREFACE: Wetting: introductory note

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Herminghaus, S.

    2005-03-01

    The discovery of wetting as a topic of physical science dates back two hundred years, to one of the many achievements of the eminent British scholar Thomas Young. He suggested a simple equation relating the contact angle between a liquid surface and a solid substrate to the interfacial tensions involved [1], γlg cos θ = γsg - γsl (1) In modern terms, γ denotes the excess free energy per unit area of the interface indicated by its indices, with l, g and s corresponding to the liquid, gas and solid, respectively [2]. After that, wetting seems to have been largely ignored by physicists for a long time. The discovery by Gabriel Lippmann that θ may be tuned over a wide range by electrochemical means [3], and some important papers about modifications of equation~(1) due to substrate inhomogeneities [4,5] are among the rare exceptions. This changed completely during the seventies, when condensed matter physics had become enthusiastic about critical phenomena, and was vividly inspired by the development of the renormalization group by Kenneth Wilson [6]. This had solved the long standing problem of how to treat fluctuations, and to understand the universal values of bulk critical exponents. By inspection of the critical exponents of the quantities involved in equation~(1), John W Cahn discovered what he called critical point wetting: for any liquid, there should be a well-defined transition to complete wetting (i.e., θ = 0) as the critical point of the liquid is approached along the coexistence curve [7]. His paper inspired an enormous amount of further work, and may be legitimately viewed as the entrance of wetting into the realm of modern physics. Most of the publications directly following Cahn's work were theoretical papers which elaborated on wetting in relation to critical phenomena. A vast amount of interesting, and in part quite unexpected, ramifications were discovered, such as the breakdown of universality in thin film systems [8]. Simultaneously, a number

  18. The differential algebra based multiple level fast multipole algorithm for 3D space charge field calculation and photoemission simulation

    SciTech Connect

    None, None

    2015-09-28

    Coulomb interaction between charged particles inside a bunch is one of the most importance collective effects in beam dynamics, becoming even more significant as the energy of the particle beam is lowered to accommodate analytical and low-Z material imaging purposes such as in the time resolved Ultrafast Electron Microscope (UEM) development currently underway at Michigan State University. In addition, space charge effects are the key limiting factor in the development of ultrafast atomic resolution electron imaging and diffraction technologies and are also correlated with an irreversible growth in rms beam emittance due to fluctuating components of the nonlinear electron dynamics. In the short pulse regime used in the UEM, space charge effects also lead to virtual cathode formation in which the negative charge of the electrons emitted at earlier times, combined with the attractive surface field, hinders further emission of particles and causes a degradation of the pulse properties. Space charge and virtual cathode effects and their remediation are core issues for the development of the next generation of high-brightness UEMs. Since the analytical models are only applicable for special cases, numerical simulations, in addition to experiments, are usually necessary to accurately understand the space charge effect. In this paper we will introduce a grid-free differential algebra based multiple level fast multipole algorithm, which calculates the 3D space charge field for n charged particles in arbitrary distribution with an efficiency of O(n), and the implementation of the algorithm to a simulation code for space charge dominated photoemission processes.

  19. The differential algebra based multiple level fast multipole algorithm for 3D space charge field calculation and photoemission simulation

    DOE PAGESBeta

    None, None

    2015-09-28

    Coulomb interaction between charged particles inside a bunch is one of the most importance collective effects in beam dynamics, becoming even more significant as the energy of the particle beam is lowered to accommodate analytical and low-Z material imaging purposes such as in the time resolved Ultrafast Electron Microscope (UEM) development currently underway at Michigan State University. In addition, space charge effects are the key limiting factor in the development of ultrafast atomic resolution electron imaging and diffraction technologies and are also correlated with an irreversible growth in rms beam emittance due to fluctuating components of the nonlinear electron dynamics.more » In the short pulse regime used in the UEM, space charge effects also lead to virtual cathode formation in which the negative charge of the electrons emitted at earlier times, combined with the attractive surface field, hinders further emission of particles and causes a degradation of the pulse properties. Space charge and virtual cathode effects and their remediation are core issues for the development of the next generation of high-brightness UEMs. Since the analytical models are only applicable for special cases, numerical simulations, in addition to experiments, are usually necessary to accurately understand the space charge effect. In this paper we will introduce a grid-free differential algebra based multiple level fast multipole algorithm, which calculates the 3D space charge field for n charged particles in arbitrary distribution with an efficiency of O(n), and the implementation of the algorithm to a simulation code for space charge dominated photoemission processes.« less

  20. Topical Coverage in Introductory Psychology: Textbooks versus Lectures

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Griggs, Richard A.; Bates, Scott C.

    2014-01-01

    Because 98% of teachers use textbooks for the introductory psychology course and the majority of introductory teachers do not assign reading beyond the textbook, examining the topical coverage allocation pattern in introductory textbooks versus that in introductory course lectures is important for our understanding of how introductory students are…

  1. A Survey of Learning Goals for Introductory Astronomy Courses

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Brissenden, G.; Duncan, D. K.; Greenfield, J. L.; Slater, T. F.

    1999-05-01

    Introductory astronomy for non-science majors is delivered to more than 200,000 students each year in small colleges and large research universities alike. Not always taught by PhDs formally trained in astronomy, previous surveys reveal that introductory astronomy for undergraduate non-science majors is often taught by individuals trained in physics, mathematics, geology, among many other fields. Such a diversity in instructor backgrounds suggests that there might exist a wide diversity in course goals, learning objectives, and topics covered in such a course. In an attempt to explore this diversity, two projects were conducted simultaneously. First, astronomy instructors pre-registered to attend the ASTR 101 teaching workshop at the 1998 ASP Albuquerque meeting were asked to electronically submit their three main course goals for introductory astronomy. Fifty-four responses showed a convergence of several ideas across the majority of instructors: an understanding of the nature of science and astronomy, an appreciation for the size, scale, and structure of the cosmos, and an increased interest in studying current events in astronomy as a life-long learning activity. Second, an analysis of 50 introductory astronomy syllabi found on the World-Wide-Web was conducted to determine the frequency that 75 possible topics in introductory astronomy were evidently included in the course. The most common topics covered appear to be the nature of light and the electromagnetic spectrum, stellar evolution and the Sun, techniques and tools of astronomy, motions and objects in the solar system, and the stellar magnitude scale. Topics that appear to receive little emphasis include the reason for seasons, planetary atmospheres, plate tectonics, space exploration, and formation of the elements. Additionally, 78 indicate that night observations are required and 38 require the use of the computer or the Internet.

  2. Strengthening introductory psychology: A new model for teaching the introductory course.

    PubMed

    Gurung, Regan A R; Hackathorn, Jana; Enns, Carolyn; Frantz, Susan; Cacioppo, John T; Loop, Trudy; Freeman, James E

    2016-01-01

    Introductory psychology (Intro Psych) is one of the most popular and frequently taught courses on college campuses, yet educators in psychology have limited knowledge about what is covered in classes around the nation or the extent to which class content reflects the current scope of the discipline. There is no explicit model to guide course content selection for the intro course, which poses substantial challenges for instructors. This article proposes a new model for teaching the intro course that integrates (a) scientific foundations, (b) 5 major domains or pillars of knowledge (biological, cognitive, developmental, social and personality, and mental and physical health), and (c) cross-cutting themes relevant to all domains (cultural and social diversity, ethics, variations in human functioning, and applications; American Psychological Association, 2014). We advocate for national assessment of the course, a similar introductory course for majors and nonmajors, the inclusion of experiential or laboratory components, and additional training resources for instructors of the intro course. Given the exponential growth of psychological knowledge and applications during the past decades, we caution against attempting to provide exhaustive coverage of all topic areas of psychology in a one-semester course. We conclude by discussing the challenges that lie ahead for the discipline of psychology as it launches this new model for Intro Psych. PMID:26866987

  3. Can Students Learn From Lecture Demonstrations?: The Role and Place of Interactive Lecture Experiments in Large Introductory Science Courses

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Milner-Bolotin, Marina; Kotlicki, Andrzej; Rieger, Georg

    2007-01-01

    In this article we describe a case study of interactive lecture experiments in a large introductory physics course. The impact of this pedagogy on student learning and motivation is also discussed. (Contains 1 table and 3 figures.)

  4. Observing Projects in Introductory Astronomy

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Taylor, M. Suzanne

    2016-01-01

    Introductory astronomy classes without laboratory components face a unique challenge of how to expose students to the process of science in the framework of a lecture course. As a solution to this problem small group observing projects are incorporated into a 40 student introductory astronomy class composed primarily of non-science majors. Students may choose from 8 observing projects such as graphing the motion of the moon or a planet, measuring daily and seasonal motions of stars, and determining the rotation rate of the Sun from sunspots. Each group completes two projects, requiring the students to spend several hours outside of class making astronomical observations. Clear instructions and a check-list style observing log help students with minimal observing experience to take accurate data without direct instructor assistance. Students report their findings in a lab report-style paper, as well as in a formal oral or poster presentation. The projects serve a double purpose of allowing students to directly experience concepts covered in class as well as providing students with experience collecting, analyzing, and presenting astronomical data.

  5. Worldviews of Introductory Astronomy Students

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Green, Chrystin; Wallace, C. S.; Brissenden, G.; Prather, E. E.; Collaboration of Astronomy Teaching Scholars (CATS)

    2014-01-01

    As a part of a larger project to study introductory astronomy students’ worldviews and beliefs about the role of science in society, we examined students’ responses to a subset of questions designed to probe students’ worldviews and how they change after taking a general education, introductory astronomy course (Astro 101). Specifically, we looked at about 400 students’ choices for the top ten scientific discoveries in the past 150 years. We collected students’ rankings twice: Once at the start of their Astro 101 class and once at the end. We created a rubric that we used to categorize the responses and we established the inter-rater reliability of the rubric. Our results show that students preferentially answered with topics related to technology and health and medicine. The data also show that there was an increase, pre- to post-instruction, in the number of responses in the technology and health and medicine categories. We also saw a decrease in the number of responses in the science category. These results imply that an aspect of the course specifically implemented to broaden student’s views on science in relation to society was successful. This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. AST-0847170, for the California-Arizona Minority Partnership for Astronomy Research and Education (CAMPARE) program. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

  6. A Different Approach to Teaching Introductory Psychology

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Walker, Larry D.; Inbody, Paul W.

    1974-01-01

    This introductory psychology course consisting of 16 contemporary films available at each student's convenience; readings; discussion sessions; and laboratory experience, assisted by upper-division psychology students, is an attempt to minimize some of the problems of the usual introductory lecture course. (JH)

  7. Bringing critical thinking into introductory astronomy

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    2015-04-01

    Critical thinking is often a desired outcome in an introductory astronomy course, but it is often poorly defined. The model developed by Linda Elder and Richard Paul provides an internally consistent framework for both defining and implementing critical thinking. This article provides suggestions for using it in a typical introductory astronomy course.

  8. 29 CFR 785.1 - Introductory statement.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2010 CFR

    2010-07-01

    ... 29 Labor 3 2010-07-01 2010-07-01 false Introductory statement. 785.1 Section 785.1 Labor Regulations Relating to Labor (Continued) WAGE AND HOUR DIVISION, DEPARTMENT OF LABOR STATEMENTS OF GENERAL... Introductory statement. Section 6 of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (29 U.S.C. 206) requires that...

  9. 29 CFR 778.0 - Introductory statement.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2011 CFR

    2011-07-01

    ... 29 Labor 3 2011-07-01 2011-07-01 false Introductory statement. 778.0 Section 778.0 Labor Regulations Relating to Labor (Continued) WAGE AND HOUR DIVISION, DEPARTMENT OF LABOR STATEMENTS OF GENERAL... § 778.0 Introductory statement. The Fair Labor Standards Act, as amended, hereinafter referred to as...

  10. 29 CFR 548.100 - Introductory statement.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2010 CFR

    2010-07-01

    ... 29 Labor 3 2010-07-01 2010-07-01 false Introductory statement. 548.100 Section 548.100 Labor Regulations Relating to Labor (Continued) WAGE AND HOUR DIVISION, DEPARTMENT OF LABOR REGULATIONS... Introductory statement. (a) This subpart contains material explaining and illustrating the terms used...

  11. 29 CFR 785.1 - Introductory statement.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2011 CFR

    2011-07-01

    ... 29 Labor 3 2011-07-01 2011-07-01 false Introductory statement. 785.1 Section 785.1 Labor Regulations Relating to Labor (Continued) WAGE AND HOUR DIVISION, DEPARTMENT OF LABOR STATEMENTS OF GENERAL... Introductory statement. Section 6 of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (29 U.S.C. 206) requires that...

  12. 29 CFR 778.0 - Introductory statement.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2010 CFR

    2010-07-01

    ... 29 Labor 3 2010-07-01 2010-07-01 false Introductory statement. 778.0 Section 778.0 Labor Regulations Relating to Labor (Continued) WAGE AND HOUR DIVISION, DEPARTMENT OF LABOR STATEMENTS OF GENERAL... § 778.0 Introductory statement. The Fair Labor Standards Act, as amended, hereinafter referred to as...

  13. 29 CFR 548.100 - Introductory statement.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2011 CFR

    2011-07-01

    ... 29 Labor 3 2011-07-01 2011-07-01 false Introductory statement. 548.100 Section 548.100 Labor Regulations Relating to Labor (Continued) WAGE AND HOUR DIVISION, DEPARTMENT OF LABOR REGULATIONS... Introductory statement. (a) This subpart contains material explaining and illustrating the terms used...

  14. A Pretest for Introductory Crops Students.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Elkins, Donald M.

    1987-01-01

    Discusses the advantages of using a pretest in introductory agronomy courses. Provides a pretest that has been developed for use in an introductory crops course taught at Southern Illinois University. Includes 25 definitions, 17 true-false and multiple choice questions, and 6 short answer questions. (TW)

  15. A Readability Analysis of Selected Introductory Economics.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Gallagher, Daniel J.; Thompson, G. Rodney

    1981-01-01

    To aid secondary school and college level economics teachers as they select textbooks for introductory economics courses, this article recounts how teachers can use the Flesch Reading Ease Test to measure readability. Data are presented on application of the Flesch Reading Ease Test to 15 introductory economics textbooks. (Author/DB)

  16. Introductory Psychology Textbooks: An Objective Analysis Update

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Griggs, Richard A.; Jackson, Sherri L.

    2013-01-01

    It has been 13 years since the last objective analysis of full-length introductory psychology textbooks was published and 15 years since the textbook copyright period used in that study, 1995-1997. Given the importance of informed textbook evaluation and selection to the introductory course but the difficulty of this task because of the large…

  17. Psychology Ethics in Introductory Psychology Textbooks

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Zucchero, Renee' A.

    2011-01-01

    Previous research revealed that introductory psychology textbooks included limited information about psychology ethics. This study reviewed 48 current introductory psychology textbooks for research and other APA ethics content. These textbooks included slightly more total ethics content and were more thorough in their review of research ethics…

  18. The Memorability of Introductory Psychology Revisited

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Landrum, R. Eric; Gurung, Regan A. R.

    2013-01-01

    Almost 2 million students enroll in introductory psychology each year in the United States, making it the second most popular undergraduate course in the nation. Introductory psychology not only serves as a prerequisite for other courses in the discipline but for some students this course provides their only exposure to psychological science.…

  19. Brief Introductory Psychology Textbooks: A Current Analysis.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Griggs, Richard A.; Koenig, Cynthia S.

    2001-01-01

    Presents a comparative analysis of 15 brief introductory psychology textbooks for teachers who want a leaner introductory text. Focuses on length, pedagogical aids, and topic coverage. States that there is enough variability among the texts to accommodate teachers' preferences and needs. Includes a bibliography of the textbooks. (CMK)

  20. Introductory Psychology Textbooks: Assessing Levels of Difficulty.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Griggs, Richard A.

    1999-01-01

    Attempts to facilitate the text selection process for introductory psychology teachers by enabling them to match the level of the text with their students' ability level. Examines 37 introductory psychology textbooks published from 1995-1997 to determine text levels (high, middle, or lower level). Discusses the findings in detail. (CMK)

  1. Introductory Textbooks and Psychology's Core Concepts.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Zechmeister, Jeanne S.; Zechmeister, Eugene B.

    2000-01-01

    Explores two studies: (1) a content analysis of the key terms and concepts in the glossaries of 10 full-length, college, introductory psychology textbooks; and (2) a national sample of experienced introductory psychology instructors evaluated the terms and concepts found in the glossaries and rated the importance of these terms and concepts for…

  2. 29 CFR 778.0 - Introductory statement.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2012 CFR

    2012-07-01

    ... 29 Labor 3 2012-07-01 2012-07-01 false Introductory statement. 778.0 Section 778.0 Labor Regulations Relating to Labor (Continued) WAGE AND HOUR DIVISION, DEPARTMENT OF LABOR STATEMENTS OF GENERAL... § 778.0 Introductory statement. The Fair Labor Standards Act, as amended, hereinafter referred to as...

  3. The Liberalizing Effect of Taking Introductory Sociology.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Brouillette, John R.

    1985-01-01

    Study findings showed that an introductory sociology course had a significant liberalizing effect on students' attitudes regardless of the professor's theoretical perspective. It was also found that introductory sociology students involved in a similar study four years earlier were significantly more conservative than this group of students.…

  4. The "Nut-Drop" Experiment--Bringing Millikan's Challenge to Introductory Students

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    McCann, Lowell I.; Blodgett, Earl D.

    2009-01-01

    One of the difficulties in teaching 20th-century physics ideas in introductory physics is that many seminal experiments that are discussed in textbooks are difficult or expensive for students to access experimentally. In this paper, we discuss an analogous exercise to Millikan's oil-drop experiment that lets students experience some of the physics…

  5. Exercises in Drawing and Utilizing Free-Body Diagrams.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Fisher, Kurt

    1999-01-01

    Finds that students taking algebra-based introductory physics have difficulty with one- and two-body problems in particle mechanics. Provides graded exercises for drawing and utilizing free-body diagrams. (CCM)

  6. Mathematics Preparation and Success in Introductory College Science Courses

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Avallone, L. M.; Geiger, L. C.; Luebke, A. E.

    2008-12-01

    It is a long-held belief that adequate mathematics preparation is a key to success in introductory college science courses. Indeed, a number of recent studies have tested mathematics "fluency" and compared that to performance in introductory physics or chemistry courses. At the University of Colorado at Boulder, we administered a twenty-question math assessment to incoming first-year students as part of orientation registration. The intent of this tool was to provide information for advising new college students about their readiness for college-level science courses, both those for science majors and those for non-scientists. In this presentation we describe the results of the mathematics assessment for two incoming classes in the College of Arts and Sciences at CU-Boulder (about 9,000 students) and its predictive capabilities for success in introductory science courses. We also analyze student performance in these courses (i.e., course grade) with respect to ACT and/or SAT scores. We will present data on the relative success of students in college science courses both with and without prior college-level mathematics courses as well.

  7. Bringing Atoms into First-Year Physics.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Chabay, Ruth W.; Sherwood, Bruce A.

    1999-01-01

    Argues that thermal physics should not be treated as a separate topic in introductory physics. Provides an example of a course that emphasizes physical modeling of the phenomenon in terms of the atomic nature of matter. (Author/CCM)

  8. Research as a guide to improving student learning in physics*

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Heron, Paula R. L.

    1999-05-01

    Investigations of student understanding in courses beyond the introductory level have helped identify some conceptual and reasoning difficulties that have their roots in introductory physics. The results have implications for physics instruction at all levels. Examples will be taken from introductory physics, engineering statics, and special courses for precollege teachers. * This work has been funded in part by NSF Grants DUE 9354501 and DUE 9727648, which include support from other Divisions of EHR and the Physics Division of MPS.

  9. Examining Physics Graduate Teaching Assistants' Pedagogical Content Knowledge for Teaching a New Physics Curriculum

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Seung, Eulsun; Bryan, Lynn A.; Haugan, Mark P.

    2012-01-01

    In this study, we investigated the pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) that physics graduate teaching assistants (TAs) developed in the context of teaching a new introductory physics curriculum, "Matter and Interactions" ("M&I"). "M&I" is an innovative introductory physics course that emphasizes a unified framework for understanding the world and…

  10. Women in Astronomy: Inclusion in Introductory Textbooks.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Larsen, Kristine M.

    1995-01-01

    Discusses the reasons for identifying the contributions of women astronomers in introductory textbooks. The evolution of inclusion over the past 4 decades is explored by examining the rates of inclusion of 10 women astronomers in textbooks. Contains 100 references. (DDR)

  11. Real Science in the Introductory Course.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    McNeal, Ann P.

    1989-01-01

    An introductory science seminar about the physiology of human movement at Hampshire College is described. Students are required to begin defining and answering their own research questions and elements of collaborative learning are included. (MLW)

  12. Teaching assistants' performance at identifying common introductory student difficulties in mechanics revealed by the Force Concept Inventory

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Maries, Alexandru; Singh, Chandralekha

    2016-06-01

    The Force Concept Inventory (FCI) has been widely used to assess student understanding of introductory mechanics concepts by a variety of educators and physics education researchers. One reason for this extensive use is that many of the items on the FCI have strong distractor choices which correspond to students' alternate conceptions in mechanics. Instruction is unlikely to be effective if instructors do not know the common alternate conceptions of introductory physics students and explicitly take into account students' initial knowledge states in their instructional design. Here, we discuss research involving the FCI to evaluate one aspect of the pedagogical content knowledge of teaching assistants (TAs): knowledge of introductory student alternate conceptions in mechanics as revealed by the FCI. For each item on the FCI, the TAs were asked to identify the most common incorrect answer choice of introductory physics students. This exercise was followed by a class discussion with the TAs related to this task, including the importance of knowing student difficulties in teaching and learning. Then, we used FCI pretest and post-test data from a large population (˜900 ) of introductory physics students to assess the extent to which TAs were able to identify alternate conceptions of introductory students related to force and motion. In addition, we carried out think-aloud interviews with graduate students who had more than two semesters of teaching experience in recitations to examine how they reason about the task. We find that while the TAs, on average, performed better than random guessing at identifying introductory students' difficulties with FCI content, they did not identify many common difficulties that introductory physics students have after traditional instruction. We discuss specific alternate conceptions, the extent to which TAs are able to identify them, and results from the think-aloud interviews that provided valuable information about why TAs sometimes

  13. Peer instruction: a case study for an introductory magnetism course

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lenaerts, J.; Wieme, W.; Van Zele, E.

    2003-01-01

    Peer instruction (PI) has been introduced as a collaborative learning strategy for the introductory physics course for engineering students at Ghent University and in this paper results for the magnetism part are reported. Using the magnetism concept inventory, a test instrument comparable to the better known force concept inventory, the positive impact of PI has been demonstrated by comparing two similar student populations and measuring the Hake gain factor. Special attention has been paid to the enhancement of the traditional lecture demonstrations by PI and a number of worked out examples are given. The framework of Vygotsky's zone of proximal development is offered as a pedagogical explanation for the effectiveness of PI.

  14. The `Nut-Drop` Experiment-Bringing Millikan's Challenge to Introductory Students

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McCann, Lowell I.; Blodgett, Earl D.

    2009-09-01

    One of the difficulties in teaching 20th-century physics ideas in introductory physics is that many seminal experiments that are discussed in textbooks are difficult or expensive for students to access experimentally. In this paper, we discuss an analogous exercise to Millikan's oil-drop experiment that lets students experience some of the physics involved in the experiment and some of the difficulties Millikan faced.

  15. Characterizing the epistemological development of physics majors

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gire, Elizabeth; Jones, Barbara; Price, Edward

    2009-06-01

    Students in introductory physics courses are likely to have views about physics that differ from those of experts. However, students who continue to study physics eventually become experts themselves. Presumably these students either possess or develop more expertlike views. To investigate this process, the views of introductory physics students majoring in physics are compared with the views of introductory physics students majoring in engineering. In addition, the views of physics majors are assessed at various stages of degree progress. The Colorado learning attitudes about science survey is used to evaluate students’ views about physics, and students’ overall survey scores and responses to individual survey items are analyzed. Beginning physics majors are significantly more expertlike than nonmajors in introductory physics courses, and this high level of sophistication is consistent for most of undergraduate study.

  16. Student Understanding of Rotational and Rolling Motion Concepts

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Rimoldini, Lorenzo G.; Singh, Chandralekha

    2005-01-01

    We investigated the common difficulties that students have with concepts related to rotational and rolling motion covered in the introductory physics courses. We compared the performance of calculus- and algebra-based introductory physics students with physics juniors who had learned rotational and rolling motion concepts in an intermediate level…

  17. Prism Foil from an LCD Monitor as a Tool for Teaching Introductory Optics

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Planinsic, Gorazd; Gojkosek, Mihael

    2011-01-01

    Transparent prism foil is part of a backlight system in LCD monitors that are widely used today. This paper describes the optical properties of the prism foil and several pedagogical applications suitable for undergraduate introductory physics level. Examples include experiments that employ refraction, total internal reflection, diffraction and…

  18. Experimental Population Genetics in the Introductory Genetics Laboratory Using "Drosophila" as a Model Organism

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Johnson, Ronald; Kennon, Tillman

    2009-01-01

    Hypotheses of population genetics are derived and tested by students in the introductory genetics laboratory classroom as they explore the effects of biotic variables (physical traits of fruit flies) and abiotic variables (island size and distance) on fruit fly populations. In addition to this hypothesis-driven experiment, the development of…

  19. Explaining Electromagnetic Plane Waves in a Vacuum at the Introductory Level

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Allred, Clark L.; Della-Rose, Devin J.; Flusche, Brian M.; Kiziah, Rex R.; Lee, David J.

    2010-01-01

    A typical introduction to electromagnetic waves in vacuum is illustrated by the following quote from an introductory physics text: "Maxwell's equations predict that an electromagnetic wave consists of oscillating electric and magnetic fields. The changing fields induce each other, which maintains the propagation of the wave; a changing electric…

  20. Connecting Biology and Organic Chemistry Introductory Laboratory Courses through a Collaborative Research Project

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Boltax, Ariana L.; Armanious, Stephanie; Kosinski-Collins, Melissa S.; Pontrello, Jason K.

    2015-01-01

    Modern research often requires collaboration of experts in fields, such as math, chemistry, biology, physics, and computer science to develop unique solutions to common problems. Traditional introductory undergraduate laboratory curricula in the sciences often do not emphasize connections possible between the various disciplines. We designed an…

  1. A Tutorial Design Process Applied to an Introductory Materials Engineering Course

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Rosenblatt, Rebecca; Heckler, Andrew F.; Flores, Katharine

    2013-01-01

    We apply a "tutorial design process", which has proven to be successful for a number of physics topics, to design curricular materials or "tutorials" aimed at improving student understanding of important concepts in a university-level introductory materials science and engineering course. The process involves the identification…

  2. Strongly and Weakly Directed Approaches to Teaching Multiple Representation Use in Physics

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Kohl, Patrick B.; Rosengrant, David; Finkelstein, Noah D.

    2007-01-01

    Good use of multiple representations is considered key to learning physics, and so there is considerable motivation both to learn how students use multiple representations when solving problems and to learn how best to teach problem solving using multiple representations. In this study of two large-lecture algebra-based physics courses at the…

  3. Introductory Disciplines of Astronomy in Undergraduation Geography in Brazilian Public Universities

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Henrique Azevedo Sobreira, Paulo

    2015-08-01

    There are some previous works about introductory disciplines of Astronomy in higher education in various undergraduation at Brazilian universities, but this is a specific research for Geography courses in public universities. Some undergraduate courses in Geography in Brazil offer introductory disciplines of Astronomy, since the second half of the twentieth century. This work presents an updated survey on the topic, and it proposes an effort at the national level, for the benefit of the increase in introductory disciplines of Astronomy in undergraduation in Geography. The data collected from public universities were obtained from the consultation of the websites of state universities, federal and county in 2012, 2013 and 2015, for information on the Geography courses and, among them, those with disciplines of Astronomy. The results show that there are 94 undergraduation in Geography courses in public universities, 12 of them had introductory disciplines of Astronomy until 2012 and 2013. In 2015 three of these disciplines were canceled which reduced to 9 universities. There were 23 undergraduation in Geography courses in 10 bachelor degrees and 14 education degrees with Astronomy disciplines. At 2015 it decreased to 20 in 5 bachelors and 8 education degrees. There are two undergraduation Geography courses with two introductory disciplines of Astronomy, while the other 18 offer only one discipline. The inclusion of introductory disciplines of Astronomy depends on the actions of professors' groups who works in undergraduation Geography courses, and of the astronomers initiative to offering them. The ideal is that the astronomers who actuate like professors in universities, normally in Math, Physics, Technologies, Enginnering and Science courses, they would can help and offer introductory disciplines in Astronomy for undergraduation in Geography courses.

  4. Innovative Technology for Teaching Introductory Astronomy

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Guidry, Mike

    The application of state-of-the-art technology (primarily Java and Flash MX Actionscript on the client side and Java PHP PERL XML and SQL databasing on the server side) to the teaching of introductory astronomy will be discussed. A completely online syllabus in introductory astronomy built around more than 350 interactive animations called ""Online Journey through Astronomy"" and a new set of 20 online virtual laboratories in astronomy that we are currently developing will be used as illustration. In addition to demonstration of the technology our experience using these technologies to teach introductory astronomy to thousands of students in settings ranging from traditional classrooms to full distance learning will be summarized. Recent experiments using Java and vector graphics programming of handheld devices (Personal Digital Assistants and cell phones) with wireless wide-area connectivity for applications in astronomy education will also be described.

  5. Refined Characterization of Student Perspectives on Quantum Physics

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Baily, Charles; Finkelstein, Noah D.

    2010-01-01

    The perspectives of introductory classical physics students can often negatively influence how those students later interpret quantum phenomena when taking an introductory course in modern physics. A detailed exploration of student perspectives on the interpretation of quantum physics is needed, both to characterize student understanding of…

  6. Scaffolding Vector Representations for Student Learning inside a Physics Game

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    D'Angelo Cynthia

    2010-01-01

    Vectors and vector addition are difficult concepts for many introductory physics students and traditional instruction does not usually sufficiently address these difficulties. Vectors play a major role in most topics in introductory physics and without a complete understanding of them many students are unable to make sense of the physics topics…

  7. Digital Imaging in the Introductory Astronomy Course

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Marschall, Laurence A.; Hayden, Michael B.

    The availability of small, inexpensive CCD cameras is making it possible to offer non-science students in introductory astronomy courses hands-on experience in astronomical imaging. For the past three years at Gettysburg College we have been developing laboratory exercises using ST-4, ST-6, and Lynxx CCD cameras attached to 8-inch telescopes. We discuss the hardware and the procedures involved in these exercises, pointing out the benefits and limitations of digital observations with introductory students. We also offer tips for making successful observations with students, and describe plans for further development.

  8. Physics Learning through a Telecommunications Context.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Edwards, Christopher

    2000-01-01

    Describes the Physics Phones Home unit which is context-led and developed by the Supported Learning in Physics Projects. Teaches introductory magnetism; electric, magnetic and gravitational fields; and electricity and circular motion. (YDS)

  9. Strategies for Teaching Physics to Undergraduate Biologists

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Meredith, Dawn; Bolker, Jessica; Shubert, Christopher; Vesenka, James; Kraut, Getrud

    2009-10-01

    Most undergraduate students in the life sciences are required to take physics; few understand why, or realize much benefit. We are transforming a traditional one -year algebra-based college physics course populated primarily by such students, by integrating biological examples that both exemplify and motivate the physics. We describe several strategies: emphasizing topics of particular importance to biologists; including examples of physics-rich biological research; developing homework and exam problems built around biological phenomena; and designing concept questions that encourage students to think about biological in a physical frame.

  10. Crossword Puzzles as Learning Tools in Introductory Soil Science

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Barbarick, K. A.

    2010-01-01

    Students in introductory courses generally respond favorably to novel approaches to learning. To this end, I developed and used three crossword puzzles in spring and fall 2009 semesters in Introductory Soil Science Laboratory at Colorado State University. The first hypothesis was that crossword puzzles would improve introductory soil science…

  11. Some introductory formalizations on the affine Hilbert spaces model of the origin of life. I. On quantum mechanical measurement and the origin of the genetic code: a general physical framework theory.

    PubMed

    Balázs, András

    2006-08-01

    A physical (affine Hilbert spaces) frame is developed for the discussion of the interdependence of the problem of the origin (symbolic assignment) of the genetic code and a possible endophysical (a kind of "internal") quantum measurement in an explicite way, following the general considerations of Balázs (Balázs, A., 2003. BioSystems 70, 43-54; Balázs, A., 2004a. BioSystems 73, 1-11). Using the Everett (a dynamic) interpretation of quantum mechanics, both the individual code assignment and the concatenated linear symbolism is discussed. It is concluded that there arises a skewed quantal probability field, with a natural dynamic non-linearity in codon assignment within the physical model adopted (essentially corresponding to a much discussed biochemical frame of self-catalyzed binding (charging) of t RNA like proto RNAs (ribozymes) with amino acids). This dynamic specific molecular complex assumption of individual code assignment, and the divergence of the code in relation to symbol concatenation, are discussed: our frame supports the former and interpret the latter as single-type codon (triplet), also unambiguous and extended assignment, selection in molecular evolution, corresponding to converging towards the fixedpoint of the internal dynamics of measurement, either in a protein- or RNA-world. In this respect, the general physical consequence is the introduction of a fourth rank semidiagonal energy tensor (see also Part II) ruling the internal dynamics as a non-linear in principle second-order one. It is inferred, as a summary, that if the problem under discussion could be expressed by the concepts of the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics in some yet not quite specified way, the matter would be particularly interesting with respect to both the origin of life and quantum mechanics, as a dynamically supported natural measurement-theoretical split between matter ("hardware") and (internal) symbolism ("software") aspects of living matter. PMID

  12. A Coherent Content Storyline Approach for Introductory Astronomy

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Palma, Christopher; Flarend, A.; McDonald, S.; Kregenow, J. M.

    2014-01-01

    The Earth and Space Science Partnership (ESSP) is a collaboration among Penn State scientists, science educators and seven school districts across Pennsylvania. Part of the multi-faceted ESSP effort includes revising the curriculum of university science classes known to be taken by large numbers of elementary pre-service teachers. By adopting research-based pedagogical approaches in our courses, we hope to expose these pre-service teachers to excellent examples of science teaching. In this presentation, we will discuss changes made in a pilot study to one section of our introductory astronomy survey course. There have been many articles published in the Astronomy Education Review and elsewhere that detail research-based pedagogical practices for introductory astronomy courses. Many of those practices (such as from the Center for Astronomy Education) have been incorporated into introductory astronomy courses at Penn State. However, our work with middle-grades teachers in the ESSP project is based on two key practices: a Claims, Evidence, and Reasoning (CER) framework (McNeill & Krajcik 2012) and a coherent science content storyline (Roth,et. al., 2011). As a first step in modeling these practices in our University courses, we reorganized our Astro course using a content storyline approach. We plan to incorporate CER activities into the course next year that advance the storyline described. In this poster, we present the storyline developed by our team, which we believe was successful in its pilot, and was built around a conceptually coherent presentation of the diverse set of phenomena typical of an introductory astronomy course. We adopted as our main learning goal a statement based on the cosmological principle that the physical laws throughout the Universe are identical everywhere. In addition, we organized the class schedule to connect the work done in each class to this storyline. We suggest that a coherent content storyline is a useful tool for others who

  13. Evolving Roles For Teaching Assistants In Introductory Courses

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dunbar, R. W.; Egger, A. E.; Schwartz, J. K.

    2008-12-01

    As we bring new research-based learning approaches, curricular innovations, and student engagement practices into the introductory science classroom, expectations of teaching assistants (TAs) should have, and have, changed. Similarly, the 21st century teaching assistant has different expectations of us. Maintaining relevance in this context means bringing TAs into an integrated teaching team that supports effective learning for students and provides structured professional development opportunities for TAs. A number of support efforts on our campus, with counterparts at many other universities, seek to optimize the instructional impact of faculty and teaching assistants, thus opening the door to enhanced student engagement (e.g. the quality of effort students put forth, their persistence in science and/or engineering courses, and their perception of scientific relevance in everyday life). Among these efforts, School of Earth Sciences course development TAs work 1:1 in advance of the term with introductory course faculty to design exercises and course materials that meet clearly articulated student learning goals or pedagogical challenges. Throughout the process, TAs are mentored by the faculty as well as science pedagogy experts. Initially funded by a major teaching award, the School is now moving to institutionalize this successful program which has broadened the definition of the TA role. Another area of optimization, reflecting Shulman's concept of pedagogical content knowledge, is our campus mandate that TA development take place within a departmental, as well as general, context. Both Chemistry and Physics expect introductory course TAs to lead interactive, guided-inquiry or tutorial-style sections. Integrating these sections with lecture and positively reinforcing course goals requires TA buy-in and a set of pedagogical facilitation skills cultivated through course-specific training and active mentoring while teaching. To better support the mentoring process

  14. A Self-Paced Introductory Programming Course

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Gill, T. Grandon; Holton, Carolyn F.

    2006-01-01

    In this paper, a required introductory programming course being taught to MIS undergraduates using the C++ programming language is described. Two factors make the objectives of the course--which are to provide students with an exposure to the logical organization of the computer in addition to teaching them basic programming logic--particularly…

  15. Teaching Quantum Mechanics on an Introductory Level.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Muller, Rainer; Wiesner, Hartmut

    2002-01-01

    Presents a new research-based course on quantum mechanics in which the conceptual issues of quantum mechanics are taught at an introductory level. Involves students in the discovery of how quantum phenomena deviate from classical everyday experiences. (Contains 31 references.) (Author/YDS)

  16. Assessing Schematic Knowledge of Introductory Probability Theory

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Birney, Damian P.; Fogarty, Gerard J.; Plank, Ashley

    2005-01-01

    The ability to identify schematic knowledge is an important goal for both assessment and instruction. In the current paper, schematic knowledge of statistical probability theory is explored from the declarative-procedural framework using multiple methods of assessment. A sample of 90 undergraduate introductory statistics students was required to…

  17. Introductory Psychology (Second Offering). Course Evaluation Report.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Sell, G. Roger

    The second phase of field testing for an Introductory Psychology course offered in the regional open learning program of the University of Mid-America is reported. Learner characteristics and learner evaluations of the instructional units are compared with findings from the first course offering. Throughout the paper, learner comments are inserted…

  18. Master Teaching Experiences for Introductory Psychology.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Bartz, Wayne R., Ed.

    Twenty-two classroom activities appropriate for college introductory psychology classes are presented. The activities require from one to four classroom sessions and introduce a variety of psychology concepts, including description, prediction, and control; research methodology; learning and memory; need for achievement; perception and creativity;…

  19. Inference and the Introductory Statistics Course

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Pfannkuch, Maxine; Regan, Matt; Wild, Chris; Budgett, Stephanie; Forbes, Sharleen; Harraway, John; Parsonage, Ross

    2011-01-01

    This article sets out some of the rationale and arguments for making major changes to the teaching and learning of statistical inference in introductory courses at our universities by changing from a norm-based, mathematical approach to more conceptually accessible computer-based approaches. The core problem of the inferential argument with its…

  20. Making Introductory Cultural Geography More Relevant.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Rugg, Dean S.

    1991-01-01

    Presents a project making an introductory class in cultural geography more relevant. Describes how students select and evaluate three articles about geography and write about them. Suggests that students are better able to appreciate and retain a geographical perspective in a comparative world context by applying concepts of their choice to real…

  1. Uncovering Conceptual Gaps in Introductory IS Textbooks

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Hassan, Nik R.; Becker, Jack D.

    2007-01-01

    This study performs an exploration of the relationship between introductory IS textbooks and the body of knowledge represented by the set of "super classic" IS publications. Textbooks play a critical role of introducing the IS field to IS majors, describing what constitutes mainstream IS knowledge and communicating to other disciplines and their…

  2. Foreign Language: Introductory Spanish. Part I.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Dade County Public Schools, Miami, FL.

    This introductory course teaches students to speak contemporary Spanish through the use of short dialogues based on typical school activities. Emphasis is on oral Spanish, "-ar" verbs in the present, interrogatives, and hints on how to read. Objectives for culture study and the development of student attitudes are also presented. Performance…

  3. Cumulative Exams in the Introductory Psychology Course

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Lawrence, Natalie K.

    2013-01-01

    Many teachers require their students to take cumulative exams, but there are surprisingly few studies that examine the benefits of such exams. The purpose of this study was to determine whether introductory psychology students who take cumulative exams throughout the semester would have better long-term retention than students who take a…

  4. Exploring Interdisciplinary Themes in Introductory Psychology

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Ritchey, Kristin A.; Bott, Jennifer P.

    2010-01-01

    We describe a method for helping introductory psychology students identify interdisciplinary connections among 5 social science disciplines. Pre- and posttest data assessed 359 undergraduates' understanding of psychology's relation to other fields. Results indicate the method is effective and provides one way for individual instructors to address…

  5. Exploring Urban America: An Introductory Reader.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Caves, Roger W.

    This introductory text presents a collection of articles from urban-studies journals to introduce undergraduate students to the interdisciplinary field of urban studies. The book is divided into 9 parts as follows: Part 1: Cities and Urbanism; part 2: Urban History; part 3: Urban Policy; part 4: Economic Development; part 5: Community Services and…

  6. Learning Logs in Introductory Literature Courses

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Babcock, Matthew James

    2007-01-01

    This article explores the beneficial and sometimes unpredictable implications of a daily reflective writing exercise for introductory literature courses: the learning log. Pseudonymous samples of student writing, coupled with instructor commentary, gesture toward ways in which the learning log's continual implementation and modification foster a…

  7. Integrated Circuits in the Introductory Electronics Laboratory

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    English, Thomas C.; Lind, David A.

    1973-01-01

    Discusses the use of an integrated circuit operational amplifier in an introductory electronics laboratory course for undergraduate science majors. The advantages of this approach and the implications for scientific instrumentation are identified. Describes a number of experiments suitable for the undergraduate laboratory. (Author/DF)

  8. Beat the Instructor: An Introductory Forecasting Game

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Snider, Brent R.; Eliasson, Janice B.

    2013-01-01

    This teaching brief describes a 30-minute game where student groups compete in-class in an introductory time-series forecasting exercise. The students are challenged to "beat the instructor" who competes using forecasting techniques that will be subsequently taught. All forecasts are graphed prior to revealing the randomly generated…

  9. Holography and Introductory Science at Hampshire College.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Wirth, Frederick H.

    1991-01-01

    An introductory Natural Science course with a focus on the laboratory is described. The main function of the course is getting students prepared for required individual projects in science. A copy of the syllabus, a description of laboratory experiments, and the context of the course are included. (KR)

  10. The Lasting Effects of Introductory Economics Courses.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Sanders, Philip

    1980-01-01

    Reports research which tests the Stigler Hypothesis. The hypothesis suggests that students who have taken introductory economics courses and those who have not show little difference in test performance five years after completing college. Results of the author's research illustrate that economics students do retain some knowledge of economics…

  11. Macromod: Computer Simulation For Introductory Economics

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Ross, Thomas

    1977-01-01

    The Macroeconomic model (Macromod) is a computer assisted instruction simulation model designed for introductory economics courses. An evaluation of its utilization at a community college indicates that it yielded a 10 percent to 13 percent greater economic comprehension than lecture classes and that it met with high student approval. (DC)

  12. The Nature of Introductory Economics Courses

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Koscielniak, James

    1975-01-01

    A questionnaire was developed to determine the content, mode of instruction, approach, and textbook selection of instructors of introductory economics courses. The survey was distributed in 1974 to 143 economics instructors at two- and four-year colleges in Illinois. Results are presented here, and recommendations are made. (Author/NHM)

  13. Item Analysis in Introductory Economics Testing.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Tinari, Frank D.

    1979-01-01

    Computerized analysis of multiple choice test items is explained. Examples of item analysis applications in the introductory economics course are discussed with respect to three objectives: to evaluate learning; to improve test items; and to help improve classroom instruction. Problems, costs and benefits of the procedures are identified. (JMD)

  14. 16 CFR 502.101 - Introductory offers.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2011 CFR

    2011-01-01

    ... FAIR PACKAGING AND LABELING ACT Retail Sale Price Representations § 502.101 Introductory offers. (a... retail sale at a price lower than the anticipated ordinary and customary retail sale price. (b) The... (either to the trade in the event such commodity is not sold at retail by the packager or labeler, or...

  15. An Introductory Exercise for Courses in Birding.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Applegate, James E.

    1982-01-01

    Introduces a teaching method called guided design which involves a series of problems and solutions with feedback that leads students in a logical sequence through material being taught. Presents 15 worksheets to demonstrate the use of this technique in an introductory ornithology course. (Author/DC)

  16. 29 CFR 1977.1 - Introductory statement.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2011 CFR

    2011-07-01

    ... 29 Labor 9 2011-07-01 2011-07-01 false Introductory statement. 1977.1 Section 1977.1 Labor Regulations Relating to Labor (Continued) OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH ADMINISTRATION, DEPARTMENT OF LABOR (CONTINUED) DISCRIMINATION AGAINST EMPLOYEES EXERCISING RIGHTS UNDER THE WILLIAMS-STEIGER OCCUPATIONAL...

  17. The Internationalization of Introductory Accounting Textbooks.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Bracken, Robert M.; Urbancic, Frank R.

    1997-01-01

    Analysis of 24 introductory accounting textbooks identified number and percentage of pages and chapters with international content. Financial accounting books generally had the most international content. There were wide variations in topics presented, extent of coverage, and number of relevant assignments. (SK)

  18. Politics Between Economy and Culture. Introductory Statement.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Rokkan, Stein

    The introductory statement to the plenary session of the Ninth World Congress of the International Political Science Association announces the first of two major themes, politics between economy and culture. This theme is described as investigating the culture-economy dialectic at all levels of politics -- global, territorial, national, community,…

  19. An Examination of the Introductory MIS Course

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Wang, Shouhong

    2007-01-01

    The introductory management information systems (MIS) course is a core course for all business majors at almost every business school. It is common for this course to have multiple sections taught by a mixed group of instructors each semester. Hence, consistent pedagogy and assessment are needed for multiple sections of this course. This paper…

  20. Some Pitfalls in Introductory Programming Courses

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Teodosiev, Teodosi; Nachev, Anatoli

    2012-01-01

    This paper discusses some difficulties in teaching introductory courses to programming, paying particular attention to their mathematical nature. We consider some aspects, which have not been commented in detail in textbooks and often neglected by course outlines and schedules. Some of these are constructing complex conditions, exceeding array…