Physics Boot Camp & Interactive Lecture Demonstrations

written by Mark Greenman

This workshop was presented at the 2011 PhysTEC conference. Interactive Lecture Demonstrations (ILDs) provide a pedagogical tool that has been shown to improve college and pre-college student's conceptual understanding of ideas in classical physics.  Teachers in this PD showed fractional gains in concept understanding ranging from .44 to .75 with participants in every comparison group showing strong gains.  Just as encouraging, these gains showed no decay over time.  In this highly interactive presentation findings were presented along with a model of how the Interactive Lecture Demonstration 8-step methodology is used as a tool to both engage and prepare teachers.

Helping Preservice Teachers Implement and Assess Research-based Instruction in K-12 Classrooms

written by Donna Messina, Lezlie S. DeWater, and MacKenzie R. Stetzer

The Physics Education Group at the University of Washington offers special physics courses for preservice teachers. The three-quarter sequence helps prospective teachers develop an in-depth understanding of some of the important basic concepts they will teach. The guided-inquiry pedagogical approach provides them with an opportunity to learn as they will be expected to teach. As a result of the course, preservice teachers also come to recognize some conceptual and reasoning difficulties commonly encountered by students. A culmination of their experience is a teaching practicum in which the preservice teachers apply what they have learned to instruction in middle or high school classrooms. Observations of the preservice teachers as they design, teach, and assess their lessons contribute to our understanding of the type of preparation needed for them to be able to teach physics and physical science by inquiry.

Physics First Battles for Acceptance

written by Gabriel Popkin

"Physics First" is a movement that encourages high schools to offer a full-year physics course to ninth-graders, before they take chemistry and biology. Also sometimes called "early high school physics," the "physics-chemistry-biology (PCB)" sequence, or the "cornerstone to capstone (C-to-C) program," Physics First has been gaining momentum as an organized movement of educators and physicists since around 1990, although the concept of teaching physics to ninth-graders goes back several decades before that. Nobel Prize-winning physicist Leon Lederman, Physics First's most prominent proponent, estimates that around 2,000 US high schools have now adopted some version of the program for at least some of their freshmen.

Resource Materials for Teaching Science Inquiry Methods

written by Laura Lising, Ann Craig, and Denise Pfaff

This presentation outlines the approach used to introduce education students to science teaching methods. It emphasizes the use of inquiry-based activities in the classroom. A link to the materials used is provided.

Course Transformation: Strategies

published by the Physics Teacher Education Coalition

The past few decades have seen an explosion of research-based physics curricula and teaching methods that replace traditional didactic instruction with more interactive, student-centered teaching methods. Teachers who use these strategies can transform their students from passive acceptors of knowledge to active investigators who are deeply engaged in their own education. And not only will students learn more, but they may come out with a more positive attitude towards physics. This site gives examples of which modifications to make, as well as of other institutions which have already undergone course transformation.

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