Minds-On Physics

Developed by: William J. Gerace, Jose P. Mestre, Robert J. Dufresne, and William J. Leonard

middle schoolhigh schoolintro collegeinter-mediateupper levelgrad school   other

 Intro College Calculus-based
calc based
 Intro College Algebra-based
alg based
 Intro College Conceptual

Mechanics  Electricity / Magnetism  Waves / Optics  Thermal / Statistical
Lecture - Large (30+ students)  Lecture - Small (<30 students)  Recitation/Discussion Session  Lab

What? Activity-based curriculum for high school physics. Helps students to explore basic concepts, hone and link concepts, develop analysis and reasoning skills, learn to apply concepts in problem-solving situations and avoid rote procedures, and organize knowledge so that it is generally useful.

Example materials


Student skills developed

Designed for:
  • Conceptual understanding
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Using multiple representations
  • Metacognition
Can be adapted for:
  • Lab skills
  • Making real-world connections
  • Designing experiments

Instructor effort required

  • Medium

Resources required

  • Simple lab equipment
  • Tables for group work

Developer's website: Minds-On Physics
Bronze Validation
This is the third highest level of research validation, corresponding to:
  • at least 1 of the "based on" categories
  • at least 1 of the "demonstrated to improve" categories
  • at least 1 of the "studied using" categories
(Categories shown below)

Research Validation Summary

Based on Research Into:

  • theories of how students learn
  • student ideas about specific topics

Demonstrated to Improve:

  • conceptual understanding
  • problem-solving skills
  • lab skills
  • beliefs and attitudes
  • attendance
  • retention of students
  • success of underrepresented groups
  • performance in subsequent classes

Studied using:

  • cycle of research and redevelopment
  • student interviews
  • classroom observations
  • analysis of written work
  • research at multiple institutions
  • research by multiple groups
  • peer-reviewed publication