Developed by: Fred Goldberg, Valerie Otero and Steve Robinson
middle schoolhigh schoolintro collegeinter-mediateupper levelgrad school other
What? A guided-inquiry conceptual physics course that helps students develop a deep conceptual understanding of big ideas in physics through small groups, whole-class discussion, and laboratory work. Incorporates activities that focus on the nature of science and the nature of learning.
- Chapter 1: Interactions and Energy introduces students to all of the common themes of the course, in particular the themes of interactions between objects and the energy description of interactions.
- Chapter 2: Interactions and Forces introduces students to an alternative framework (that of forces) within which they can explain interactions they first see in Chapter 1 that involve objects pushing or pulling on one another.
- Chapter 3: Interactions and Fields introduces students to the ideas of "fields of influence" mediating interactions that can occur over a distance, specifically the magnetic, electric charge and gravitational interactions. The concept of potential energy is also introduced.
- Chapter 4: Model of Magnetism concentrates on the nature of science as students develop a model for magnetism, and then track its evolution among elementary students and historically, among scientists.
- Chapter 5: Electric Circuit Interactions introduces students to electric circuit interactions and how to describe electric circuits in terms of energy and current.
- Chapter 6: Light Interactions introduces students to light interactions. Students examine the interaction of light with mirrors, eyes, transparent objects, white and black objects, and objects of different colors.
Student skills developed
- Conceptual understanding
- Using multiple representations
- Problem-solving skills
- Lab skills
- Making real-world connections
Instructor effort required
- Computers for students
- Advanced lab equipment
- Cost for students
- Tables for group work
This is the highest level of research validation, corresponding to:
- both of the "based on" categories
- at least 4 of the "demonstrated to improve" categories
- at least 5 of the "studied using" categories
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
- retention of students
- success of underrepresented groups
- performance in subsequent classes
- cycle of research and redevelopment
- student interviews
- classroom observations
- analysis of written work
- research at multiple institutions
- research by multiple groups
- peer-reviewed publication
- J. Bartley, L. Mayhew, and N. Finkelstein, Promoting Children’s Understanding and Interest in Science Through Informal Science Education, presented at the Physics Education Research Conference 2009, Ann Arbor, Michigan, 2009.
- S. Belleau and V. Otero, Critical Classroom Structures for Empowering Students to Participate in Science Discourse, presented at the Physics Education Research Conference 2012, Philadelphia, PA, 2012.
- S. Belleau, M. Ross, and V. Otero, Implementation of physics and everyday thinking in a high school classroom: Concepts and argumentation, presented at the Physics Education Research Conference 2011, Omaha, Nebraska, 2011.
- F. Goldberg and S. Bendall, Making the invisible visible: A teaching/learning environment that builds on a new view of the physics learner, Am. J. Phys. 63 (11), 978 (1995).
- D. Harlow, How Elementary Teachers Use What We Teach: The Impact Of PER At The K-5 Level, presented at the Physics Education Research Conference 2007, Greensboro, NC, 2007.
- D. Harlow, L. Swanson, H. Dwyer, and J. Bianchini, Learning Pedagogy in Physics, presented at the Physics Education Research Conference 2010, Portland, Oregon, 2010.
- J. Keil, N. Schrode, and R. Stober, Physics Instruction That Facilitates Learning Among Underrepresented Groups, presented at the Physics Education Research Conference 2017, Cincinnati, OH, 2017.
- V. Otero and K. Gray, Attitudinal gains across multiple universities using the Physics and Everyday Thinking curriculum, Phys. Rev. ST Phys. Educ. Res. 4 (2), 020104 (2008).
- V. Otero and K. Gray, Learning to Think Like Scientists with the PET Curriculum, presented at the Physics Education Research Conference 2007, Greensboro, NC, 2007.
- M. Ross and V. Otero, Challenging traditional assumptions of secondary science through the PET curriculum, presented at the Physics Education Research Conference 2012, Philadelphia, PA, 2012.