Peer Instruction for Quantum Mechanics

Developed by: Chandralekha Singh and PER team at the University of Pittsburgh

middle schoolhigh schoolintro collegeinter-mediateupper levelgrad school   other

Modern / Quantum
Lecture - Large (30+ students)  Lecture - Small (<30 students)  Recitation/Discussion Session  Studio

What? A collection of multiple-choice and short answer questions for discussion and reflection in an upper-level undergraduate quantum mechanics course. Designed for use with clickers or other polling methods. Based on research on cognition and student difficulties in quantum mechanics.

Why? They use visualization tools to help students build physical intuition about quantum processes. They keep students actively engaged in the learning process. They bridge the gap between abstract quantitative formalism and qualitative understanding. They can supplement your existing materials.

Why not? You might prefer to use different research-based materials designed for quantum mechanics courses, such as Paradigms in Physics or CU upper-division QM curriculum.

Student skills developed

Designed for:
  • Conceptual understanding
  • Making real-world connections
  • Metacognition

Instructor effort required

  • Low

Resources required

  • Projector

External Resources

You can access the resource materials for free, which include the "ConcepTests" for assessment with continuous feedback to the students, standardized assessment tools, reflective questions and the material for Just-In-Time Teaching (JITT) for quantum mechanics courses, from the PhysPort QuILTS curriculum page. Please look at the first two links here for the ConcepTests (Quantum Mechanics 1 and Quantum Mechanics 2) and the last four links on the page for standardized assessment tools, reflective questions and the material for Just-In-Time Teaching (JITT) for quantum mechanics courses.

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