Developed by: Lillian C. McDermott, Peter S. Shaffer and the Physics Education Group at UW
middle schoolhigh schoolintro collegeinter-mediateupper levelgrad school other
What? Guided-inquiry worksheets for small groups in recitation section of intro calculus-based physics. Instructors engage groups in Socratic dialogue. Worksheets use Elicit-Confront-Resolve model: Questions elicit known student difficulties and help students confront and resolve these difficulties.
Why? Each tutorial is designed to carefully walk students through overcoming specific student difficulties, and goes through a rigorous process of research and redesign to show that it leads to student learning. They can be effective even if instructors don't understand the research behind them.
Why not? These tutorials are designed for calculus-based physics courses, and may not work as well with other populations. Some researchers think that their elicit-confront-resolve approach may give students a sense that their intuition about physics is always wrong and lead to decreased self-efficacy.
|Part I: Mechanics
Representations of motion
Acceleration in one dimension
Motion in two dimensions
Newton’s second and third laws
Energy and momentum
Work and changes in kinetic energy
Conservation of energy
Conservation of momentum in one dimension
Changes in energy and momentum
Dynamics of rigid bodies
Equilibrium of rigid bodies
Conservation of angular momentum
Simple harmonic motion
|Part III: Waves
Superposition and reflection of pulses
Reflection and transmission
Propagation and refraction of periodic waves
Part IV: Geometrical optics
Light and shadow
Curved mirrors and multiple reflections
Interpretation of ray diagrams
Part V: Physical optics
Wave properties of light
A model for single-slit diffraction
Combined interference and diffraction
Part VI: Selected topics
Pressure in a liquid
The ideal gas law
A microscopic model for an ideal gas
The first law of thermodynamics
Heat engines and the second law of thermodynamics
Modern physics: Waves and particles
Wave properties of matter
The photoelectric effect
Modern physics: Special relativity
Events and reference frames
Measurement in special relativity
Electric and magnetic fields in multiple frames of reference
Student skills developed
- Conceptual understanding
- Using multiple representations
- Problem-solving skills
- Making real-world connections
Instructor effort required
- TAs / LAs
- Simple lab equipment
- Cost for students
- Tables for group work
The developers recommend visiting the Physics Education Group at the University of Washington to learn how to implement this curriculum.
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
- B. Ambrose, R. Steinberg, P. Shaffer, and L. McDermott, An investigation of student understanding of single-slit diffraction and double-slit interference, Am. J. Phys. 67 (2), 146 (1999).
- B. Ambrose, P. Heron, S. Vokos, and L. McDermott, Student understanding of light as an electromagnetic wave: Relating the formalism to physical phenomena, Am. J. Phys. 67 (10), 891 (1999).
- S. Chang and P. Shaffer, Curriculum development to improve student understanding of rolling motion, presented at the Physics Education Research Conference 2018, Washington, DC, 2018.
- H. Close and P. Heron, Research as a guide for improving student learning: An example from momentum conservation, Am. J. Phys. 78 (9), 961 (2010).
- H. Close and P. Heron, Student understanding of the angular momentum of classical particles, Am. J. Phys. 79 (10), 1068 (2011).
- M. Cochran and P. Heron, Development and assessment of research-based tutorials on heat engines and the second law of thermodynamics, Am. J. Phys. 74 (8), 734 (2006).
- F. Goldberg and L. McDermott, Investigation of student understanding of the real image formed by a converging lens or concave mirror, Am. J. Phys. 55 (2), 108 (1987).
- F. Goldberg and L. McDermott, Student Difficulties in Understanding Image Formation by a Plane Mirror, Phys. Teach. 24 (8), 472 (1986).
- R. Hazelton, P. Shaffer, and P. Heron, Assessing the impact of a computer simulation in conjunction with Tutorials in Introductory Physics on conceptual understanding, presented at the Physics Education Research Conference 2013, Portland, OR, 2013.
- R. Hazelton, P. Shaffer, and P. Heron, Facilitating model-building of electrostatics concepts related to conductors, presented at the Physics Education Research Conference 2015, College Park, MD, 2015.
- R. Hazelton, M. Stetzer, P. Heron, and P. Shaffer, Investigating student ability to apply basic electrostatics concepts to conductors, presented at the Physics Education Research Conference 2012, Philadelphia, PA, 2012.
- P. Heron, M. Loverude, P. Shaffer, and L. McDermott, Helping students develop an understanding of Archimedes' principle. II. Development of research-based instructional materials, Am. J. Phys. 71 (11), 1188 (2003).
- P. Heron, Identifying and Addressing Difficulties: Reflections on the empirical and theoretical basis of an influential approach to improving physics education, in Getting Started in PER (2018), Vol. 2.
- R. Lawson and L. McDermott, Student understanding of the work-energy and impulse-momentum theorems, Am. J. Phys. 55 (9), 811 (1987).
- B. Lindsey, P. Heron, and P. Shaffer, Student ability to apply the concepts of work and energy to extended systems, Am. J. Phys. 77 (11), 999 (2009).
- L. McDermott and P. Shaffer, Research as a Guide for Curriculum Development: An Example from Introductory Electricity. Part I: Investigation of Student Understanding, Am. J. Phys. 60 (11), 994 (1992).
- L. McDermott, P. Shaffer, and M. Somers, Research as a guide for teaching introductory mechanics: An illustration in the context of the Atwood's machine, Am. J. Phys. 62 (1), 46 (1994).
- L. McDermott, M. Rosenquist, and E. Van Zee, Student difficulties in connecting graphs and physics: Examples from kinematics, Am. J. Phys. 55 (6), 503 (1987).
- L. Ortiz, P. Heron, and P. Shaffer, Student understanding of static equilibrium: Predicting and accounting for balancing, Am. J. Phys. 73 (6), 545 (2005).
- T. Pride, S. Vokos, and L. McDermott, The challenge of matching learning assessments to teaching goals: An example from the work-energy and impulse-momentum theorems, Am. J. Phys. 66 (2), 147 (1998).
- M. Rosenquist and L. McDermott, A conceptual approach to teaching kinematics, Am. J. Phys. 55 (5), 407 (1987).
- R. Scherr, P. Shaffer, and S. Vokos, Student understanding of time in special relativity: Simultaneity and reference frames, Am. J. Phys. 69 (S1), S24 (2001).
- R. Scherr, P. Shaffer, and S. Vokos, The challenge of changing deeply held student beliefs about the relativity of simultaneity, Am. J. Phys. 70 (12), 1238 (2002).
- P. Shaffer and L. McDermott, A research-based approach to improving student understanding of the vector nature of kinematical concepts, Am. J. Phys. 73 (10), 921 (2005).
- P. Shaffer and L. McDermott, Research as a Guide for Curriculum Development: An Example from Introductory Electricity. Part II: Design of Instructional Strategies, Am. J. Phys. 60 (11), 1003 (1992).
- D. Trowbridge and L. McDermott, Investigation of student understanding of the concept of acceleration in one dimension, Am. J. Phys. 49 (3), 242 (1981).
- D. Trowbridge and L. McDermott, Investigation of student understanding of the concept of velocity in one dimension, Am. J. Phys. 48 (12), 1020 (1980).
- E. van Zee and L. McDermott, Investigation of Student Difficulties with Graphical Representations in Physics, presented at the Second International Seminar on Misconceptions and Educational Strategies in Science Mathematics, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, 1987.
- S. Vokos, P. Shaffer, L. McDermott, and B. Ambrose, Student understanding of the wave nature of matter: Diffraction and interference of particles, Am. J. Phys. 68 (S1), S42 (2000).
- K. Wosilait, P. Heron, P. Shaffer, and L. McDermott, Addressing student difficulties in applying a wave model to the interference and diffraction of light, Am. J. Phys. 67 (S1), S5 (1999).
- K. Wosilait, P. Heron, P. Shaffer, and L. McDermott, Development and assessment of a research-based tutorial on light and shadow, Am. J. Phys. 66 (10), 906 (1998).