Tutorials on thinking about quantum entities

Developed by: Benjamin W. Dreyfus, Jessica R. Hoehn, Erin Ronayne Sohr, Noah D. Finkelstein, Ayush Gupta, Andrew Elby, Kathleen Hinko

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

What? Guided-inquiry worksheets to support students in transforming their ontological conceptions about quantum phenomena: their sense of whether something is a particle, a wave, or some other kind of thing. Designed for use in a sophomore-level modern physics class as a supplement to regular instruction.

Why? These tutorials can support deeper understanding of quantum phenomena and spark productive reasoning for non-physics majors or for physics majors in classes with more mathematical sophistication.

Why not? An instructor might not want to use these if their objective is to focus on quantitative problem solving.

Example materials


Student skills developed

Designed for:
  • Conceptual understanding
  • Using multiple representations
  • Building models
  • Metacognition

Instructor effort required

  • Medium

Resources required

  • Computers for students
  • Tables for group work

Intro Article: B. Dreyfus, E. Sohr, A. Gupta, and A. Elby, “Classical-ish”: Negotiating the Boundary between Classical and Quantum Particles, presented at the Physics Education Research Conference 2015, College Park, MD, 2015.

You can download all the Tutorials on thinking about quantum entities for free from their PhysPort curriculum page.

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