How can I move students toward a solution?

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Episode 206: Normal force University of Colorado Boulder

In facilitating group work, one of the instructor's jobs can be to help students develop their ideas. How can instructors help to move students toward a solution?

July 5, 2018

Pedagogy Content
Developing student ideas
Physics Content
Newton's laws
Instructor Interaction
STEM-wide audiences

Lesson Contents (2 MB)Student Handout
Transcript, discussion questions, and problem

(1 MB)Specific Lesson Guide
Facilitator's guide for this lesson

(1 MB)General Facilitator's Guide
Background and best practices

(325 MB)Video
Captioned video


Sample Discussion Prompts

  1. What did you notice in this episode? Talk to your neighbor about what you noticed.

  2. The first step in effectively facilitating student learning is to find out where the students are coming from. What does Lynn (the instructor) say that gets her students to articulate their ideas?

  3. What does Lynn do (nonverbally) to support the students in expressing themselves?

  4. Does Lynn do anything that might inhibit the students from expressing themselves?

  5. Sometimes instructors support students in thinking for themselves, and sometimes they provide explicit assistance in how to solve problems. What do you see Lynn as doing? What are some of the positive and negative aspects of her approach?

  6. Lynn seems to be aware of at least one common incorrect idea about the normal force. What is this common incorrect idea? Is there evidence that her students have this idea?

  7. What does this episode suggest about how instructors can help move students towards a solution?

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