What if one student in a group knows the right answer?

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Episode 105: Kite University of Maryland

Group work is an important part of many science classes. If one student in a group already knows the right answer, does that help or hinder their collaboration?

July 2, 2018

Pedagogy Content
Facilitating collaboration
Physics Content
Newton's laws, Electrostatics
STEM-wide audiences

Lesson Contents (3 MB)Student Handout
Transcript, discussion questions, and problem

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

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

(98 MB)Video
Captioned video


Sample Discussion Prompts

  1. What strikes you about this episode? Tell your neighbor what you noticed.

  2. Many people feel that a major benefit of group work is that “someone will know the right answer.” Indeed, at the start of this episode, Caleb states an answer that is basically correct. Why doesn’t that settle the matter for the rest of the group?

  3. In a well-functioning tutorial, all participants have the opportunity to discuss their ideas. How do Caleb and Deb make sure that Deb gets to say what she thinks?

  4. Do you think Caleb sees his explanation (in lines 21 and 24) as contradicting Deb’s, or do you think he is trying to reconcile the two positions?

  5. Does Caleb’s response to Deb actually address Deb’s concerns?

  6. Bridget makes an analogy about a bowling ball and a golf ball that experience the same drag. Is she agreeing with Caleb, Deb, both, or neither?

  7. What difference does this episode suggest it makes if one student in a group knows the right answer?

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Productive group work5 LESSONS

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