What if one student in a group has done the activity before?

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Episode 202: Newton University of Colorado Boulder

Physics tutorials are one-hour worksheet-based activities in which students collaborate to address a particularly difficult physics concept. What happens if one student in the group has done the activity before? Does that student’s prior experience enrich the collaboration, hinder it, or neither?

July 2, 2018

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

Lesson Contents (6 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

(139 MB)Video
Captioned video


Sample Discussion Prompts

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

  2. We can tell Andrew has done this tutorial before (in a previous term), because he says “This one stuck in my head real hard from last time.” What made it memorable for him?

  3. Has Andrew’s prior experience with this tutorial activity made him confident about the physics?

  4. Does Andrew’s prior experience with this tutorial make the collaboration better or worse? Do they get to the right answer more effectively because of him? Does his prior knowledge get in the way of others’ reasoning? Or something else?

  5. These participants are TAs and LAs, meaning they all should have “done the activity before” in some sense (when they took introductory physics themselves). What does their discussion tell you about the physics ideas addressed in this tutorial?

  6. What does this episode suggest happens if one person in a group has done the activity before?

Collections featuring this lesson

Colorado LA Pedagogy Course21 LESSONS Productive group work5 LESSONS

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