How can I support discussion of multiple solutions?

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Episode 504: Gravitational energy Florida International University

There is usually more than one right way to solve a physics problem, and observing multiple solutions is often a route to deeper understanding. As instructors, how can we support discussion of multiple solutions?

January 5, 2022

Pedagogy Content
Facilitating collaboration
Physics Content
Instructor Interaction

Lesson Contents (6 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

(350 MB)Video
Captioned video


Sample Discussion Prompts

  1. The students present two different solutions. Is one more correct or higher quality than the other? What makes you say so?

  2. What does the instructor (Leon) do to support students to discuss each other’s solutions? Consider his verbal communication, nonverbal communication, and the way the classroom is arranged.

  3. Having not heard any questions from students, Leon asks, “Which one is right?” What do you think is the purpose of this question?

  4. Leon evidently asked a group to keep a version of their solution that they had decided to change (line 23). Why do you think he did this?

  5. What does this episode suggest about how to support discussion of multiple solutions?