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Abstract Title: Helping Students to Think Like Physicists in SDI Labs
Abstract: Socratic Dialogue Inducing (SDI) labs are relatively effective in promoting students' conceptual understanding of Newtonian mechanics, as judged by relatively large (~0.6) average pre-to-postest *normalized* learning gains on the FCI. In addition, SDI Labs are designed to help students *think like physicists*, e.g., to: (1) appreciate the need for operational definitions; (2) use and interpret pictorial, graphical, vectorial, mathematical, and written representations; (3) design experiments and control variables; and (4) consider thought experiments and limiting conditions. Two examples: (A) In a pre-Newton's-Second-Law-lab assignment, students indicate in words and/or sketches *operational definitions* of crucial kinematic terms such as position, displacement, time, and instantaneous acceleration. (B) For the tablecloth-slip-out trick, students derive an expression for the distance moved by a plate in terms of the time required to pull the cloth out from under it, and are then asked "Is the expression physically reasonable? - consider dimensions and limiting conditions."
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Richard Hake
Indiana University Emeritus
24245 Hatteras Street
Woodland Hills, CA 91367
Phone: 1-818-992-0632