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Abstract Title: Exploring the Role of Design Problems in the Physics Classroom
Abstract: A feature missing in many physics courses is design work, which would better prepare science and engineering students for future work where design plays a bigger role. This realization has already led to significant changes in K-12 curricula, and we are exploring the role of design problems at a post-secondary level, where incorporating such problems allows for unique opportunities for students to create and adjust models of physics principles. This investigation takes a close look at how groups of students in a section of introductory physics at Michigan State University approach design problems, and how learning is affected. In order to inform and assist instructors and researchers, we have adapted a framework traditionally used in engineering design to characterize the problem-solving steps we observed. Our investigation highlights the utility of design, and offers up some additional questions and possible explanations on the impact of design problems in the physics classroom.
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster Presentation

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Paul Hamerski
Michigan State University