OLI: Physics panel

March 10, 2008

Richard Sohmer

This afternoon is panel based to look at how a Learning Science approach has been used in Physics teaching. The first presentation looked at switching to an “Investigators Club”

Move from “Talk, Text and Identity” to “Talk, Task and Tools”. The talk was described as Accountable talk with 6 ways to get people talking – not to be treated as rules. Tasks are based on the demos to support them based on home available equipment. Tools are to enable children in particular to visualise physics problems. Simulations are used to allow an approach of practice, practice, practice.


Kurt VanLehn

Kurt from University of Pittsburgh talked about design procedure:

Assessment -> tasks -> knowledge -> pathways -> instruction.

Demonstrated by looking at some Physics problems from the Force Concept Inventory comparing qualitative examples with quantitative. The approach is to look for “confluences” when (say) increasing one value causes another to decrease. This is then turned into step based tutoring – which gave gains even when very simply implemented.


Paul Steif

Further Physics examples were provided by Paul with examples of real objects and simulations. He was mainly looking at levers and had a great illustration a truck falling in the river. General approach of evoking familiar experiences can challenge students to give physical interpretations.



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