Proposal Title

The “Finding Physics” Project: Impacting Student Learning, Attitudes, and Critical Thinking in Introductory Level Courses

Proposal Abstract

We have designed a series of assignments to combat the common misconception often held by our introductory level students that the course content is unrelated to their lives or career interests. In the “Finding Physics” project, students present visual evidence of examples of physics they have encountered in their everyday lives, in the popular media, or in their other courses. They ask a quantitative question related to their examples, decide what assumptions are necessary to model the problem, and then solve using conceptual understanding and critical reasoning skills they are developing in class. As a final step, students reflect on their answers and communicate their results to their peers. We have collected data from student self-assessments of learning gains and attitudes for three semesters of the project in both algebra- and calculus-based first year physics classes. Preliminary results indicate that students report a positive impact on their learning and on their recognition of the relevance of the subject matter to the real world. We will present our research results and engage the audience in a discussion about how the project concept could be applied to introductory courses in other disciplines.

Location

Room 2002

Publication Type and Release Option

Presentation (Open Access)

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Mar 27th, 10:00 AM Mar 27th, 10:45 AM

The “Finding Physics” Project: Impacting Student Learning, Attitudes, and Critical Thinking in Introductory Level Courses

Room 2002

We have designed a series of assignments to combat the common misconception often held by our introductory level students that the course content is unrelated to their lives or career interests. In the “Finding Physics” project, students present visual evidence of examples of physics they have encountered in their everyday lives, in the popular media, or in their other courses. They ask a quantitative question related to their examples, decide what assumptions are necessary to model the problem, and then solve using conceptual understanding and critical reasoning skills they are developing in class. As a final step, students reflect on their answers and communicate their results to their peers. We have collected data from student self-assessments of learning gains and attitudes for three semesters of the project in both algebra- and calculus-based first year physics classes. Preliminary results indicate that students report a positive impact on their learning and on their recognition of the relevance of the subject matter to the real world. We will present our research results and engage the audience in a discussion about how the project concept could be applied to introductory courses in other disciplines.