program_wb_i - page 129

July 26–30, 2014
Wednesday morning
Cookeville, TN 38505-0001;
Steve Robinson, Tennessee Technological University
This presentation will focus on the curriculum development work that
we have been doing with our algebra-based course sequence. LEAP* is
guided by research on student learning of physics and builds on the work
of the NSF supported project, Physics and Everyday Thinking (PET).
Students work in groups to develop their understanding of various physics
phenomena including forces, energy, electricity and magnetism, light and
optics. Students utilize hands-on experiments and computer simulations to
provide evidence to support their conceptual understanding. Traditional
problem solving is scaffolded by using the S.E.N.S.E. problem solving
strategy. An overview of the curriculum and assessment results will be
*Supported in part by NSF grants (DUE-0737324 and DUE-1245684)
9:10-9:20 a.m. Learning Assistants in Introductory
Physics: Successes and Challenges at WVU
Contributed – Paul M. Miller, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV
Jeffrey S. Carver, Kimberly Quedado, West Virginia University
In the fall of 2011, the West Virginia University Learning Assistants (LA)
program began. Since the funding came as a component of a larger grant,
our situation was well-suited to replication. Our program was designed
after attending the LA Workshop at the University of Colorado. From the
perspective of three years of LAs in our courses, we report successes, chal-
lenges, and lessons learned for both semesters of calculus-based introduc-
tory physics. We present content learning gains (from the FMCE and
CSEM) and attitudes (from the CLASS) data. We show that the program
has improved learning gains overall and in some targeted categories, such
as first-generation students. Finally, we document and explore differences
in course readiness between fall and spring enrollees that were revealed
through program assessment. (This project is supported by the National
Science Foundation under Grant No. EPS-1003907.)
9:20-9:30 a.m. Research-based Reform: Faculty as
Change Agents in Multiple Departments
Contributed – Adrienne L. Traxler, Florida International University, Depart-
ment of Physics, Miami, FL 33199;
Laird Kramer, Eric Brewe, David Brookes, Joseph Lichter ,Florida Interna-
tional University
The FIU Science Collaborative is a four-year project to reform under-
graduate science education at Florida International University, driving
institutional change through community building and faculty develop-
ment across multiple departments. Each year, a cohort of faculty scholars
undertakes transformation of their courses to incorporate and assess active
learning. Scholars engage with reform in a variety of ways, from adoption
of published research-based materials to creation of their own. We discuss
examples and the bridges between faculty developers, faculty, and science
education researchers that foster successful change.
9:30-9:40 a.m. Implementation of a Flipped Classroom
Across Multiple Sections
Contributed – Scott Paulson, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA
We have implemented a flipped classroom for our calculus-based introduc-
tory physics sequence. The course was delivered by five instructors to
approximately 250 students. Prior to “flipping,” different sections were in
various stages of reform, though all included some degree of interactive en-
gagement. In our flipped courses we have much greater uniformity across
sections in terms of content coverage. Student attitudes and outcomes will
be discussed in light of data from end of semester evaluations and FCI pre/
post tests.
9:40-9:50 a.m. Seven Years of Change: Outcomes from
the Science Education Initiative
Contributed – Stephanie Chasteen, University of Colorado Boulder, UCB
390, Boulder, CO 80309;
Katherine K. Perkins, University of Colorado Boulder
In 2005, the Science Education Initiative (SEI) at the University of
Colorado was launched as a $5 million, university-funded project to sup-
port departments in improving science education (
edu/sei). The SEI has funded work across seven STEM departments and
dozens of courses to institute a scientific approach to educational reform
driven by three questions: What should students learn? What are students
learning? Which instructional approaches improve student learning?
The SEI is structured with a small team of central staff, and a cohort of
Science Teaching Fellows—postdocs, hired into individual departments,
who partner with faculty to identify learning goals, develop instructional
materials, and research student learning. Key elements of the program are
its departmental focus and bottom-up structure. As the SEI draws to a
close, we have an opportunity to reflect upon the impacts of the program.
This talk will highlight the outcomes of the SEI model, including both
affordances, and lessons learned.
Session FD: Introductory Courses
Location: Tate Lab 131
Sponsor: AAPT
Date: Wednesday, July 30
Time: 8:30–10 a.m.
Presider: Jim Madsen
8:30-8:40 a.m. Should (and Can) We Teach Forces
Contributed – Andrew E. Pawl, University of Wisconsin-Platteville, 1 Univer-
sity Plaza, Platteville, WI 53818-3099;
Interactions are the heart of the mechanics course and forces are the fun-
damental representation of interactions. Thus, from an educational theory
standpoint, teaching forces first in mechanics is an attractive option.
Traditional instruction in mechanics, however, begins by teaching the
concept of acceleration from a kinematic perspective before introducing
Newton’s second law. I briefly summarize a pedagogy that illustrates the
potential utility of teaching forces before kinematics and presents evidence
that college students in calculus-based mechanics perform equally well
in courses that begin with forces as they do in courses that begin with
8:40-8:50 a.m. Phenomenon-based Learning Using
Gadgets & Gizmos
Contributed – Matthew Bobrowsky, 11300 Classical Ln., Silver Spring, MD
Phenomenon-Based Learning (PBL) arose from a collaboration with
teachers in Finland, which is now seen as a major international leader in
education. PISA assessments showed that Finnish students were among
the top in science proficiency levels. Of 74 countries, in 2009 Finland
ranked #2 in science. (The U.S. ranked #23.) The PBL teaching philosophy
combines elements of what’s done in Finland with what’s known about
effective teaching based on science education research. The approach
includes responsive teaching and inquiry-based collaborative learning,
along with elements of problem-based learning, project-based learning,
and hands-on experiments. The idea is to teach broader concepts and
useful thinking and performance skills (as with NGSS) rather than asking
students to simply memorize facts. By exploring first and getting to a theo-
retical understanding later, students are working like real scientists, having
the opportunity to pursue creative approaches to understanding, learning
more, and having fun in the process!
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