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Developing the learning physical science curriculum: Adapting a small enrollment, laboratory and discussion based physical science course for large enrollments Documents

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Main Document

Developing the learning physical science curriculum: Adapting a small enrollment, laboratory and discussion based physical science course for large enrollments 

written by Fred Goldberg, Edward Price, Stephen J. Robinson, Danielle Boyd-Harlow, and Michael McKean

We report on the adaptation of the small enrollment, lab and discussion based physical science course, Physical Science and Everyday Thinking (PSET), for a large-enrollment, lecture-style setting. Like PSET, the new Learning Physical Science (LEPS) curriculum was designed around specific principles based on research on learning to meet the needs of nonscience students, especially prospective and practicing elementary and middle school teachers. We describe the structure of the two curricula and the adaptation process, including a detailed comparison of similar activities from the two curricula and a case study of a LEPS classroom implementation. In LEPS, short instructor-guided lessons replace lengthier small group activities, and movies, rather than hands-on investigations, provide the evidence used to support and test ideas. LEPS promotes student peer interaction as an important part of sense making via "clicker" questions, rather than small group and whole class discussions typical of PSET. Examples of student dialog indicate that this format is capable of generating substantive student discussion and successfully enacting the design principles. Field-test data show similar student content learning gains with the two curricula. Nevertheless, because of classroom constraints, some important practices of science that were an integral part of PSET were not included in LEPS.

Published by the American Physical Society under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. The citation for the article is: F. Goldberg, E. Price, S. Robinson, D. Boyd-Harlow, and M. McKean, Developing the learning physical science curriculum: Adapting a small enrollment, laboratory and discussion based physical science course for large enrollments, Phys. Rev. ST Phys. Educ. Res. 8 (1), 010121 (2012), 10.1103/PhysRevSTPER.8.010121.

Published May 9, 2012
Last Modified May 20, 2012

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Supplemental Documents

Appendices for "Developing the learning physical science curriculum: Adapting a small enrollment, laboratory and discussion based physical science course for large enrollments" 

Activities, lessons, and homework from the PSET and LEPS curricula that were discussed in Secs. IV and V, as well as the tables of contents of the two curricula.

Published by the American Physical Society under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. The citation for the original article is F. Goldberg, E. Price, S. Robinson, D. Boyd-Harlow, and M. McKean, Developing the learning physical science curriculum: Adapting a small enrollment, laboratory and discussion based physical science course for large enrollments, Phys. Rev. ST Phys. Educ. Res. 8 (1), 010121 (2012), 10.1103/PhysRevSTPER.8.010121.

Published May 9, 2012
Last Modified May 20, 2012