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Research Projects In Introductory Physics: Impacts On Student Learning Documents

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Research Projects In Introductory Physics: Impacts On Student Learning 

written by Mathew "Sandy" Martinuk, Rachel Moll, and Andrzej Kotlicki

Over the last two years UBC has completely revamped their introductory course for non-physics majors to present physics in terms of everyday situations and to reinforce connections between classroom physics and real-world phenomena throughout the course. One of the key changes was the incorporation of a final project where groups of students research and present on a topic of their choice related to the course. Students were asked to quantitatively model a real-world situation to make a choice or settle a dispute. At the midpoint and end of the 2008 course students were surveyed with a single transfer problem that tested students' ability to apply physics concepts in real-world contexts. The post-test showed students were more likely to engage in simple (rate)*(time) estimates rather than applying more sophisticated physics principles. Implications for instruction and future work are discussed.

Published November 11, 2009
Last Modified October 8, 2009

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