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Abstract Title: Pedagogical Approaches for Enhancing Cognitive Development in Introductory Physics
Abstract: We will present the approach we used to reform the first semester of the introductory algebra-based physics course at The George Washington University. The reform methodology sought to enhance students' cognitive development and improve their attitudes towards learning physics. The pedagogical approaches we developed include: 1) classification schemes that organize physics problems according to features related to physics principles; 2) learning progressions that combine traditional and research-based physics problems such that students gradually experience a new type of thinking as they learn a new topic; and 3) GW-ACCESS problem-solving protocol that builds on existing protocols but is accompanied by a specific teaching methodology and assessment. The instructional environment that we designed allows for explicit monitoring, control and measurement of the cognitive processes exercised during the instruction period.  We will discuss the course objectives, the teaching methodology and the results that show improvement in student attitudes and their problem-solving abilities.
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Raluca Teodorescu
The George Washington University
Department of Physics
725 21st Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20052
Phone: 202-994-3825
Fax: 202-994-3001
Co-Author(s)
and Co-Presenter(s)
Cornelius Bennhold
The George Washington University

Gerald Feldman
The George Washington University

Larry Medsker
The George Washington University