2005 Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Showcase

2:30-5:00 p.m., April 19, 2005
Mary Gates Commons

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2:30 Posters | 2:30 Roundables | 4:00 Posters | 4:00 Roundtables

Discipline-Based Education Research as a Guide for Instruction

Lillian McDermott, Physics

The Physics Education Group conducts an internationally recognized program of research, curriculum development, and instruction to improve student learning in physics. For more than 30 years, we have been involved in the preparation of prospective and practicing teachers to teach physics and physical science by inquiry. For more than ten years we have been engaged in a major effort to improve the effectiveness of instruction at the introductory level and in more advanced courses. Through in-depth investigations of student understanding, the group seeks to identify and analyze specific difficulties that students encounter in studying physics. The findings are used to guide the development of instructional materials. Ongoing assessment takes place at the University of Washington and at pilot sites.

Physics by Inquiry (Wiley, 1996) is a self-contained curriculum primarily designed for the preparation of K-12 teachers. The curriculum consists of a set of laboratory-based modules that require active participation by the learner. The topics have been chosen to provide teachers with the background needed for teaching science competently and confidently.

Tutorials in Introductory Physics (Prentice Hall, 2002) is intended to supplement the lectures and textbooks through which physics is traditionally taught. Carefully sequenced experiments, exercises, and questions engage small groups of students in the type of active intellectual involvement that is necessary for developing a functional understanding of physics.

In addition to publication of the two curricula, results are disseminated through talks presented at national and international meetings and through papers published in refereed journals, magazines, and proceedings. The work of the group, which is supported by the National Science Foundation, has contributed significantly to the recognition of physics education research as an important field for scholarly inquiry in physics departments.

This poster will illustrate the process whereby research results are used to guide the development and assessment of curriculum.

Poster Session, 4:00-5:00 p.m.