Description: A traditional first year physics laboratory, focused on learning physics concepts, can leave students overwhelmed, without any demonstrable benefit to the students' physics knowledge. With this in mind, the first year physics laboratories at University of British Columbia have been transformed, with the emphasis being turned toward data handling, statistics, and how to use data in critical reasoning. The transformation includes scaffolding that promotes students to work through repeated cycles of improving the quality of their measurements and comparisons to models. Across a three year study, we have shown that students will adopt this more authentic, iterative approach to measurement and modelling, and maintain it after the scaffolding is faded out. In addition to this improved habit-of-mind, we find that the students also improve greatly in their ability to use data in critical reasoning.
Speaker: Dr. Doug Bonn
Institution: University of British Columbia
Host: Bruce Gaulin