The Science Learnification Weekly (April 24, 2011)Posted: April 24, 2011
This is a collection of things that tickled my science education fancy in the last week or so. Another light week for posts to share; I was busy packing and moving to a new home.
Teach. Brian. Teach.
Brian Frank (Teach. Brian. Teach blog) has been on a tear with 10ish posts in the past couple of weeks. He posts about learning and learning about the learning about physics. I find that he posts a lot about the (teaching and) learning of physics in a way that causes me to reflect on my own classroom practices and course planning.
Even more learning from mistakes
There were a couple of articles from the last issue of the Physics Teacher (same one as the newest Cramster article I discussed last week). These articles are only available to subscribers of the Physics Teacher.
- “Find-the-Flaw” Problems: Styer gives them problems that are too challenging for the point that they are currently at and asks them to provide simple reasons why all but one of the provided possible answers are incorrect. These answers are symbolic and the students is meant to look things such as units and behaviors in limiting cases to be able to show which of the provided answers are not possible. One of the main goals of this type of activity is to get them to be much more effective at the “evaluate your answer” portion of problem solving.
- Teaching Physics (and Some Computation) Using Intentionally Incorrect Simulations: From the folks that brought you Physlets. They put some intentionally incorrect physics (such as wrong powers in formulas or electrostatic forces that depend on the charge of only one of the objects) and the students are asked to dig into the Easy Java Simulation code and properly debug it. This is meant to be a step easier than creating their own simulations, but in my experience debugging is unfun for most so I’m not sure if this is the kind of thing I would want to inflict on my students. I would lean more toward working them through the Matter and Interactions vPython tasks instead.