The ComPADRE Collections

comPADRE Pedagogic Library

This collection describes a set of pedagogic approaches relevant to physics and astronomy education; it provides example activities for each. A detailed faculty guide to each teaching method is provided.

Teaching Methods

  • ConcepTests: are conceptual multiple-choice questions that focus on one key concept of an instructor's learning goals for a lesson. When coupled with student interaction through peer instruction, ConcepTests represent a rapid method of formative assessment of student understanding. Compiled by: David McConnell, North Carolina State University.
  • Interactive Lectures: draw students into the class and gain feedback on student understanding by interspersing short individual, pair, or small-group activities with the lecture.
  • Just-in-Time Teaching: Students in introductory courses read assigned material outside of class, respond to short questions online, then participate in discussion and collaborative exercises the following class period.
  • Mathematics and Statistic Models: Mathematical Models: grow out of equations that determine how a system changes from one state to the next (differential equations) and/or how one variable depends on the value or state of other variables. Statistical Models: include issues such as statistical characterization of numerical data, estimating the probabilistic future behavior of a system based on past behavior, extrapolation or interpolation of data based on some best-fit, error estimates of observations, or spectral analysis of data or model generated output.
  • Measurement and Uncertainty: While measurement might sometimes seem obvious, students can harbor basic misconceptions about measurement that prevent them from understanding science concepts. The goal of this module is to provide science educators clearly written, effective material to teach introductory level students the fundamentals of effective measurement, and describe how to integrate these ideas into science teaching.
  • PhET is a suite of research-based interactive computer simulations for teaching and learning physics, chemistry, math, and other sciences. PhET simulations can be run online or downloaded for free from the PhET website. The simulations are animated, interactive, and game-like environments where students learn through exploration. They emphasize the connections between real-life phenomena and the underlying science, and help make the visual and conceptual models of expert scientists accessible to students. PhET simulations are primarily developed for and tested with university and high school students, but have been found to be educational and fun for students "from grade school to grad school."
  • Teaching with Interactive Demonstrations: Interactive demonstrations strenghten students' abilities to observe, and stimulate questions and discussions. A demonstration can be used in its simplest form as a show-and-tell experience to enhance a lecture, or it can be developed as an effective hands-on, inquiry-based learning opportunity in a class or lab. Interactive demonstrations can also be used in classes of all sizes, as projection systems can make demonstrations visible to students in the backs of large classrooms.
  • Using Indoor Labs Labs provides students with opportunities for structured investigations and experiments with materials, models, and other equipment.

Workshops to Build the Collection

Summer 2007 Workshop: This workshop was held in conjunction with the AAPT Summer Meeting in Greensboro, NC. Participants in this workshop generated activities for the comPADRE Pedagogic Service activity collection.

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