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Clicker Use in upper-level physics courses Michael Dubson Dept. of Physics U. Colorado at Boulder Please pick up a clicker.

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Presentation on theme: "Clicker Use in upper-level physics courses Michael Dubson Dept. of Physics U. Colorado at Boulder Please pick up a clicker."— Presentation transcript:

1 Clicker Use in upper-level physics courses Michael Dubson Dept. of Physics U. Colorado at Boulder Please pick up a clicker. And please sit near front.

2 Physics Education Research University of Colorado at Boulder Physics faculty:Physics faculty: Noah Finkelstein Steven Pollock Michael Dubson Kathy Perkins Carl Wieman Postdocs:Postdocs: Stephanie Chasteen Laurel Mayhew Sam McKagan Archie Paulson Ph. D. students: Charles Baily Noah Podolefsky Chandra Turpen Lauren Kost School of Ed collaborators: Prof. Valerie Otero Bud Talbott Kara Gray http://

3 Novice vs. Expert:

4 CU Physics course reforms since 1997: Peer Instruction Conceptual exams Interactive Homework Helproom Washington Tutorials/ undergrad TA's Pre/post tests Team-teaching

5 All freshmen classes and Physics III transformed Strong efforts in upper-level Math Methods, QM, E&M, Stat Mech At U.Colorado Boulder, 70% of undergrads (17,000) use clickers in >100 courses in 15 departments.

6 A Difficult Question: What Letter Am I thinking of? ABCDEABCDE Confer with your neighbors, then vote.

7 Worse Concept Tests merely test recall blind application of formula/recipe many numbers Better Concept Tests qualitative understanding students provide next step in the lecture use familiar skill in unfamiliar context support a learning goal

8 What happens during my QM1 or StatMech class ? 50 min lecture: Clicker question running when students enter ~ 30 min lecture in 10 min chucks ~ 20 min on 3 or 4 concept tests, discussion, demos Group discussion enforced with clicker groups Mostly traditional (difficult) homeworks Exams mix of computational and qualitative/conceptual Formula sheet on exams.

9 A ball rolls back and forth in a valley. Eventually, the ball slows and stops. We never observe the reverse. Consider : Conservation of energy (1 st Law of Thermo) Entropy of an isolated system increases (2 nd Law) Conservation of momentum The reverse process never occurs because this would violate: A) 2nd Law only B) All three C) Cons. of energy & cons. of mom. D) Cons.of energy & 2ndLaw E) Cons.of mom. & 2ndLaw

10 Giving the answer STOPS discussion Elicit student reasoning, before giving answer. Understanding why wrong answers are wrong is as important as why right answers are right. Value reasoning above answer. A right answer without a reason is useless. A wrong answer for a good reason has value. Student must be convinced that understanding = high exam score. memorizing answers to specific questions = low exam score.

11 5 charges, q, are arranged in a regular pentagon, as shown. What is the E field at the center? A) Zero B) Non-zero C) Really need trig and a calculator to decide q q q q q 2.5

12 A plane wave, incident from the left, tunnels through potential barrier. E-eigenstate solution has A) the same wavelength on both sides of the barrier B) a smaller wavelength after tunneling C) a larger wavelength after tunneling E V x Re[ same smaller larger

13 50% answered (B) due to misuse of a rule: in deeper parts of well V(x), eigenstates have shorter wavelength (bigger KE) and smaller amplitude (shorter dwell time) Students tend to... remember the first thing told over-generalize So.. Be careful how you introduce a topic. Design CTs to test limits of validity.

14 Griffiths, Intro to QM 2 nd Ed.

15 The ground state energy of a finite square well is ______ than the grd state energy the infinite square well with the same width a A) the sameB) higher C) lower a ? a

16 How do you make up good Concept Tests? Key points in lecture make with CT Don't tell. Ask. What is my learning goal? Test with CT Listen in on student-student conversations in the Helproom.

17 Physics HelpRoom All TA's and faculty hold office hours here. Hours staggered, room is always staffed.

18 What is ? A)ZeroB) 1C) 2 D) (0)E) (x 2 – x 1 )

19 Can the wavefunction (x,t) describing an arbitrary physical state always be written in the form where n (x) and E n is solution of ? A) YesB) No Thanks to Chandralekha Singh, U. Pittsburg

20 Peer Instruction/ ConcepTests, Eric Mazur, Harvard 1997 Crouch and Mazur, Am. J. Phys. 69, 970 (2001) Also see: Beatty et. al., Am. J. Phys. 74, 31 (2006) Reay et al., Am. J. Phys. 73, 554 (2005)

21 Poor use of clickers.. solely for taking attendance for quizzes or high-stakes testing only occasionally, or at set times Better use of clickers.. Integrated into lecture, frequent Require peer instruction Mix of difficulty: very easy to very difficult CTs Generous credit for any answer Low grade impact (~2%)

22 Problem: Good CTs lead to good class discussion, eats into lecture time Solution: Stop complaining. Avoid long derivations in lecture: Create HW problems that test knowledge of derivations. Detailed derivations online or in assigned reading. Derive in class only if making point testable with CTs

23 Golden Rule of Lecture. It's OK to lecture less, because they're not listening anyway. (Scribe mode listening) Use Concept Tests & Peer Instruction : Active learning better than passive learning

24 Physics students are very busy (and human): They have extensive training in : Symbol manipulation Getting the right answer Effort-minimization Survival They have little training in: Sense-making Articulation of ideas Prioritization of knowledge Group work Solving vague problems

25 Another Golden Rule of Lecture. Emphasize qualitative reasoning and conceptual understanding. in lecture on homeworks on exams It doesn't matter if they can compute the acceleration, if they don't know what acceleration is.

26 because students can misinterpret what we say. Two-way conversations with students are vital, Pearls Before Swine by Stephan Pastis, 2002.

27 Concept Test An unopened bottle of Champagne, equipped with a pressure gauge, has been sitting on the shelf for a long time. The bottle is given a brief, vigorous shake. What happens to the pressure in the bottle? (A brief shake will raise the temperature < 0.01 o C) A) The pressure remains unchanged B) The pressure falls significantly. C) The pressure rises significantly.

28 Conclusions Students learn by doing, not by listening Concept Tests and Peer Instruction can work well in upper-division courses. Libraries of upper-division CTs coming soon at.. http:// (Please return your clicker.)

29 Appedices: Following slides for Q/A use.

30 Standardized Pre/post tests: Physics1 Mechanics: FCI, FMCE, Physics2 E&M: BEMA Need some assessment of success/failure.

31 Expert / Novice views of problem solving ( Kathleen Harper, Ohio State, Physics Teacher April 2006) Problem solving is.. a process Problem solving begins with … qualitative analysis Problem classification is based on.. deep structure Tools include.. graphs, diagrams, limits, conservation laws, etc "the equation" / a recall task / hunt for "the equation" / surface features

32 Concept Test /Peer Instruction How many liters of Scotch Whiskey are stored in Scotland? Hints: Scotch is aged ~10 years before sale. All Scotch is made in Scotland. A) 300,000B) 3 million C) 30 millionD) 300 million E) 3 billion

33 The Message: Answer NOT important. Strategy is the goal. Strategy: Store as much as you can sell. Sales depends on population and average demand. Student must be convinced that understanding strategies = high exam score. memorizing answers to specific questions = low exam score.

34 Quantitative vs. Qualitative Problems Quantitative: In the circuit, V = 25V, R 1 = R 2 = 10, R 3 = R 4 = R 5 = 15, R 6 = 50. What is the current through resistor R 3 ? Qualitative. When R6 increases, the current through R3 _______. A) Increases B) decreases C) remains constant?

35 Washington Tutorials replacing traditional TA-led recitations Success required: Dedicated space / furniture Lab equipment Undergraduate TA's Proper training of staff

36 The Golden Rules of Lecturing: If they learned something, but they leave hating the subject, you have failed. Morale is vital: Talk to/listen to students, especially during office hours. Rule 1.

37 Survey Q12. How useful for your learning is the addition of clicker questions compared to pure lecture with no clicker questions? 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% 35% 40% 45% 50% clickers much more useful clickers more useful samelecture more useful lecture much more useful

38 Student feedback very positive: 2 out of 30 students objected to class time spent on Concept Tests Enthusiastic response from others: More than half the students listed Concept Tests as the single most effective aspect of course. "Concepts emphasized – really helpful to get beyond the math" "Please teach quantum, no one understands it" Reform sustainable? In the 6 semesters since reform of Stat Mech, 1/2 professors have used Concept Tests 1/2 professors have taught traditional course.

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