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Discovery Methods in Physics at UTexas R. N. Little 1913-1986.

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Presentation on theme: "Discovery Methods in Physics at UTexas R. N. Little 1913-1986."— Presentation transcript:

1 Discovery Methods in Physics at UTexas R. N. Little 1913-1986

2 The Man Undergraduate at UT in Aerospace Engineering in 1929 Serious medical accident required return to Houston and Rice Unable to manage engineering curriculum changed major to physics and math Ph.D. from Rice in Low Energy Nuclear Physics Planned a career in industry In 1946, joined UT faculty in Physics Two lifetime projects: Guided Discovery Development of Science education in Latin America

3 His Mission Create more physicists Post Sputnik Physics (Physical Science) first 9 th grade Taught in local middle and high schools Developed Guided Discovery Create a cadre of teachers Teach 9 th grade as Guided Discovery

4 Our Mission Teach the scientific method Observation, Hypothesis, Testing Teach quantitative analysis Dimensional analysis Quantitative Connections Descriptions Use highest levels of Blooms Taxonomy

5 Our Clientele Freshman non-technical students Need a science course (area requirement) Need a lab Quantitative tag Generally no science background Little interest Fear

6 Our resources Graduate student instructors Experienced The best that we have Motivated Laboratory rooms Laboratory equipment support The University of Texas

7 The Offerings Two semesters of introductory physics 1/3 take only first semester Meets for 2 hours 2 times a week One two hour meeting per week for instructors Capacity of space and instructors three teaching lab rooms two long term semesters and summer

8 Goals The world is a knowable place Simple instrumentation Observations have implications Connections Subtle Aristotelian World is quantitative World is reasonable

9 Educational Effectiveness Student demand is greater than capacity We operate at capacity Three classrooms 12 hours/day Course evaluations very good Better than faculty Grading rigorous GPA lowering Alumni interviews very favorable

10 Cost Effective

11 Other Benefits Long term support for AIs Valuable teaching experience Different than taught No sage on the stage answer a question with a question Engagement teaching

12 Recent Additions New room renovated New course developed for education majors Elementary education methods incorporated Other sciences incorporated Four semester sequence We are still at capacity

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