Teaching Physics Practically Jane Coyle - Marian College, West Sunshine
What is a constructivist approach? Constructivist theory works on the premise that individuals construct understanding based on their past experiences and understanding. (Matusevich, 1995)
When an individual learns something new they have to reconcile this with their prior understanding. (Murphy, 1997) What is a constructivist approach?
The learner creates a new understanding, either accepting or discarding the new concept. ( Driver et al, 1995) What is a constructivist approach?
Guiding principles of constructivism: Learning is a search for meaning. Therefore, learning must start with the issues around which students are actively trying to construct meaning.
Meaning requires understanding wholes as well as parts. And parts must be understood in the context of wholes. Therefore, the learning process focuses on primary concepts, not isolated facts. Guiding principles of constructivism:
The purpose of learning is for an individual to construct his or her own meaning, not just memorize the “right” answers and regurgitate someone else’s meaning. Guiding principles of constructivism:
An Active Physics Course Focus on making connections between facts and fostering new understanding in students. Use strategies that encourage students to analyse, interpret, and predict information.
Pre reading Active learning Review & Problems An Active Physics Course
Pre reading Students are asked to read sections of the text before coming to class. They are expected to take notes and to write out questions on things they do not understand. Highlighting is banned! An Active Physics Course
Active Learning Every class involves some form of practical activity. Activity sheets involve guiding and reflective questions. Students are asked to find links between their reading and the activity. An Active Physics Course
Review and problems At least 10 minutes at the end of each class is used in group discussion of the activity. Have their questions from the reading been answered? How does it relate to the text problems? An Active Physics Course
PhysicSOS on Twitter A network of physics teachers to assist each other and non-physics trained junior science teachers http://twitter.com/physicSOS
References Driver, R., Asoko, H. Leach, J., & Scott, P. (1995). Constructing scientific knowledge in the classroom: a theoretical perspective on pedagogy. Paper Presented at AERA Annual Meeting , San Francisco. Matusevich, M. N. 1995, School Reform: What Role Can Technology Play in a Constructivist Setting .Montgomery County Public Schools, Last Updated: 10 April 1995 Murphy, E. 1997, Constructivism: From Philosophy to Practice, accessed: April 1 0, 2002,