Aapt summer 2012 active engagement materials for subatomic physics


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  • Context: Research-based instructional strategies (RBIS)have almost universally started in the introductory sequence and slowly “percolated” up through the sophomore and junior courses.Goal: Develop a range of active engagement materials for upper-division nuclear and particle physics courses, lowering the barrier for instructors to move so that instructors can more easily bring empirically tested pedagogies into.
  • Aapt summer 2012 active engagement materials for subatomic physics

    1. 1. Active Engagement Materialsfor Nuclear & Particle Physics Courses Jeff Loats, MSU Denver Ken Krane, Oregon State University Cindy Schwarz, Vassar College AAPT Summer 2012 Supported by NSF Award # DUE-1044037
    2. 2. 2 About The Grant – In ProgressNational Science Foundation (NSF) – 1 of 3 years complete. Transforming Undergraduate Education in Science (TUES)• Context: – Research-based instructional strategies (RBIS) almost universally start in the introductory sequence. – Some well-tested pedagogies have “percolated” up through the sophomore and junior courses.• Goals: – Develop a range of active engagement materials for nuclear and particle physics courses. – Encourage and enable instructors to bring empirically tested pedagogies into these courses.
    3. 3. 3 Types of MaterialsPre-lecture “WarmUp” questions (for use with Just in Time Teaching).Conceptual discussion questions (for use with Peer Instruction).Back-of-the-envelope estimation exercises, using both recent and historical physics experiments.Small projects and case studies using information from nuclear and particle physics databases.Conceptual exam questions (to close the loop)
    4. 4. 4 Just in Time Teaching• Used in Intro courses for 15+ years.• Effectiveness has been shown in many contexts• Easy to adopt: Just in Time Teaching is an excellent way to bring active engagement to a more traditional lecture course.Basics of JiTT• Students answer 2-3 short-response questions (called WarmUps) the night before lecture. – Usually conceptual, graded on effort• Instructor reads responses “just in time” and uses them to modify lecture and motivate discussion.
    5. 5. 5 Example JiTT WarmUp QuestionsDescribe in your own words the reason that all nucleiin their ground state have an electric dipole momentof zero.There are three color charges (RGB) and each gluoncarries a color and an anticolor. Why then are thereonly eight gluons and not the nine (3x3) we mightexpect?
    6. 6. 6 Peer Instruction• Used in many courses for 20+ years• Highly effective, especially when paired with JiTT• Usually implemented with “clickers”Basics of Peer Instruction• Difficult conceptual questions are asked during class• Students respond individually without discussing• Students discuss their choice in informal groups• Students respond individually, post discussion• Class-wide discussion of the question and answers
    7. 7. 7 Example Peer Instruction QuestionThe following vertex shows aHiggs Boson decaying intotwo fermions.According to the standardmodel, which of the followingquarks would the Higgs most likely decay into?A) top and anti-topB) strange and anti-strangeC) up and anti-upD) charm and anti-charm
    8. 8. 8 Back-Of-The-Envelope Estimations• From famous Fermi Questions to quick proofs-of- concept, estimations are important in physics.• Estimation discourages calculators and too-precise answers. (No calculators allowed!)• Estimation encourages a focus on key parameters and central concepts.• We try to base estimation exercises on either relevant recent or historical experiments.
    9. 9. 9 Example Estimation ExerciseConsider the fusion reactions 2H + 2H 3He + n and 2H + 2H 3H + 1HSuppose each one is initiated in an identical fashionby colliding two 2H nuclei head-on with equal kineticenergies. In which reaction would you expect thetotal kinetic energies of the two final products to begreater, and on what basis do you form yourexpectation?
    10. 10. 10 Small Projects/Case Studies• Context-Rich-Problems and other similar techniques have shown the power of digging into detailed case studies.• Applying academic knowledge to real situations helps integrate concepts and solidify learning.• Flexible! These small-group activities can be used in class or as weekly projects.
    11. 11. 11 Example Case StudyConsider the image *…+ The line emergingfrom the bottom corresponds to anelectron struck by a muon antineutrino. Ca) What is the direction of the magnetic B field in the bubble chamber?b) Describe the change in the trajectory that A occurs around the point marked A in the image.c) What physical process must have occurred at A in order for the trajectory to have changed in this way?d) Etc.
    12. 12. 12 Conceptual Exam Questions• Leaving your course assessments (exams) unchanged is one way to accidentally derail an effort to move a course toward active engagement.• Conceptual exam questions are answered in sentences.• Offer powerful insight into the depth of knowledge our students have gained (or… not).
    13. 13. 13 Example Conceptual Exam QuestionsConsider a hypothetical nucleus with 10 nucleons.a) In terms of the various interactions inside the nucleus, why is it that a clump of 10 neutrons is not a stable configuration?b) How many stable configurations of 10 nucleons are there? Justify your answer with an empirical argument.
    14. 14. 14 Find, Use, Share!• As with all PER work, if this ends up molding on our hard drives we have failed.• We sincerely hope you will test, use, tweak and modify these materials for use in your courses. (Modern physics? Conceptual courses?)• Please take a card, send an email or google us: Jeff Loats, jeff.loats@gmail.com Ken Krane, kranek@science.oregonstate.edu Cindy Schwarz, schwarz@vassar.edu Find these slides at www.slideshare.net/jeffloats Our thanks to the NSF for their support! (Award # DUE-1044037)