Teaching Introductory Physics Using Problem Solving – Why, What, and How?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009 - 3:15pm - 4:15pm
Reiss 502
Ken Heller
University of Minnesota

Problem solving is traditionally an essential element of an introductory physics course. It is at the core of the discipline of physics. In a class, problem solving can be both an important motivation and learning mechanism for students. It can also help them assess their progress in understanding of physics concepts and how they fit together. This talk will discuss the importance of teaching with problem solving, what teaching elements are essential to support student problem solving, and how these elements can be structured in a practical way to build a physics course. Particular issues are: how humans best learn complex skills such as problem solving; what constitutes a problem; how problems can be constructed to encourage strong problem solving behaviors and discourage weak ones; and the role of structured group work.

Host: Rhonda Dzakpasu