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May 22 Colloquium

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Kelly Miller, Harvard

Physics Education Research and Practice; From Lecture Demonstrations to the Flipped Classroom

Host: Stan Micklavzina

Abstract:This talk will discuss both recent research on the efficacy of physics lecture demonstrations as well as the implementation of a “flipped class” in the context of introductory physics curricula.   Research has shown that roughly one out of every five observations of a demonstration is inconsistent with the actual outcome. Furthermore, correct observation of a lecture demonstration appears to be related to how well a student understands the underlying physics concept before being shown the demo. These findings, as well as the role of prediction-making in demonstration pedagogy will be discussed in more detail.

Recent trends towards flipped classrooms raise interesting questions regarding the teaching of physics to large introductory classes.  The implementation and logistics of Applied Physics 50, a new flipped, ‘studio style’ physics class at Harvard, will be discussed. This course combines best practices to deliver a learning experience that helps students develop team and problem solving skills as well as a solid conceptual understanding of physics.