Document Type

Article

Version

Published Open Access

Publication Date

10-18-2007

Publication Title

Physical Review Special Topics - Physical Education Research

DOI

10.1103/PhysRevSTPER.3.020105

Abstract

Although guided-inquiry methods for teaching introductory physics have been individually shown to be more effective at improving conceptual understanding than traditional lecture-style instruction, researchers in physics education have not studied differences among reform-based curricula in much detail. Several researchers have developed University of Washington–style tutorial materials, but the different curricula have not been compared against each other. Our study examines three tutorials designed to improve student understanding of Newton’s third law: the University of Washington’s Tutorials in Introductory Physics (TIP), the University of Maryland’s Activity-Based Tutorials (ABT), and the Open Source Tutorials (OST) also developed at the University of Maryland. Each tutorial was designed with different goals and agendas, and each employs different methods to help students understand the physics. We analyzed pretest and post-test data, including course examinations and data from the Force and Motion Conceptual Evaluation (FMCE). Using both FMCE and course data, we find that students using the OST version of the tutorial perform better than students using either of the other two.

Comments

Physical Review Special Topics - Physical Education Research is an open access peer-reviewed journal published by the American Physical Society.

Published Citation

Smith, T. I. & Wittmann, M. C. (2007). Comparing three methods for teaching Newton's law. Physical Review Special Topics - Physics Education Research, 3 (020105), 1-8.

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