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  1. Problem-Based Learning and Physics: Developing Problem Solving Skillsin All Students George Watson University of Delaware Contributors:Barbara Duch Ed Nowak PBL2004, Cancun

  2. But…where are the problems? Typical end-of-chapter problems can be solved by rote memorization, pattern-match, and plug-and-chug techniques Good problems should require students to make assumptions and estimates, develop models, and work through the model. A source of problems outside the commercial texts needs to be developed.

  3. NSF DUE 00-89408 CCLI-EMD The PBL program initiated at the University for reforming undergraduate science teaching is being expanded beyond the University by the development of instructional models and materials made accessible to faculty worldwide through an online clearinghouse.

  4. NSF DUE 00-89408 CCLI-EMD We are developing a database of problems, instructional models, evaluation tools, and web-based resources that effectively incorporate PBL across the content framework of introductory undergraduate physics courses.

  5. NSF DUE 00-89408 CCLI-EMD Materials are being collected and reviewed for a wide variety of introductory physics courses, for both science majors and non-science majors, across all levels of instruction and class enrollment.

  6. NSF DUE 00-89408 CCLI-EMD In addition to collecting existing problems and material, the project is implementing problem-writing workshops as an important element in developing the collection of PBL materials needed to cover the different curricula of physics at the college level.

  7. NSF DUE 00-89408 CCLI-EMD Selected clearinghouse problems will also be adapted to the high school and middle school setting.

  8. PBL Clearinghouse An online database of PBL articles and problems. All material is peer-reviewed by PBL practitioners for content and pedagogy. All problems are supported by learning objectives and resources, teaching and assessment notes. Holdings are searchable by author, discipline, keywords, or full text. Fully electronic submission, review, and publication cycle. Controlled access by free user subscription, students excluded.


  10. Crossed Circuits "How long does it take you to dry your hair?" came Chris's scream from the kitchen. "I'm trying to concentrate on my physics homework!" "Do you want the answer as a fraction of a year?" came Pat's retort from the bathroom." Then you can have fun looking up the conversion to minutes in the back of your textbook!" "You've been at it for at least 20 minutes. You know, you should have to pay extra toward the electric bill. I bet you spend an hour a day drying your hair. I think $5 extra each month would be about right.“ "You've gotta be kidding me. With you and your night light burning all night long, I bet you use much more electricity than me! What are you afraid of anyway?"

  11. Crossed Circuits "Yeah, but sometimes you fall asleep with your TV blaring. I bet that uses much more than my little night light." "Oh, please! That only happens once a month. Your Winnie-the-Pooh light is on every night! Besides, how about your incessant showering. You take at least twice as long in the shower as I do. That must cost much more than running my hair dryer. What do you do in there anyway?" Which roommate should pay a utility premium, Pat or Chris? How much extra?

  12. Crossed Circuits • Learning Objectives: • Appliances consume electrical power and that we pay for electrical energy. • Energy is the product of power consumed and the time over which it is consumed. • Electrical energy is commonly measured in kW-hr (kilowatt-hour) and energy charges are typically $0.05 to $0.08 per kW-hr. • Electrical heating typically consumes more power than lighting and other small appliances in the home.

  13. The Fastest Man in the WorldBarb Duch Part 1.You and some of your friends are gathered for a "Super Bowl" party at your apartment, since you received a big screen TV from your folks for Christmas. During the pre-game festivities, Janie moves over to your bookshelf to check out your current reading choices (most of which are textbooks, of course.) Picking up a book, she calls out to everyone, "Look here, I've found the new 2002 Guinness World Records. Let's take a look at some of these. Damon, what record do you want to hear about?" "What's the fastest record for opening beer bottles?" he laughed. "You won't believe this" Janie responded, "but a three-man team in Munich Germany opened 300 bottles of beer in 107 seconds in 1999!" She went on to say, "I want to know the fastest speed anyone's ridden a bike. I think it's taking me too long to get to the University most mornings. Wow, listen to this guys, Fred Rompelburg rode his bike on the Bonneville Flats in Utah at 167 mph in 1995.“ You and Damon are on the University track team, so you ask, "Who's the fastest human on record?" Everyone starts naming their favorite track star. Janie says, "I remember reading that Donovan Bailey was the fastest human, but I think that was a couple years ago. I wonder how they would decide who's the fastest?"

  14. The Fastest Man in the WorldBarb Duch • List the criteria you would use to decide who was the fastest runner. Be sure to list all the data you would require. • Where could you find the information you need?

  15. The Fastest Man in the WorldBarb Duch Part 2.Janie's question caused some major discussion and disagreements. The Guinness World Records lists USA's Maurice Greene as holding the outdoor record of 9.79s for the 100m in Athens, Greece, June 16. 1999. You take the stand that to decide the fastest runner, the split times need to be analyzed. Several at the party who aren't on the track team shout, "What are split times???" Janie says, "Would you just look at the 100m races, or would you look at others? Here it says that Donovan Bailey holds the 50m indoor record of 5.56s (1996) which was tied by Maurice Greene in 1999. But there are no split times listed, just total time. How can we figure this out?“ Running has now become a major topic of conversation at the party, instead of which team has the best quarterback or the best defense. Damon went on the internet to see what he could find. He says to Janie, " Look at this, Donovan Bailey was featured as the fastest man alive in the 1998 Guinness World Records at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996. Bailey in the article stated that he had run 27 mph.

  16. The Fastest Man in the WorldBarb Duch • Would you want to look at split times in order to decide who's the fastest runner? Explain why or why not. • Do you think you should look at indoor as well as outdoor record winners? Explain the physical factors that may impact the running speeds in both settings. • Through your research, list the top 5 sprinters that hold world or Olympic records indoors or outdoors. • Specify the criteria you will use to analyze the running data of your top runners. Justify your reasoning using physics principles related to forces and motion. Decide if an athlete's reaction time (at the start) should factor into the decision. Justify your reasoning. Name one way to factor out the reaction time. • Using your criteria, who is the fastest human on earth? Be sure to cite all resources you use to come to your decision.

  17. The Fastest Man in the WorldBarb Duch • Learning Objectives: • Sketch graphs to represent the motion of an object, and describe motion as represented by a graph. • Calculate the speed and acceleration of an object using data (gathered experimentally or derived from graphs). • Understand the difference between speed and acceleration. • Recognize how reaction time affects split times.

  18. Concluding remarks Field-testing is welcomed! Next Physics PBL writing workshop at University of Delaware will be attached to ITUE session of January 19-21, Contributions to PBL Clearinghouse are welcomed! In all disciplines… Translations and conversions of PBLC materials are also welcomed!