Science Education Reform: Force and motion from elementary school through college

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Science Education Reform: Force and motion from elementary school through college. AAPT Chesapeake Section Meeting April 20, 2001 Barbara J. Duch Associate Director, UD’s Math and Science Education Resource Center. Agenda. What are kids learning in grades 2-6 about forces and motion

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Science Education Reform: Force and motion from elementary school through college

AAPT Chesapeake Section Meeting

April 20, 2001

Barbara J. Duch

Associate Director, UD’s Math and Science Education Resource Center

Agenda
• What are kids learning in grades 2-6 about forces and motion
• What should science look like in K-16 classes?
• What is PBL?
• What’s happening in high school.
• What’s happening in college?
Force and Motion Strands:currently in grades 2-9
• Grade 2: Accounting for why objects move and balance

Balance and Weighing (forces that affect balance, present data, predict serial order of weights, communicate ideas, observations, demonstrate how pushes and pulls change position or direction, recognize different kinds of motion, and invisible forces (such as magnetism))

Grade 5: Explaining how forces produce changes in the motion and speed of objects
• Motion and Design

(Defining speed and measuring distance and time to get speed; organize data and graph it; explain how forces change speed and/or direction; how is speed influenced by mass, material, and design; explain how surface affects speed; develop vocabulary to describe relationship between speed, distance and time.)

Grade 6: Understanding forces that cause motion
• Conduct investigations to demonstrate that forces cause change in motion or direction
• Calculate average speed when various forces are applied to objects
• Predict and observe effects of friction on motion
• Organize and graph data

Since the high school and college years of their teachers, today’s students and their experiences have changed in many ways.

Will their classroom and learning experiences be any different from ours?

Or will we simply teach them as we were taught?

### The Way It Was... 1960’s and 70’s -----> 2000

• High level of communication skills
• Ability to define problems, gather and evaluate information, develop solutions
• Team skills -- ability to work with others
• Ability to use all of the above to address problems in a complex real-world setting

National Research Council Recommendations:
• Use cooperative learning
• Plan project-centered classes

and investigation oriented classes and labs

• Incorporate case studies, open-ended problems
• Use educational technologies effectively
Cooperative Learning:What the research shows

higher achievement, including knowledge acquisition, accuracy, creativity in problem-solving, and higher reasoning level.

• Attitude Effects

persistence towards goals, intrinsic motivation, applying learning in other situations, greater time on task

Johnson, Johnson, and Smith (1998 )

Science Classes Should:
• Offer both the process as well as the concepts of the discipline
• Show links and connections between related disciplines in science
• Place the subject in broader personal, historical, cultural, social or political context
• Provide intellectual tools needed to explore new areas.
National Research Council emphasizes that the central teaching strategy of science should be inquiry.
What is Inquiry?

Inquiry is the process by which scientists pose questions about the natural world and seek answers and deeper understanding, rather than knowing by authority or other processes.

National Science Education Standards

Science is for All Students
• Learning science is something students do, not something that is done to them.
• Students should:

- describe objects and events

- acquire knowledge

- construct explanations

- test those explanations

- communicate their ideas to others

Shift away from:

teachers presenting information and “covering” science content.

Including all topics, vocabulary, and info in text.

“cookbook” labs

Increase:

teachers facilitating student investigations and inquiry

focus on underlying concepts about how natural phenomena are explained.

Investigations initiated by student questions

collaborative groups discussing questions

Standards-based Science

From your own experience as students or teachers, what best practices have you observed that you might use in your own classes? Or what best practice have you done in your own classes?

### Methods of Active/Group Learning

STUDENT INVOLVEMENT

temporary groups permanent groups

“THINK/PAIR/SHARE” PBL

What is Problem-Based Learning?

Problem-based learning (PBL) is an instructional method that challenges students to "learn to learn," working cooperatively in groups to seek solutions to real world problems.

PBL prepares students to think critically and analytically, and to find and use appropriate learning resources.

What are the Common Features of PBL?
• Learning is initiated by a problem.
• Problems are based on complex, real-world situations.
• Information needed to solve problem is not initially given. Students identify, find, and use appropriate resources.
• Students work in permanent groups.
• Learning is active, integrated, cumulative, and connected.
Where We’re Going in High School…..

Forces and motion

• study car accidents
• seatbelts, airbags
• stopping distances
• skidding

understand and describe motion graphically, using data

Sandy Dayton Problem
• Sandy gets in a car accident on the way to school.
• What questions do the police need to answer?
• What measurements and data are needed?
How can you represent the motion of an object traveling at constant speed?
• Sketch one way of representing Sandy driving at .5 mi/min (30 mph)
• What would your sketch look like if she was driving 1 mi/min(60 mph)?
• Or .25 mi/min (15 mph)?
Motion: A Review

average speed = distance/time

Speed can be represented by strobe diagrams, graphs, equations

Constant Speed:

* * * * * * * * * * * *

No forces or balanced forces

Newton’s First Law

Constantly Changing Speed

Constantly increasing speed:

* * * * * * *

Net force in the direction of motion

Newton’s Second Law

Constantly Changing Speed

Constantly decreasing speed

* * * * * * *

Net force in direction opposite motion

Newton’s Second Law

Sandy Dayton continued ….

Sandy was moving at a constant speed until she hit her brakes and skidded to a stop.

But first….

Sandy is taken to the emergency room for x-rays and an EKG.

Why?

What happens to the body in a rear end collision?

Why do seatbelts and air bags save lives?

Questions to Research
• How fast was Sandy going?
• How fast was the driver behind her going?
• What was the distance between Sandy’s car and the van?
• What was the stopping distance for Sandy’s car/van?
John Henry - Traffic Cop
• What questions need to be answered?
• What measurements, data?
• What physics principles?
• Then initial introduction to momentum
John Henry … Page two
• Who died?
• Why is road condition important?
• Why did vehicle 1 travel further?
John Henry ….Page 3
• Outline procedure
• What info needed
• Newton 3 reinforced
John Henry… Judgment Day
• How fast were vehicles going?
• Which driver caused accident?