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Classroom demonstrations: Learning tools or entertainment?
1.R. Di Stefano, “Preliminary IUPP results: Student reactions to in-class demonstrations and to the presentation of coherent themes,” Am. J. Phys. 64, 58–68 (1996).
2.I. A. Halloun and D. Hestenes, “Common sense concepts about motion,” Am. J. Phys. 53, 1056–1065 (1985).
3.P. A. Kraus, “Promoting active learning in lecture-based courses: demonstrations, tutorials, and interactive tutorial lectures,” Ph.D. thesis, University of Washington (1997), available on University Microfilms, Inc., UMI No. 9736313, and references therein. Kraus includes an excellent, extensive bibliography and review of education research on demonstrations.
4.W.-M. Roth, C. J. McRobbie, K. B. Lucas, and S. Boutonné, “Why may students fail to learn from demonstrations? A social practice perspective on learning in physics,” J. Res. Sci. Teach. 34, 509–533 (1997).
5.See, for example, L. C. McDermott, “Oersted Medal lecture 2001: ‘Physics education research—the key to student learning,’” Am. J. Phys. 69, 1127–1137 (2001).
6.Several such approaches are listed in Sec. VII of L. C. McDermott and E. F. Redish, “Resource letter: PER-1: Physics education research,” Am. J. Phys. 67, 755–767 (1999).
7.D. R. Sokoloff and R. K. Thornton, “Using interactive lecture demonstrations to create an active learning environment,” Phys. Teach. 35, 340–347 (1997).
8.A preliminary version of this study was first reported at an American Association of Physics Teacher’s Meeting: J. P. Callan, C. Crouch, and E. Mazur, “Classroom demonstrations: education or mere entertainment?” AAPT Announcer 29, 89 (1999).
9.E. Mazur, Peer Instruction: A User’s Manual (Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ, 1997).
10.We recorded predictions both for later analysis and to serve as an attendance record; in the observe mode, the instructor recorded attendance separately.
11.See EPAPS Document No. for an example of a predict mode viewgraph and a discuss mode worksheet in an online appendix. Also provided is the end-of-semester test used for assessment. In discuss mode, students worked in the same groups in which they did other collaborative exercises throughout the section meeting. A direct link to this document may be found in the online article’s HTML reference section. The document may also be reached via the EPAPS homepage (http://www.aip.org/pubservs/epaps.html) or from ftp.aip.org in the directory /epaps. See the EPAPS homepage for more information.[Supplementary Material]
12.The seven demonstrations were, in the order presented during the semester: (1) Driving a radio-controlled model car on a lightweight roadbed with little friction beneath the roadbed and the floor, so that the roadbed moves when the car starts; (2) colliding a rubber ball and a putty ball with a bowling pin to see which ball knocks the pin over; (3) comparing tension in a string when fixed to a wall at one end versus when attached to weights at both ends; (4) comparing the time of travel for balls on two tracks which have the same starting and ending points, but one track dips lower than the other in the middle; (5) demonstrating the minimum starting height for a model car to travel around a vertical loop without falling; (6) for a puck revolving on tabletop at the end of a string, showing the effect of string length on angular speed; (7) for a beam supported at each end by platform scales, showing effect of position of load on scale readings. The end-of-semester test used to assess understanding (Sec. IV) describes each demonstration in detail and can be found online (Ref. 11).
13.We confirmed that the populations in each mode were equivalent by calculating the average student final grade for each mode. In calculating the averages, each student was included as many times as he or she had participated in that mode. The average final grades for the observe, predict, and discuss modes were 71.58%, 71.59%, and 71.56%, respectively; the average final grade for the no demo mode was 70.15%. The difference between the no demo group and the other groups is not statistically significant at the level.
14.The rates of correct outcomes and explanations were computed by aggregating (from all seven demonstrations) all student responses that were associated with a given demonstration mode, and then calculating the fraction of correct responses. In other words, the rate is not an average over rates for individual demonstrations.
15.The p values given are for a two-tailed test of the hypothesis such values are commonly interpreted as the probability that the treatment group differs from the control group. A difference is statistically significant if Our calculation of p values follows the approach outlined in Sec. 8.2 of D. S. Moore and G. P. McCabe’s, Introduction to the Practice of Statistics 3rd ed. (Freeman, New York, 1998).
16.Cohen’s effect size index h is calculated from the difference in the arcsine transformation of the proportions; see J. Cohen, Statistical Power Analysis for the Behavioral Sciences 2nd ed. (Erlbaum Associates, Hillsdale, NJ, 1988), Chap. 6. Data in which the individual values are binary and the average is a number between zero and one are called proportions.
17.A. P. Fagen, “Assessing and enhancing the introductory science course in physics and biology: Peer instruction, classroom demonstrations, and ge-netics vocabulary,” Ph.D. thesis, Harvard University (2003).
18.R. N. Steinberg and M. S. Sabella, “Performance on multiple-choice diagnostics and complementary exam problems,” Phys. Teach. 35, 150–155 (1997).
19.N. S. Rebello and D. A. Zollman, “The effect of distracters on student performance on the Force Concept Inventory,” Am. J. Phys. 72, 116–125 (2004).
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