Skip to main content
banner image
No data available.
Please log in to see this content.
You have no subscription access to this content.
No metrics data to plot.
The attempt to load metrics for this article has failed.
The attempt to plot a graph for these metrics has failed.
The full text of this article is not currently available.
1.For example, see Arthur Eisenkraft,“They're back! The first day of school,” Phys. Teach. 27, 424431 (Sept. 1989).
2.The Science Education Initiative collects first-day activities for STEM courses. See
3.For more about the importance of shifting pedagogical expectations, see Jon D. H. Gaffney, Amy L. Housley Gaffney and Robert J. Beichner,“Do they see it coming? Using expectancy violation to gauge the success of pedagogical reforms,” Phys. Rev. ST Phys. Educ. Res. 6, 010102 (Feb. 2010).
4. Yvette Van Hise and Thomas Phillips,“What do you do the first day of physics class?Phys. Teach. 26, 291292 (May 1988).
5. William B. Lynch,“First-day physics,” Phys. Teach. 29, 336 (Sept. 1991).
6. David Keeports,“Addressing physical intuition — A first day event,” Phys. Teach. 38, 318319 (May 2000).
7. Jon D. H. Gaffney, Evan Richards, Mary Bridget Kustusch, Lin Ding, and Robert J. Beichner,“Scaling up education reform,” J. Coll. Sci. Teach. 37, 4853 (May 2008).
8. E. Mazur, Peer Instruction: A User's Manual (Addison-Wesley, Boston, MA, 1996).
9. David R. Sokoloff and Ronald K. Thornton,“Using Interactive Lecture Demonstrations to create an active learning environment,” Phys. Teach. 35, 340347 (Sept. 1997).
10. Lillian C. McDermott, Physics by Inquiry (Wiley, Hoboken, NJ, 1996).
11. Erving Goffman, On Face-Work, Interaction Ritual: Essays on Face-to-Face behavior (Pantheon, New York, 1967), pp. 546.
12. Tae-Seop Lim and John Waite Bowers,“Facework solidarity, approbation, and tact,” Human Comm. Res. 17, 415450 (March 1991).
13. Jeff Kerssen-Griep, Jon A. Hess, and April R. Trees,“Sustaining the desire to learn: Dimensions of perceived instructional face-work related to student involvement and motivation to learn,” Western J. Comm. 67, 357381 (Fall 2003).
14. Penelope Brown and Stephen C. Levinson, Politeness: Some Universals in Language Usage (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, 1978).
15. Paul L. Witt and Jeff Kerssen-Griep,“Instructional feedback I: The interaction of facework and immediacy on students' perceptions of instructor credibility,” Comm. Educ. 60, 7594 (Jan. 2011).
16.See, for example, Katherine S. Thweatt and James C. McCroskey,“The impact of teacher immediacy and misbehaviors on teacher credibility,” Comm. Educ. 47, 348358 (Oct. 1998).
17.See, for example, Paul Schrodt and Paul D. Turman,“The impact of instructional technology use, course design, and sex differences on students' initial perceptions of instructor credibility,” Comm. Quarterly 53, 177196 (April 2005).
18. John L. Hubisz,“Quarter-sheet questions,” Phys. Teach. 48, 138139 (Feb. 2010).
19. Gary A. Smith,“First-day questions for the learner-centered classroom,” Nat. Teach. Learn. Forum 17, 14 (Sept. 2008).
20. David P. Maloney and Mark F. Masters,“Learning the game of formulating hypotheses and theories,” Phys. Teach. 48, 2224 (Jan. 2010).
21. Jon D. H. Gaffney,“Education majors' expectations and reported experiences with inquiry-based physics: Implications for student affect,” Phys. Rev. ST Phys. Educ. Res. 9, 010112 (April 2013).
22.Many useful examples can be found in the recurring column “Fermi Questions” in The Physics Teacher. Edited by Larry Weinstein.
23.We learned this activity from Robert Beichner, who has used it on the first day of SCALE-UP courses.

Data & Media loading...


Article metrics loading...



Instructors of physics courses face the demanding challenge of creating a safe, nurturing community in their classroom while maintaining sufficient rigor. First-day activities are especially important, because they need to both motivate their students and prepare them for the course. Experienced instructors happily share their successful first-day activities,1,2 but what works for one instructor or class might not be as successful for another. We postulate that to be successful, an activity will set expectations, attend to the of the students, and build the instructor's credibility. By modeling the course activities and fostering a supportive learning community, well-suited activities can both orient and motivate students.


Full text loading...


Access Key

  • FFree Content
  • OAOpen Access Content
  • SSubscribed Content
  • TFree Trial Content
752b84549af89a08dbdd7fdb8b9568b5 journal.articlezxybnytfddd