Making Physics General Education Courses More Exciting Through Interactive Learning

Document Type


Document Subtype


Presentation Date

Spring 4-10-2010

Conference Name

Indiana Section of the American Association of Physics Teachers

Conference Location

Ball State University, Muncie, IN


Physics is an intimidating subject for many, so those brave students that register for that physics general education course should be rewarded to find that physics is also a fascinating subject. Typically when topics are introduced students are asked to imagine frictionless surfaces and magic air that offers no resistance to motion, all of which deviate from a students every day perception of the world. While many students do not have a solid understanding of how the physical world around them works, they do have a considerable amount of perceived knowledge acquired from day to day observations. I found that guiding students to work in small groups discussing various topics in physics pools their knowledge and improves their ability to articulate their ideas. These ideas can then be tested with a variety of simple experiments that confirm or challenge their understanding of these physical situations. As a result, students begin to alter their perceptions of the physical world, develop problem solving skills that may be applied to all facets of their lives, learn how to make perform simple yet informative experiments and gain an understanding of the nature of science. I will present some of the materials used in my course to get students to discuss and understand physics through interest and involvement in physics.



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