Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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Private Universe Project in Science

Workshop 3. Physics: Hands-On/Minds-On Learning (90 min.)

Whom do we see in the videotape?
Jim Carter is a veteran high school physics teacher in suburban Boston with over 20 years of experience in the classroom. Even with his high degree of skill, Jim feels the need to be more effective.

What happens in the videotape?
Jim is astonished to see that many students misinterpret his well-planned lab activities, failing to grasp some of the fundamental ideas. Working with teacher/researcher Jim Minstrell, Jim Carter defines a new role for himself as a teacher. Much to his surprise, his students both like the "new Jim" and seem to learn in more depth.

What problem does this session address?
The principles of a simple electrical circuit formed with a battery, wire, and bulb are commonly taught in grade 3, forming the foundation for ideas about electricity taught throughout high school. Why is it, then, that even some Harvard and MIT graduates find a simple circuit so difficult?

What teaching strategy does this session offer?
Both teachers and learners are encouraged to develop new metaphors for their roles in the classroom. Students are urged to see themselves as something other than "sponges" soaking up the teacher's information.

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