Friday, December 15, 2017 — 8:30 AM to 12:30 PM EST

Doug BonnProfessor Doug Bonn

Dr. Douglas Bonn is a Professor of Physics at the University of British Columbia. He received his Ph.D from the McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario Canada. His area of research is Condensed Matter Physics in the field of Superconductivity and he concentrates on topics such as high temperature superconductors, microwave measurements, crystal growth, and scanning tunneling microscopy. He is also very involved in the research of Physics Education.

Teaching Quantitative Critical Thinking in a First Year Physics Laboratory

First year physics labs provide a rich environment for developing students' critical thinking. In a multi-year study at the University of British Columbia, we have developed a relatively simple form of scaffolding that dramatically enhances the quality of student reasoning. From the outset, students are asked to make comparisons after completing some measurements, to reflect on the comparison, make a plan based on their reflection, then execute the new plan. The experiments are simple enough that they can do this cycle more than once, modeling a more realistic, iterative approach to experimentation. We find that after several weeks, when the scaffolding has been removed, students continue with this more expert-like behaviour. More importantly, in a comparison before and after this scaffolding was introduced to the course, we find that the quality of the students' reasoning about data and models is improved dramatically by this approach. The improved reasoning even continues on into a second year laboratory course, showing strong signs of transfer in these skills.

Retreat schedule 

  8:30 Registration - DC 1301. Light refreshments provided
  9:00 Research results: laboratory active learning
10:00 Break - DC 1301. Light refreshments provided
10:30 How to implement evidence based lab results
11:45 Invited round table discussion

DC - William G. Davis Computer Research Centre
200 University Avenue West

Waterloo, ON N2L 3G1