Saturday activity tutorials (90-minutes)

Hands-on Investigations of Physics Teaching Topics

Saturday Morning, March 13, 8:30 – 10:00 am

LIGO in the classroom: activities and demos to bring gravitational wave science to the introductory student.
Paul Baker, Center for Gravitational Waves and Cosmology, West Virginia University,

Attendees should bring their own laptops or device with a web browser to try web based activities.

Saturday Morning, March 13, 10:15 – 11:45 am

Teaching and Assessing Problem-solving for the 21st Century
Tom Foster (Foster Learning)
– Someone once noted that homework is a chance for the students to learn bad habits when the teacher is not looking. Nowhere is that more true than today’s electronic homework systems which are only a Google search away from the answer which by-passing any learning. PathPlan is a tablet-based tool that explicitly teaches problem solving and physics concepts as homework. PathPlan uses an algorithmic approach that emphasizes understanding and process, giving the students a positive homework experience. In this session, you will work PathPlan problems and exercises and we will explain what makes it tick. Bring your tablet.

Saturday Afternoon, March 13, 1:00 – 2:30 pm

Using Active Learning Strategies in Large or Small Classrooms to Increase Student Engagement and Content Retention
Paul Miller, Nancy Spillane, and Michael Tilley, Master Teacher (WVU)
– Participants in this session will engage (as students) in a hands-on, inquiry-based learning experience that models the 5E Lesson Design (Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, Evaluate). This process, grounded in education research, serves to better activate students’ enthusiasm for learning. Further strategies for implementing real-time student feedback applicable to small classroom settings and to large lecture halls will also be presented. More than just learning how to deliver a single lesson, this session will help you think about how to restructure each lesson you teach to incorporate these strategies for increasing student engagement, active learning, and retention of new content.

Saturday Afternoon, March 13, 2:45 – 4:15 pm

Establishing Criteria for State-wide Acceptance of Transfer Credit of Introductory Courses
Galen Hansen (Fairmont State University)

– State-wide transferability between colleges and universities requires submission of the course syllabus and sample assessment documents (final exams, mid-term exams, quizzes) that reflect the extent of content coverage and level of expectation for successful student learning in their courses. Recently in WV there have been questions raised about the faithfulness in adherence to coverage and assessment, as well as on-line delivery and assessment vs face-to-face classes and labs. As we continue with this process of approving or rejecting state-wide transferability for introductory physics courses, remaining questions include:

  • How do we handle on-line teaching and assessment?
  • At what level should the minimum bar of expectation be set?
  • To what extent should faith in set coverage and assessment standards be assumed?
  • I would like to hold an open forum discussion about this topic to receive feedback and input in the transferability agreement process, and will bring a few sample test questions and problems to illustrate and generate discussion.

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