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Seeing isn't believing: Do classroom demonstrations help students learn?
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Podcast: Learning About Teaching Physics
Rank: #11946
Category: Education
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Physics is the study of nature. So, physics classes typically include demonstrations of how those laws of nature play out, often in surprising ways. But do students see what we intend them to see? In this episode, we find out what the research says about classroom demos, and how to help students get the most out of them.


Show notes:

Thanks to Eric Mazur of Harvard University and Catherine Crouch of Swarthmore College for their participation in this podcast.

Study cited in this episode:  Classroom demonstrations: Learning tools or entertainment?  Mazur, Fagen, Crouch and Callan, American Journal of Physics, 72 (6), 835 - 838 (2004). Andrew Fagen's more detailed thesis can be found here.

Credits:

  • Audio of Mazur's talk at Harvard provided by the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics' Science Media Group.  View the whole video here.
  • Audio of Shoot the Monkey from Science Theater
  • Show music:  "DC 3000" by the Thievery Corporation, "Watidori" by Cornelius, "Action at a Distance" by Matmos, and Mesa State by Mark Crawford.  All music is licensed under the Creative Commons except for music by Mark Crawford.
  • Coin on water image from Roger McLassus on Wikimedia

Other resources:

Below is the image of the scale demonstration described in the podcast:

Scale Image



Title: Seeing isn't believing: Do classroom demonstrations help students learn?
Author: Stephanie Chasteen
Description: Physics is the study of nature. So, physics classes typically include demonstrations of how those laws of nature play out, often in surprising ways. But do students see what we intend them to see? In this episode, we find out what the research says about classroom demos, and how to help students get the most out of them. Show notes: Thanks to Eric Mazur of Harvard University and Catherin...

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