Getting Students Involved in Physics & Astronomy!
One of the most challenging aspects of teaching introductory science
courses is that many students, expecting to be spoon-fed "the
facts", fail to think critically and begin to lose interest. For too
many, science seems like some imperturbable monument built by
dowdy and eccentric geniuses. Instead of seeing the satisfaction of
challenging one's own preconceptions to arrive at a deeper
understanding, students are often numbed by the blizzard of laws,
rules and facts. The social, collaborative adventure of science is
How can we present science as an evolving endeavor of
To compound the problem, instructors, after years of training in the
field, can have trouble empathizing. Quite understandably,
they may focus on the topics they perceive to be the most 1)
interesting, or 2) daunting, be it from their own experiences years
ago, or simply from last year's class. Unfortunately, this
year's class may immediately grasp subjects the instructor belabors,
or be overwhelmed by ideas assumed to be obvious. The end result is
that students lose interest or get lost.
How can we achieve better real-time, adaptive interaction between
instructors and students?
Competitive environments, particularly for undergraduates, may mean that
until exam time, many have no measure of how well they know the
material, or where they stand relative to their peers. Students,
particularly those who find few role models around them or at the
front of the class, may become intimidated. For them, this is their
last science class.
How can we insure that every student
has a personal contribution to the process ?
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Phone is (617)495-7057 and FAX (617)495-7356, at the
Center for Astrophysics,
60 Garden St., Cambridge MA 02138