Featured project: IOLab

PER has developed the IOLab system, built around a low-cost, easy-to-use, all-purpose handheld device that performs a myriad of functions for both introductory and advanced physics courses.

Interactive Examples

Questions That Engage Students in a Socratic-dialogue Help Sequence

Interactive example
Interactive example
Interactive Examples (IE's) are quantitative homework problems whose "help" comes in the form of more questions. Eventually, enough information is given in the helps to work the problems, but we hope that as students work their way through these examples, they acquire some better understanding of how to approach these kinds of problems. In particular, we hope that these examples help students learn to develop problem-solving strategies that are based on conceptual understanding rather than equation manipulation. In fact, once the student correctly answers the initial problem, we present a recap of the solution in terms of sequential conceptual, strategic and quantitative analyses. Following the recap, we ask the student some conceptual follow-up questions to test understanding.

Complete sets of Interactive Examples were introduced into the algebra-based sequence (101, 102) in the fall semester of 2000 and into the calculus-based electricity & magnetism course (212) in the fall semester of 2001. We introduced a complete set of Interactive Examples into the calculus-based mechanics course (211) in the fall semester of 2002.

We have introduced IE's into the calculus-based Thermal Physics (213) and Quantum & Waves Physics (214) courses starting in the fall semester of 2005.

We welcome comments on these examples. Please send comments to Gary Gladding.

Please explore our interactive examples under Teacher Resources.