An Inquiry-Based, Cooperative Group Approach to Teaching Physics by Chris Meyer
Hello and welcome to my website! For six years I have been running a reformed physics classroom that is designed around cooperative group work using guided-inquiry investigations. The traditional lecture has completely disappeared! This website is designed to help you learn about this method of teaching and to provide you with the materials that you might need to start teaching this way yourself.
was awarded to:
Christopher Meyer, York Mills Collegiate Institute, for his outstanding work in reforming the high school physics curriculum in a manner that has produced demonstrable improvement of student performance over a sustained period.
Gr. 10 science, gr. 11 chemistry and grades 11 and 12 physics
Many thanks to Mike Doig and Erik Lindala for sharing the science and chemistry updates! I have made improvements to the special relativity unit of grade 12 physics to help students with their problem solving skills. I have also written two self-study skill builder review packages that are meant to help grade 12 students improve any rusty or missing skills from grade 11.
Check out the resources here for more info.
October 6, 2015
Today the Nobel Prize in physics was awarded to Canadian physicist Arthur McDonald for his work on neutrino oscillations. I heard a bit about it on the news during my drive in and I talked about it to my first period class, but little did I realize that I would be interviewed by CBC Newsworld before noon! Click the image for the interview.
I have started creating a set of videos of my classroom teaching to help illustrate what reformed physics teaching looks like in action. You will find a variety of lessons from grades 11 and 12 physics. The videos are captioned with my explanations for many of the techniques I use. A link with each video provides you with the handout for that lesson. Check them out!
Erik Mazur, a leader in the Physics Education Research community, presents his thoughts on the role assessment. This presentation has had a powerful effedct on my teaching this last year and has caused me to think deeply about how and why I assess and how that assessment supports or conflicts with our inquiry-based learning.
Frank Noschese is an outstanding high school teacher who advocates for active learning science instruction. Follow his blog for a wealth of teaching insight.
January 1, 2012
The lecture is one of the oldest forms of education there is.
"Before printing someone would read the books to everybody who would copy them down," says Joe Redish, a physics professor at the University of Maryland.
But lecturing has never been an effective teaching technique and now that information is everywhere, some say it's a waste of time. Indeed, physicists have the data to prove it.
Eric Mazur: "I thought I was a good teacher until I discovered my students were just memorizing information rather than learning to understand the material. Who was to blame? The students? The material? I will explain how I came to the agonizing conclusion that the culprit was neither of these. It was my teaching that caused students to fail! I will show how I have adjusted my approach to teaching and how it has improved my students' performance significantly." Eric Mazur is the Balkanski Professor of Physics and Applied Physics at Harvard University. An internationally recognized scientist and researcher, he leads a vigorous research program in optical physics and supervises one of the largest research groups in the Physics Department at Harvard University.
Training more high-school physics teachers and increasing student learning are two of the challenges facing math, science, and engineering education in the United States. Noah Finkelstein is an Associate Professor of physics at the University of Colorado at Boulder, conducting research in physics education. As director of the Physics Education Research group at Colorado, he studies conditions that support students' interest and ability in physcs. The sub-discipline of physics education research is now well established and boasts robust lines of research that range from investigations of student learning of specific topics (e.g., how students understand propagation of light) to implementing and studying the implementation of educational reforms and what makes them work or not work.