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ERIC Number: EJ1025128
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Nov
Pages: 4
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 7
ISSN: ISSN-0031-921X
The Pedagogical Value of "Obvious" Questions in Introductory Physics
Frank, Brian; Goertzen, Renee Michelle; Hutchison, Paul
Physics Teacher, v51 n8 p487-490 Nov 2013
Each time students engage in a classroom activity, they make tacit interpretations (about the nature of those activities) that influence how they reason and ultimately what they learn. For example, a student answering a physics question on a worksheet might draw on her everyday thinking to help make sense of the physics, or she might not even consider everyday thinking if its usefulness was not readily apparent. For many physics instructors, the reconciliation of everyday thinking and formal physics knowledge is part of what it means to fully understand physics. Despite this, many students do not see reconciling these two things as what they are supposed to do in the classroom. Often we see students whose interpretation of physics class causes them to "turn off" their everyday thinking. In this article, we argue for the importance of attending closely to whether students are reconciling their everyday and formal physics thinking and introduce "obvious" questions as a tool that can help instructors assess whether such reconciliation is taking place.
American Association of Physics Teachers. One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740. Tel: 301-209-3300; Fax: 301-209-0845; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A