Supported by NSF grant DUE-9952706
Principal investigators and workshop leaders are:
David Hestenes (PI)
Mike Politano (Co-PI)
How have we remodeled University Physics?
Remodeling University Physics (RUP) was an NSF-supported project
in physics education research to reform the structure and pedagogy of
introductory physics courses at the college level. Key components of the
studio classroom format
systematic use of representational tools
a unifying link between technology and pedagogy
techniques for managing student discourse
creation of a learning community
modeling approach to problem solving
integration of energy throughout the curriculum
How effective are Remodeled University Physics courses?
We began our program of research-based reform in 1995 in an honors
section of University Physics at Arizona State University (ASU). The
honors section was chosen because of the small class size (~24
students). The Force Concept Inventory (FCI) was given as both a
pre-test and post-test in this section. A comparison of the normalized
Hake gain on the FCI in the ASU Honors course with courses using the
traditional instruction and with other reform curricula is shown in the
In order to test whether the high gains were a result of the
selective nature of the section, beginning in 1998, a non-honors section
of University Physics at a local community college ( Chandler-Gilbert
Community College [CGCC] ) was taught using the same method of
instruction as in the ASU honors course. The gains on the FCI for the
CGCC course are shown in blue on the above figure.
The gain of 0.8 (with mean FCI posttest score of 89%) is the highest gain ever reported on the FCI.
Even more noteworthy is that of the 19 students in the CGCC section
that achieved this extraordinary gain, 7 were female and 5 were
Both the ASU and CGCC sections scored among the highest in the
nation on the Mechanics Baseline Test ( MBT ), a more quantitative
measure of mechanics comprehension.
Want to learn more?
Read or download a synopsis of
a speech by David Hestenes on "Remodeling University Physics
Discourse Management" by Dwain Desbien (107 pages, PhD dissertation
Of The Energy Thread In College Modeling Instruction" by Eric Brewe
(182 pages, PhD dissertation 2002).
Read the case study by the American Association of Physics Teachers
"Estrella Mountain Community College" (p.69-72) in "Strategic Programs
for Innovations in Undergraduate Physics at Two-Year Colleges: Best
Practices of Physics Programs" (2005) at http://www.aapt.org/Projects/spinup-tyc.cfm.
View QuickTime movies of Dwain Desbien using
the Modeling Method of Instruction in his classroom.
Take a workshop