Students Discussing Physics in Small Groups at University level in Lao PDR.
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Group discussions were introduced in the tutorial session in an introductory physics course at university level. We have video recorded three groups with three, four, and six students that solve an end-of-chapter problem. In this study we focus on how students cooperate and what obstacles that can hinder their cooperation. Do the students follow a recommended problem solving strategy? What difficulties do the students encounter and what signs of learning can be seen? One group described the physics of the problem before they selected equations and successfully solved the problem. Students in this group were not afraid to raise disagreements, they asked questions, and took turns answering them which resulted in a fruitful discussion. The other two groups made the major mistake to not consider that the object moved with constant speed. Students suggested equations to use without giving any physics arguments. Both groups got stuck and needed help from the teacher. It was found that the problem solving strategy in the physics textbook did not include the important step of describing the physics. As the strategy is formulated it can actually encourage students to start looking for equations without describing the physics first. Two clear signs of learning were observed. One student learned the correct way to use sine and cosine and many students discovered the importance to use the information of constant speed. A too large group and a bad seating arrangement affected the discussions negatively.
End-of-chapter problem, group discussion, Problem solving strategy.
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-43301OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-43301DiVA: diva2:412925