- To assess the effects of the reforms implemented in a physical science
class intended for pre-service teachers.
NATURE OF THE REFORMS OF PHS 101
- Developed especially for pre-service elementary teachers
- An integrated lab and lecture course based on PHS 110 at ASU
- Curriculum based on Powerful Ideas in Physical Science
- Curriculum aligned to AZ Science Standards, which elementary school
teachers will be teaching to
- Reformed teaching with discourse and interactive engagement
- Real world examples relate to the students' everyday life to develop
strong connections with everyday phenomenon.
NATURE OF OTHER PHYSICS COURSES
- PHY 111 focuses on classical mechanics, heat, and sound and is the
first course in the two-semester, algebra-based, introductory physics
sequence. High school physics is a pre-requisite for this class and
it is intended to be taken with the first semester of algebra. This
course frequently makes use of seat experiments, white boards and other
- PHY 161 focuses on classical mechanics and is the first course in
the three-semester, calculus-based, introductory physics sequence. High
school physics is a pre-requisite for this class and it is intended
to be taken with the first semester of calculus. This is a traditional,
STUDENT and CLASS MAKE-UP
||Physical Science for Elementary Teachers, reformed (AAPT PIPS)
||Algebra/Trig-based classical mechanics, some reforms
||Calculus-based classical mechanics, traditional lecture
||> 75% female
||Fresh / Soph
||equal among all four years
||Fresh / Soph
||Health Sciences and Biology related
||50 - 75
- Pre-test/post-test design was carried out in the Fall 2000, Spring
2001, Fall 2001, and Spring 2002 in PHS 101, as well as other physics
courses. Although the tests varied, there are five mechanics questions
that are identical on the PHS 101 test and the tests administered in
PHY 111 / PHY 161.
- All semesters of PHS 101 were taught by teachers who are very familiar
with and use reform methods.
- Fall 2000 and Spring 2001 of PHY 111 were taught by teachers who are
very familiar with and use reform methods.
- Fall 2001 and Spring 2002 of PHY 111 were taught by an instructor
just learning reformed methods so Spring 2002 was more reformed than
Fall 2001, but not as reformed as in previous years.
- All semesters of PHY 161 were taught in a traditional, lecture-based
- The test:
- 30 questions on the test
- 8 items selected from the Lawson Test of Scientific Reasoning
- 12 items selected from the Physics Concept Survey (PCS)
- 6 items from Introductory Astronomy Survey Version 2.0
- 4 items from the instructor
- Covering six subject areas
- Scientific Reasoning - 8 questions
- Mechanics - 6 questions
- Electricity and Magnetism - 4 questions
- Astronomy - 6 questions
- Optics- 5 questions
- Thermodynamics - 1 question
- Gains were calculated by subtracting pre-test scores from post-test
scores for each student. The gains were calculated over the test as
a whole as well as for each subject area.
- Normalized gains were calculated by: n = (post - pre) / (#questions
- Through the use of Excel and SPSS, correlations were explored between
gender and gain as well as final course grade and gain.
- Gain results for the five identical mechanics questions were compared
between all classes.
- PHS 101 students began the semesters with statistically lower pre-scores
in mechanics than those students entering either PHY 111 or PHY 161.
- PHS 101 students ended the semesters with statistically higher post-scores
in mechanics than those students completing either PHY 111 or PHY 161.
- PHS 101 students had statistically greater conceptual gains than those
of either PHY 111 or PHY 161.
- It appears the female students usually have a lower pre-test score
than males in all three courses, but in PHS 101 this difference disappears
in the post-test scores.
- There is a slight indication that female gains are higher than male
gains in PHS 101. More pre/post testing in more reform classes would
help confirm this.
Falconer, K & Eastwood, K. " Astronomy Conceptual Gain Analysis
for PHS 101: Physical Science for Everyday Life." Talk presented
at the summer 2001 AAPT meeting.
Special Thank You to the following for their help in this project:
Kathleen Falconer, Jim Maxka, Kathleen D. Eastwood, Kate Morgan, and
Funding for this project came from AzTEC (Arizona Teacher Excellence