Structured Quantitative Inquiry Labs: Developing Critical Thinking in First Year Physics Labs
A new technique for developing students’ scientific reasoning has achieved remarkable learning gains in the PHYS 107/109 laboratory, including striking evidence of transfer to later courses. This project aims to deliver this learning environment to the much larger group of students taking other first year physics courses. The pedagogy involves a relatively straightforward framework in which students make quantitative comparisons of various kinds; reflect on those comparisons; plan to improve their experiments; then execute those plans. While the structure of these iterative cycles is simple, implementing this approach requires a deep understanding of how the technique works and evolves over a term, which makes it a challenge for transferring it to new Instructors and novice Teaching Assistants. The project will build a sustainable delivery of this new method, anchored in detailed documentation and training programs.