Spring 2003



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Defining Key Elements of Different Models of Mobile Hands-on Experiments

Each participant was asked to evaluate the percent of importance given to each of three goals for the hands-on programming of his/her on-the-road show: improve attitude/perceptions towards physics, teach science process skills, teach physics/science content. Although a few of the participants currently have either no hands-on component or no physics on the road program, the overall ranking of those who do was 60% as an effort to improve the perceptions/attitudes towards physics and 40% as an effort to teach the content and/or process of physics/science. With little exception, all operating programs are serving the K-12 population. In addition, two or three of the institutions identified part of their program goals as providing opportunity for folks to consider teaching and to provide opportunity to gain experience teaching science.

This group identified the benefits to using hands-on activities: Children need physical activity to learn, and by using common, ordinary items, they can better understand the connection and relevance of physical science concepts to their everyday lives.

Discussion led to the question: What is our role as outreach professionals? There is a need to locate programming that includes the 5-E model (engage, explore, explain, elaborate, evaluate), while at the same time addressing state science standards. Current programming utilizing short (usually one day) “one shot” visits are not intended as “a fix” for teachers lacking physics education and/or certification in physics.

Julie Conlon
Department of Physics
Purdue University
West Lafayette, IN 47907-2036
(765) 494-0740 (voice)
(765) 496-2298 (fax)