A. Grace Martin

Author, Wellness Coach, High School Teacher

Videos to Visualize

Wave-Particle Duality & Double Slit Experiment

Demonstrating Conservation of Momentum

Pressure Trick

What is a Flipped Classroom?

What are the benefits and drawbacks?

Pro's:

- Kids think that they have easier homework.

- Less time is required to complete homework by watching the video.

- Students come to school with a foundation of the two bottom stacks of Bloom's Taxonomic levels of knowledge

Con's:

- Students who never or refuse to do homework won't understand concepts (just like any class).

- Youngers students are not as responsible about completing homework.

- Not everyone has internet access

What would a flipped physics class look like?

Physics teachers find demonstrations to be be very valuable because they give students an applicable example to help understand a concept. However, there is usually not enough class time for students to participate in experiments, playing with the ideas like acceleration.

Traditionally, physics teachers show brief demonstrations followed by long lectures that include formula derivations and one or two example problems. Students are then given assignments that have complex questions to take home and solve. Often this leads to students banging their heads against the wall in frustration because they don't understand how they are supposed to solve the problem.

In a flipped-style physics classroom, the class time is centred on activities, asking the teacher questions, and doing practice problems. Instead of students getting frustrated, the teacher is available to help explain more complex concepts. When students go home, instead of completing worksheets that they don't understand for hours on end, they sit down and watch one video and are done! This video (about 30-45 minutes long) takes the place of a 60-80 minute class lecture because students can pause the video to take notes at his or her own pace.

Why do I believe in flipped physics classes?

As a tutor, I have helped many physics students with the same problem. The instructor spends a lot of time lecturing derivations and only spends a short amount of time on a few simple example problems. When students go home to do their assignment, they come across complicated problems that they have not been shown how to solve.

The rationale for this approach is that students use their previous knowledge and skills to question, guess-and-check, and attempt approaches to find the correct process to solve the problem. If students cannot figure out the process, they approach the teacher before or after class and ask for a hint. This also separates the highly academic students from the lower-achieving ones, which is how the PATs (provincial achievement tests) are modelled. The 60percentile students will not attempt these complex problems and will get those questions wrong. The 90percentile students will make the extra effort to understand these higher-end problems and be able to answer them correctly on examinations.

I do not believe in the traditional approach. I was able to achieve highly as a physics student because I am a primarily visual and secondarily auditory learner, so watching a professor solve problems on the board was sufficient for me. However, students who do not easily grasp the combination of mathematical theories and their applications become lost very easily.

As an educator, it is my duty to provide all students with the same opportunity to achieve success.

Students are perfectly capable of taking notes on their own time, however, it is difficult sometimes to stay focussed on a problem that they have not seen before. Why not work on these more difficult problems in class with the teacher there as a resource? When students see more examples of the solutions, they are given a higher number of opportunities to understand the process.

Every student has the ability to learn, but they will do so at different paces and in different ways.

By getting students to watch lecture videos at home, it gives the teacher more time to address practical questions and differentiate approaches to the concepts.