Whole class vs. small group settings for using animations in physics: Case study comparisons
Stephens, A. Lynn
Clement, John J.

2015 PERC Proceedings

Comparative case study analyses are used to investigate a physics lesson sequence in which students used a simple simulation and a set of animations with playback controls to explore aspects of projectile motion. The sequence was conducted within naturalistic high school settings (2 schools) in 11 physics class sections (n=212) where roughly half the sections encountered the animations in a whole class discussion format and matched sections used them in a small group format in which students controlled playback. Earlier unexpected pre-post results indicated no advantage for the hands-on condition. Present analyses using classroom videotapes and student written work also do not show any overall advantage for the small group students for the factors examined. Notably, more than twice as much teacher and student-generated support for recognizing visual features was identified in whole class discussion, and in small groups these episodes appeared to cluster around teacher visits to the groups.

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