Analysis of an Inquiry-based Electricity Laboratory for Undergraduate Students
Keywords:Electric circuits, Inquiry, Laboratory, Undergraduate
It is well known in Physics Education literature that, even after attending to Introductory Physics courses (lectures and laboratory), students still have some difficulties with direct current electric circuits’ concepts. Since 2006, we are investigating the conceptual understanding of electric circuits in Brazilian college students. We observed that only ~13% of students answered correctly a question about the brightness of bulbs in simple circuits (series and parallel). This observation motivated us to adopt new laboratory guide with active learning strategies. The activities were adapted from Tutorials in Introductory Physics. We have been observing a significant gain of students learning using the mentioned question as pre and post-tests. More recently (since 2013) we have been applying the DIRECT which consists of 28 multiple choice questions on electric circuits. This test helps to identify specific difficulties which remain after instruction. In 2016, some groups of students were recorded in audio and video in order to investigate their interaction and learning process during the class. The student’s majority evaluated positively the active learning strategies used in the course, mentioning that they contribute to their learning (~78%).
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