Problem - Based Learning Erin Dokter, Ph.D. Office of Instruction and Assessment email@example.com, 621-2440
Today’s Objectives • Define problem-based learning. • Experience examples of problem-based learning. • Plan how problem-based learning may be useful for your TA instructional duties. • Share ideas and network with colleagues.
What is at the core of science? • Authentic Problems! • How do we teach others to do science or about science? • By solving authentic problems! • Problem-based learning (PBL) puts authentic problems at the core of teaching science, in other words, doing science.
Traditional vs. PBL Teaching http://www.personal.psu.edu/glh10/ist110/topic/topic67/topic67_05.html
Examples of PBL Teaching Strategies • Short, authentic problems posed during class/office hours (e.g., Write/Think-Pair-Share, Peer Instruction) • Case studies • Simulations/Games • Problem sets (it depends!) • Guided inquiry-based labs • Student-led research projects
Think-Pair-Share: Example 1 Imagine that the Earth’s orbit became a perfect circle, so the Earth’s distance from the sun never changed. How would this affect the seasons? • There would no longer be a difference between seasons. • There would be much less difference between seasons. • There would be a much greater difference between seasons. • We would have about the same seasons as we do now. (Adapted from the Astronomy Diagnostic Test, v.2)
Think-Pair-Share: Example 2 Which of the following would make you weigh half as much as you currently do? • Take away half of the Earth’s atmosphere. • Double the distance between the Sun and the Earth. • Make the Earth spin half as fast. • Take away half of the Earth’s mass. • More than one of the above. (Adapted from the Astronomy Diagnostic Test, v.2)
Write-Pair-Share Example • What do students need to know following your class (e.g., ideas, concepts)? • What do students need to be able to do following your class (e.g., skills)? • What attitudes do your students need to have following your class?
The Fundamental Teaching Problem What learning experiences do your students need to have to develop this knowledge, these skills and attitudes? • And how do you know they have?
Final Problem • Develop an equation that characterizes successful teaching (i.e., where learning is the dependent/outcome variable) using problem-based learning.
Resources Angelo, T.A., & Cross, K.P. (1993). Classroom assessment techniques. San Francisco: Jossey-bass. Barkley, E.F., Cross, K.P., & Major, C.H. (2005). Collaborative learning techniques. San Francisco: Jossey-bass. Games for the Science Curriculum (with templates for PowerPoint Jeopardy, etc.): http://www.csun.edu/science/ref/games/index.html Gates, S.J., & Mirkin, C. (2012). Engage to excel. Science, 335 (6076), 1545. Handelsman et al. (2004). Scientific teaching. Science, 304 (5670), 521-522. National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science Case Study Collection: http://sciencecases.lib.buffalo.edu/cs/collection/ President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. (2012). Engage to excel: Producing one million additional college graduates with degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Report to the President. Retrieved from http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/microsites/ostp/pcast-engage-to-excel-final_2-25-12.pdf Search your discipline’s professional organization for resources, or discipline-specific teaching journals Search for terms such as “problem based learning”, “concept tests”, “case studies”, “peer instruction”, “inquiry labs” to find resources
Appendix A: Write/Think-Pair-Share • To generate ideas or solve short problems. • Post a prompt and give students time to write or think of a response or answer. • Have students compare responses/answers by pairing with a colleague and shar(e)ing their ideas. • Responses from pairs can then be used as the basis of a whole class discussion or to verify that students are learning effectively.
Appendix B:Buzz Groups • To generate ideas or approaches to problems. • Form groups; announce the discussion prompts and time limit. • Ask group members to exchange ideas in response to the prompts. • Check in with groups to see if they are engaged and focused on the prompts. If off topic, shorten the time limit. If on topic and the time has ended, consider extending the limit for a few minutes. • Ask students to return to whole-class and report out results to start the discussion.
Appendix C: Case Study - To solve authentic problems. • Form student groups and distribute case information to each (or alternatively, have students complete individually). • Allow time for students to ask questions about the case or process. • Students work in groups to study and provide a solution to the case. • Students may prepare a written or oral statement presenting their case solution. • Whole group discussion as instructor provides solution or wrap-up.