Graduate teaching assistants’ perceptions of a context-rich introductory physics problem

Melanie Good, Emily Marshman, Edit Yerushalmi, Chandralekha Singh

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Posing the same physics problem scenario in different ways can emphasize learning goals for students, such as developing expert-like problem-solving approaches. In this investigation, we examined graduate teaching assistants' (TAs') views about a context-rich introductory physics problem within a semester-long TA professional development course. The TAs were asked to list the pros and cons of a context-rich problem, rank the problem in terms of its instructional benefit and the level of challenge it might produce for their students, and describe when and how often they would use it in their own classes if they had complete control of teaching the class. We find that TAs did not find the context-rich problem to be instructionally beneficial and were unlikely to use it in their own courses. Many TAs expressed their concerns as being due to the problem seeming to be unclear or excessively challenging and time-consuming for their students. These findings suggest that there is a discrepancy between the TAs' perception of a context-rich problem and the benefits of problems posed in this manner according to the physics education research literature.
Original languageEnglish
StatePublished - 26 Feb 2018
EventPhysics Education Research Conference 2017 - Cincinnati, OH
Duration: 26 Jul 201727 Jul 2017


ConferencePhysics Education Research Conference 2017


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