Jul 07-Jul 18, 2014
Credit: 3 undergraduate
Tuition & Fees: $915.50
Instructor(s): Greg Francis
Course DescriptionPhysics 401 is entirely laboratory based. Instead of absorbing facts from a lecture, the students make observations and build scientific models to account for their observations. The course emphasizes the development of basic concepts and reasoning skills, and efforts are made to actively engage students in the learning process. Staff-to-student ratio is high (two instructors for approximately 20 students), and interactions with staff are through Socratic dialog: the instructors do not give answers, but help the students find their own. Available computer technology is utilized as appropriate.
Physics 401 will begin with a series of activities/observations that will lead to the development of a scientific model for DC electric circuits. The students will be able to solve both qualitative and quantitative problems involving very complicated circuits containing batteries and bulbs.
The in-service teachers will also use shadow plots to develop a model for the relative motion of the earth and sun during the course of the semester. They will also make careful observations of the moon, and from their observations piece together a model to explain the phases of the moon.
The curriculum used will be the Physics by Inquiry modules developed by the Physics Education Group at University of Washington. This curriculum is based on two decades of research on student misconceptions. Each activity is designed to elicit those misconceptions known to block learning, and to allow the student to confront and resolve the difficulties. Students are often presented with several opportunities to confront the same misconception in increasingly rich contexts to insure that they are completely free of the misconception. This teaching approach has a three-fold advantage when used with future teachers:
Meeting Place and Times
Week 1 & 2 - MTWRF 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Instructor(s)Greg Francis, PhD. Department of Physics, Montana State University
Target AudienceRestricted Entry for Science Educators
Tuition and Fees
A $30 registration fee is also charged once per semester.
The costs above assume that you are taking only MSU Extended University courses during the semester that the course is offered. If you also registered for courses through the MSU Registrar, the regular MSU fee structure may apply.
A $40 late fee will be assessed if payment is not posted to your account by 3 pm (Mountain Time) of the course start date (or the business day before if the course starts on a weekend or a holiday).
To learn more about tuition and fees, please see the University Business Services' Student Accounts Web page.
Textbooks are available from Montana State University Bookstore at 1-888-247-2546. Ask to speak with the Textbook Department. It will expedite your order if you tell the sales representative:
For More Information
contact Diana Paterson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 406-994-5679.
How to RegisterRegister Online