Department of Physics

Student Materials

Multiple activities carefully ordered, targeted concept support materials, and software exercises make PRISMS PLUS the curriculum your students need.

Three Types of Activities

Exploration, concept development, and application, present students with problems that engage them in scientific inquiry and call them to apply their observations to the concepts being introduced and to real-life applications. In the exploration activities, students make predictions and observations and discover patterns and relationships. The concept development activities provide opportunities for students to develop concepts within the context of what they have observed. The application activities provide students with a means to apply their understanding of concepts to new situations and real-life problems.

Each activity includes questions that provide a focus for students to link their observations and data with physics ideas and concepts. These questions also provide an opportunity for students to reflect on what they have learned and observed. Each activity also includes an extension that provides students with suggestions to make further observations, collect data, and arrive at evidence-based conclusions about the concepts being addressed.

Concept Support Materials

Each learning cycle’s Concept Enhanceris a one- to three-page student reading that contains references to observations and connections between concepts and phenomena that students should have shared in the exploration and concept development activities. Other relevant examples are also provided and discussed. The Concept Enhancer is carefully written to help facilitate the transition students must make from the observations they have made and the patterns and relationships they have discovered in the exploration activity to the development of the desired concept in the concept development activity. Conceptual Practice exercises provide students with opportunities to use their newly acquired knowledge and skills to analyze additional situations. These exercises give students practice in answering questions and solving problems that are conceptual in nature.

The Concept Enhancer and Conceptual Practice immediately follow the exploration and concept development activities but come prior to the application activity.

Constructing Physics Understanding (CPU) PRISMS PLUS Student Activities

The CPU PRISMS PLUS activities use CPU computer simulation software to provide additional learning opportunities for students that complement and extend the learning cycles. They offer students virtual opportunities to apply their understanding to investigations that are not possible in the actual classroom.